I really enjoy the world and cast of characters Abigail Roux has constructed in her Cut & Run series. And I love the way it intermingles with the Sidewinder spinoffs and the men of Warrior’s Cross. With the common characters, though, it’s all too easy to expect the books to be similar –and they really aren’t. For me, Cut & Run is a romantic suspense series. Stuff is happening with a mystery and danger, but the books are romances. At the center is the relationship between Ty and Zane. Here, not so much. Yes, the stories center on Nick (and to a lesser extent, Kelly) –but romance? I think not.
In this installment, Kelly has come to visit Nick just as he is starting a new case. He is dealing with two dead bodies, a looted bookstore, and an amnesiac who has no idea whether he is a witness, a victim, or a bad guy. So he and Kelly end up working together to solve the mystery. In the course of their mission, they flirt, they have sex, and they say “I love you,” but this is not an emotional journey. It’s a mystery that a couple solves together. It’s hard for me not to feel the lack, when romance is what I have come to expect from this world.
The mystery itself isn’t bad. But it was more complicated than I wanted or needed it to be. It involved a great deal of historical detail that I just didn’t care about. It felt more like a prop to show us how smart Nick is. I didn’t care. I did like how Julian Cross tied in, even if it was a bit convenient. I liked the action sequences and JD (the amnesiac’s) role in the story. I also liked Nick’s partner, though I found it odd just how often he made “wink*wink” cracks about Nick and Kelly’s sex life. Who does that?
As for the Nick and Kelly’s relationship, as I have said before, it’s a little too easy. Kelly believed himself a straight man for 30-something years and to suddenly be in a very deep romantic and sexual relationship with another man, it would seem like there would be more fallout or, at least, introspection. And too, to go from years as best buddies to life partners… again, it’s just too easy. There is virtually no angst to be found at all. No conflict. I need at least a little of that to make get me invested.
Bottom line: it wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great either. It was a quick little mystery read with characters I know and like, which didn’t even try to make me connect emotionally. Eh.
*ARC Provided by Riptide
Click to purchase: Amazon
Cross & Crown
by Abigail Roux
Release Date: June 9, 2014