Title: Tramps and Thieves by Rhys Ford
Murder and Mayhem Series Book Two
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Erotic, Romance, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 210 pages/Word Count: 80,852
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author
Murder and Mayhem: Book Two
Whoever said blood was thicker than water never stood in a pool of it.
Retiring from stealing priceless treasures seemed like a surefire way for Rook Stevens to stay on the right side of the law. The only cop in his life should have been his probably-boyfriend, Los Angeles Detective Dante Montoya, but that’s not how life—his life—is turning out. Instead, Rook ends up not only standing in a puddle of his cousin Harold’s blood but also being accused of Harold’s murder… and sleeping with Harold’s wife.
For Dante, loving the former thief means his once-normal life is now a sea of chaos, especially since Rook seems incapable of staying out of trouble—or keeping trouble from following him home. When Rook is tagged as a murder suspect by a narrow-focused West LA detective, Dante steps in to pull his lover out of the quagmire Rook’s landed in.
When the complicated investigation twists around on them, the dead begin to stack up, forcing the lovers to work together. Time isn’t on their side, and if they don’t find the killer before another murder, Dante will be visiting Rook in his prison cell—or at his grave.
Rhys Ford jumps right into the action in Tramps and Thieves, the second installment in the Murder and Mayhem series starring reformed cat burglar Rook Stevens and his cop boyfriend L.A. detective Dante Montoya.
Although Rook willingly walked away from his previous life, he cannot deny he misses a few of the thrills from his illicit past. So when the opportunity arises for him to take a brief walk on his former wild side, he is quick to agree. What he does not count on is winding up smack dab in the middle of another murder investigation after discovering his cousin Harold Martin’s corpse. Things go from bad to worse when homicide Detective Mark Vicks is convinced Rook killed Harold in order to assure his future inheritance from their wealthy grandfather, Archie. Since Dante is quick to realize Vicks is going to pin Harold’s murder on Rook, he and his partner, Detective Hank Camden get their boss’s official blessing to conduct an unofficial investigation of their own. With the bodies piling up at an alarming rate and someone gunning for Rook, Dante and Hank are desperate for answers, but will they catch the killer(s) before it is too late?
Although they are rather comfortable in their new romance, Rook is still a work in progress as he tries to let down his defenses and completely trust Dante. While Rook is not quite as uneasy with their emotional intimacy, he still finds it difficult to open up to Dante. Rook is also making strides with his relationship with Archie, but his grandfather still has a habit of lashing out when he feels vulnerable. Rook’s reaction in the aftermath of Archie’s verbal assault is a testament to how much healing he has undergone since meeting Dante.
While they still avoid discussing Rook’s past, Dante has absolutely no doubt that Rook has nothing to do with Harold’s death. He is very protective of his new boyfriend and his first instinct is to ensure Vicks does not pin Harold’s murder on him. Following a somewhat traumatic and dramatic discovery, Dante and Hank’s unofficial investigation becomes official but finding a motive for the murders remains elusive. When numerous attempts are made on Rook’s life, Dante is under even more pressure to wrap up the case sooner rather than later.
Although the investigation is fast-paced and intriguing, there are a few passages that are overly detailed and just a touch long winded. Some of the banter between the various characters (especially Hank) is irritating since it adds little to the storyline and these discussions occasionally occur at questionable times.
With scorching hot love scenes, a beguiling mystery and an eclectic cast of likable characters, Tramps and Thieves is a pulse-pounding addition to the Murder and Mayhem series. Dante and Rook are appealing protagonists who perfectly complement one another despite the vast differences between them. Their relationship is heartwarming yet filled with plenty of heat and sexual tension. The murder investigation keeps the novel moving at a brisk pace and Rhys Ford brilliantly obscures the perpetrator’s identity and motive for the murders until the novel’s exciting conclusion.