Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Abigail Roux - Cross and Crown

When Nick O'Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time.
Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide. The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity.
Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.

Comment: I am a fan of the author's work and in particular of th Cut and Run series. This Sidewinder spin off comes from that series and features Nick and Kelly, two friends in arms of Ty, from the military times. 

This story is the first full length one in the spin off, after the short story Shock and Awe.
In this book we see how Nick works and how he deals with a case in Boston, while welcoming Kelly for a time together. 
Nick and Kelly's relationship is new but already working full speed. But is the distance something they can deal with?
Is Nick's job what he needs after a troubled mission in Iraq?

Well, I don't think this series has the vitality the original one has, but I can't say this is a disappointment. Actually I liked the story and plan on reading further when the books come out.
I think people's biggest issue with this series is how closely connected to Cut and Run it is and how someone new to the author couldn't really enjoy this without having read the other. I understand why, after all many of the interactions mention or make references to things that happened in books from Cut and Run. A new reader might find this too much to enjoy the book as it is. From a POV of someone who has read Cut and Run, this one is good. But I have to admit, for a new reader is might be too much. However, I also have to say, readers are warned of this, so I guess it depends on how much interest someone really has...I won't defend either side, but in the end it's always a matter of personal choice and how can that be the author's fault?

Anyway, the story was quite all over the place in my opinion. Nick works as a cop and has a case on hands and there's so much happening plus Cross from Warrior's Cross shows up and plays a part. Then there's Nick and Kelly, then the case, then the different connections because of the case...I think it was too much to deal with in just one story. That I think the author could have worked out better.

While the case helps to understand personal actions and states of mind pertaining the characters, I can't say I was deeply invested on it, even though I recognize the author's research work and efforts to make this sound reasonable and professional, the same she does in all her books. But in the end the case wasn't what really caught me and moved me, I was more interested in the personal side of the main character's experience within the plot development.

Nick and Kelly's relationship is the factor that made me read the story. They are very different in terms of personality and their fast and sudden sexual interest that started in the short story seemed too new and out of the blue to be sincere. I wanted to see how the author would go with them, considering they have been friends for s many years but nothing ever happened. I think this is the detail that makes the reader more unsure, if they wanted each other sexually why didn't it happen before? While this aspect is addressed in the short story, I wanted a better explanation and hopefully it would happen here, but it wasn't so. In this book they are in the beginning of their relationship yes, but things are steady between them. I liked the banter and funny moments, even better were the romantic ones, but part of me is still waiting for a more solid clue or something. This might not happen so I enjoy the story and despite my doubts I still liked reading this and still enjoyed seeing their romance so in the end I can't really say it was badly done.

The story felt a bit full and the relationship is new but after all things considered, I still had a good time with it, therefore a good grade. But I hope the following books might be deeper, emotionally speaking.
Grade: 7/10

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