Review: Private Eye by Katrina Jackson

Reviewed by Olive

Private Eye is the second book in Katrina Jackson’s The Spies Who Loved Her series. It follows cam model and awesome business woman Maya (ThickaThanASnicka) and her favourite private chat client, MasquerAsiaN. Maya has been fantasising about this mysterious client for ages and she doesn’t even know his real name…

Until, that is, her best friend and roommate comes out to her as an assistant to spies that need her help. Her partner in this mission? None other than MasquerAsiaN, aka Kenny. Maya has to decide how to handle all this new information and determine if she can trust her feelings, Kenny, or anything ever again.

This book is super fun. Maya is a great character with lots of wit and snark – she got the idea to become a cam model from a conservative flyer denouncing sex workers and porn. That tidbit is just so her and the way she rocks this life. She’s made it possible for her family to survive and, more importantly, for her younger siblings to thrive. Better yet, she’s not only an unapologetic and highly competent professional, it’s clear that she’s having a good time. I haven’t seen such a positive depiction of this type of sex worker in romance fiction before and I’m here for this high quality content.

Kenny is also well drawn. I really appreciate that Jackson made him a good spy but not a super spy. In many ways, it’s just a job for Kenny. He’s looking for advancement and wants to impress his new boss, he’s used company resources inappropriately but not maliciously so, and he’s starting to chafe under some of the secrecy restrictions without consciously looking to change careers. He’s so relatable even when, or especially when, he fucks up and has to figure out if he can repair things with Maya enough to have a chance at long term love.

The chemistry between the two characters is off the charts and their interactions are super hot. Two things kept this from being as scorching as it could’ve been, imo:

  • The focus on penis-in-vagina sex as being the only sex that “counts,” especially considering that Maya is a very aware and capable sex worker, felt off and disingenuous. They have sex all over the place, individually and together, and every time they made a reference to “waiting” it knocked me out of my suspension of disbelief.
  • Maya spends most of the book trying to decide if she is willing to trust Kenny after the reveal that he’s a spy and discovered her after doing a background check on her roommate. The book handles a number of different trust issues across different types of relationships – and does it well – but this one felt kinda clunky to me. I’m not saying she should’ve trusted more readily – I just would’ve liked to see more about why it was so hard for Maya to give him another chance.

The spy stuff is entertaining. Definitely more of a caper than a dark and broody type of spy story. The premise of capturing the bad guy because he likes to watch cam models with their partners and isn’t super savvy, tech-wise, was great. I can absolutely see someone with more money than sense hiring people to protect him and maybe not adhering super strictly to their recommendations cuz boners. He sets himself up in many ways. The spies just get themselves in place to take advantage of the opportunity.

I adored Kierra, Maya’s bff, who uses her insider knowledge to ensure that Maya is appropriately compensated and protected throughout. The relationship between Maya and Kierra is gorgeous. Kierra spends a good portion of this with Maya upset at her over the spy reveal. Their deep abiding love for each other shines through every difficult conversation and is one of the major plot drivers in this.

Speaking of Kierra, the characters from the first book in this series are full characters in this second book, not peripheral. I didn’t read the first one before I read this, so it isn’t necessary (though you may have more fun as a reader if you know these folks going in). There is also a side plot between two other characters that gets a lot of space. I’d love to see this whole series get some tighter editing but, honestly, this is more of an FYI than a complaint. The other characters are interesting and engaging, the dynamics are solid (and messy af but that’s part of why I’m here), and I enjoyed getting to know them.

Overall, this is a great read and I’m super excited to continue in the series. The books are, as of this writing, available on Kindle Unlimited (there are currently three in the series). Hot sex, genuine feels, spy stuff that gets messy when combined with life stuff – it’s been a highlight of my reading year!

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: amazon

Private Eye
by Katrina Jackson
Release Date: January 7, 2019
Published by: self-published

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