Thursday, May 22, 2014

Abigail Roux - Ball & Chain

Home from their unexpected deployment, the former members of Marine Force Recon team Sidewinder rejoin their loved ones and try to pick up the pieces of the lives they were forced to leave behind. Ty Grady comes home to Zane Garrett, only to find that everything around him has changed—even the men he went to war with. He barely has time to adjust before his brother, Deuce, asks Ty to be his best man. But that isn’t all Deuce asks Ty to do, and Ty must call for backup to deal with the business issues of Deuce’s future father-in-law.
Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott join Ty and Zane at the wedding on an island in Scotland, thinking they’re there to assuage Deuce’s paranoia. But when bodies start dropping and boats start sinking, the four men get more involved with the festivities than they’d ever planned to.
With the clock ticking and the killer just as stuck on the isolated island as they are, Ty and Zane must navigate a veritable minefield of family, friends, and foes to stop the whole island from being destroyed.

Comment: As a fan of this series, I couldn't not read this book as well. It's a series that brings together two elements key to my love for a book, romance and good characters. Since the first book I've been hooked and eagerly await each new book until it arrives.

In this installment, Ty and Zane are invited to the wedding of Ty's brother, in Scotland. Apparently the bride's family has been receiving some threats and Deuce, Ty's brother, asks him to bring extra security, so Ty invites Nick who, in turn, brings a partner too, in order to help with the security of the island where the wedding is taking place.
But things can't be this normal and soon is clear something is happening, and when the first body is discovered, a race against time starts because no one knows who the killer might be...

This story features heavily on the murder investigation and looking for a killer, something we saw in the fist book but which I never paid much attention in the other installments where the investigations were happening because I always looked more to the romance part o things and was much more invested in Ty and Zane's relationship and everything else was secondary for me.
That doesn't happen in the story, the focus is quite big in the action behind the romance and even this is almost secondary to Ty's friendship with Nick and what it meant throughout the years.
So, three things happening here: There's the romance between Zane and Ty, which is always my favorite part, then the murder investigation concerning the plot, and finally the relationship between Ty and Nick hits a rocky moment but they talk and everything is sort of solved. I say solved because in the end we have clues on how things might be addressed more, specially in the spin off of the series, Nick and Kelly's Sidewinder stories, to be released soon.

Of the three things, Ty and Zane are in a place in their romance where things have been talked, and there's this amazing love declaration in the was amazing, I love how they worked hard to have a balanced and solid relationship and those scenes with them are pretty much perfect. Of course, the negative part is how they don't seem to be the focus in this book, but personally I feel it was subtle enough. In the end we get the murder's reasons and it's a surprise alright.

The murder investigation, in fact, is quite lengthy and shadier than we might think at first. I wasn't very pleased with so many people dying and all the twists, all the negative feelings in the middle of things, the selfishness of some motives...I get the plot reasons, but it brought a darker tone to the story that I thought was too obvious and intentional to feel right, but in the end, despite thinking it was over the top, I still managed to overlook some of it to pay more attention to the romance.

As for Nick and Ty's fight and the conversation that follows...I think it was more to serve the purpose of Nick's spin off later than to the character's growing, but this can be only my perspective playing. I think, from the emotional POV, it was well done because talking can explain a lot of things but if they were such good friends, this felt a bit like creating problems where they didn't exist for plot purposes and not real need.

In the end, I liked this anyway, I feel faithful to these beloved characters and despite this book not having the focus or the perfect, deep emotional link to the main couple I wanted to see, I enjoyed their parts, the place where they are at and the loving details in their relationship. It's not enough for the book, but I still liked it, so...a good grade nonetheless.
Plus, I love these guys, it's wonderful to read a story with characters you know you'll love reading about.
Grade: 7/10

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