Ok for starters, with this one I need you to forget everything you thought you knew about this author...just chuck it out the window. Before reading 'Fish Out of Water' my book count for Amy Lane was 29 stories/novellas/books...whatever. So while I'm by no means an expert my point here is I really, really like this author, I am familiar with her writing. Sadly and happily I still have a few stories/novellas/novels of hers to read 36 according to my list, see not an expert or even close.
Still of the 29 books that I've read none have been even remotely like this one. If you're not a big fan of mysteries, thrillers, whodunnits whatever name you want to apply there's a really strong chance that this one won't be your cuppa'. On the other hand if you are pull up a chair and let's talk.
I loved this book for me it was total comfort food. I cut my adult reading teeth on Mary Higgins Clark, Phillip Margolin, Steven Berry, John Sandford, James Patterson and a few others. Even a lot of the urban fantasy that I've read contains a mystery/thriller tone to them. So when I saw this one honestly I was torn could she do it? Could the author who writes sweet, fluffy, romance laced with oober hot sex and some awesomely over the top characters give me a mystery that kept me as engaged as her other books did? Would I like it? Yep, I was more than a little nervous but even more than that I was curious so of course I made grabby hands at the chance to find out.
Jackson Rivers is a PI working for the same law firm that employs Ellery Cramer and these two have danced around each other for years. Both thinking they're out of the other's league.
They are essentially polar opposites. Jackson basically raised himself having a mother who was too busy with her drugs and men to really care what became of him. While Ellery grew up knowing only privileges and comforts that someone like Jackson would only ever dreamed of. Jackson wears leather jackets and jeans and drives an older model Toyota...think 10 years plus, Ellery wears designer suits and drives a shiny new Lexus. Jackson's bi and does one night stands no commitments made or needed, Ellery's gay and does relationships not one night stands.
When circumstances put these men on the same case in a race to save the life of Jackson's best friend, the brother of his heart not only do bullets fly but so do the sparks and snark. This is not an easy relationship but as Ellery gets to know Jackson the real Jackson he becomes determined that it's a worthwhile relationship and he's got what it takes to make it work.
The mystery aspect of this story kept me reading without fail. I wanted to know it all everything and the only way to get that information was to keep reading so I did. The was definitely a dark side to this story dealing with greed, corruption and the inequalities of a justice system that judged based on color and social-economic background and not necessarily how guilty you really were.
Truthfully I can't say that I didn't want more relationship development between Jackson and Ellery because I really liked the interaction between these two, it kept me totally entertained to see who was going to back away first only to be reeled back in. Resistance really was futile on both their parts. Neither of them willing to back down but both still cognizant of the other's thoughts and feelings. For me this pairing worked. It wasn't a gentle romantic relationship partly because of events but mostly because it just wasn't how they worked.
Now I want to have a nice little babble about the secondary characters in this book there were several. For Jackson there was Kaden and Jade. They were his family and his anchor. He'd known them since they were all kids. Jade was also his ex but still family and friend and she works at the same law firm as Ellery and Jackson, Kaden is Jackson's best friend and one of the few people he's never had sex with, then there was his tenant Mike with the good heart and the totally politically incorrect mouth, who was also a good friend. And one of my favorites Billy Bob, who was a rather mangled looking Siamese. I'm very partial to this breed of cat having belonged to a few myself.
Now I've saved my personal best for last. The person who for me was the icing on the cake in this book and possibly one of the most epic characters I've encountered in a very, very long time was Ellery's mother. I loved her...
The woman stood up and sort of… imposed herself into Jade’s place. She was barely taller than Jade, with dark brown hair and familiar, fine brown eyes. Her face was lined, not heavily, just enough to know she was old enough to have no fucks left to give about anyone’s opinion.
and she didn't but she did it with style. She was fearless and had total faith in her son...
“...Now go bring back someone’s head on the front of your Lexus for Mommy, okay?” She batted her eyelashes and he grinned, showing all his teeth.
To Jackson she became 'Lucy Satan'...
“Darling, what use is being shot if you’re not stoned to the fucking gills?”
There was something very wrong with this woman. Something amok. But Jackson was out of pain and—
Seriously everyone for her alone this book was worth reading. I know I want a mom like her or maybe I just want to be her when I grow up.
Thankfully the ending of this book made it abundantly clear that there will be more. Don't panic it's not a cliff hanger...exactly. Our guys are in a good place but for me this felt like an ending with a lot of opportunity for more...so maybe not so much an ending as a beginning.
An ARC of 'Fish Out of Water' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.