Monday, August 7, 2017

LGBT Monday: Red Fish, Dead Fish by Amy Lane

Red Fish, Dead Fish (Fish Out of Water, #2)Author: Amy Lane
Series: Fish Out of Water, #2
Released: August 4th 2017
Length: 330 pages
Source: Bought
Buy: Dreamspinner Press

They must work together to stop a psychopath—and save each other. 
Two months ago Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the triggerman remains at large—and the body count is mounting.
Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens’s time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.
Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted—and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her—Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.

Inspired by JD Robb and other legends of romantic suspense, the very versatile Amy Lane decided to pen her very own series of romance and action, with a pair of competent, resourceful and deeply damaged protagonists at its center. The deeply damaged, in this case, applies to one half of the couple – Jackson Rivers – the former policeman who was, years ago, betrayed and abandoned by his department, his colleagues, and everyone else that was supposed to protect him.

We first met Jackson and Ellery last year in Fish Out of Water. A year between books is a very long time to wait, but it might be necessary to heal our poor hearts from all the pain Jackson puts us through. Red Fish, Dead Fish picks up more or less where the first book left off, and it promptly delves into the consequences of their first case together. Jackson is wounded inside and out and he’s seemingly recuperating, but he is skittish, vulnerable and slow to commit to Ellery, no matter how much the handsome lawyer wants him to. The guys are still struggling to understand the true depths of the case and they have a tough time getting law enforcement to believe them. While they investigate, the serial killer sets his sights on them in return and does irreparable damage to Jackson’s already fragile psyche.

I realize Jackson is the intended star of this book (even with couples someone is usually at the forefront), but I love Ellery even more. His no nonsense, steady approach to life is very appealing. He never allows himself to be pushed around or pushed away, but he is gentle even when he’s firm. He is the very definition of reliable and I adore him for it.

Red Fish, Dead Fish contains references to Racing for the Sun, Amy’s 2013 novel which I, unfortunately, haven’t read. Because of the links and explanations, the plot becomes somewhat convoluted for a time, but it clears up when the focus turns back to Jackson and Ellery’s personal struggles. Those who haven’t read Racing for the Sun might just have to power through as I did. In my opinion, connecting the two burdened this book unnecessarily.

There are four short stories at the end that I regret not having read first. They would have made the convoluted parts easier to swallow. Anyone delving into this should go in that order and make life easier on themselves. That said, this series is a must read for fans of the genre who don’t mind reading about flawed, reticent men in love.

In conclusion, Red Fish, Dead Fish is another success from an author who doesn’t know how to offer anything less.

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