'Fraud Twice Felt' is the second installment in J.T. Hall's 'Oddities' series and basically picks up where 'Murder Once Seen' leaves off. Derwin and Elliot are living together as a new couple and working on making their lives mesh.
They're happy and for the most part things are good...or as good as they can be with two men who both have oddities they're trying to keep secret from the rest of the world, are rebuilding their home after having it blown to bits by a killer as well as rebuilding Elliot's life so he can leave his rentboy days behind which would be easier said than done if he didn't have to avoid a former client who nearly killed him and still wants to 'own' him and just happens to be the leader of one of the most dangerous gangs in the city...but hey, let's not stop there why not have a friends son and his girlfriend go missing only to find out that not only are they missing but they've placed everyone in the middle of a power struggle between two of the most powerful gangs in the city.
Like the first book 'Fraud Twice Felt' is a bit stronger on the mystery/thriller part than the romance but for me that works. I cut my reading teeth on authors like Mary Higgins Clark and Phillip Margolin so mysteries are part of my staple reading diet add in that this one also has a touch of urban fantasy to it...Jim Butcher and Rachel Caine anyone? Needless to say this is all golden for me...mystery/thriller/urban fantasy with a touch of a m/m romance blended in and I'm happy, happy girl.
I really enjoyed the mystery here, it was solid and held a couple of surprises that added a nice little twist to events. What I really enjoyed was the growth that we saw in Elliot as he regained some of his confidence and stepped up to show his man that he's not going to stay anyone's damsel in distress, he wants to be self sufficient and able to protect himself and have Derwin's back when he needs to but more than that he wants to take his life in a different direction from his rentboy days...one that will clearly establish him as Derwin's partner and an equal in the relationship.
Watching Elliot struggle to regain the confidence that he lost as a result of the events that transpired in 'Murder Once Seen' is hard for Derwin. He's a good partner loving and supportive but he's already lost one man that he loved and he knows that losing Elliot to the dangers they face would be more than he could handle but he's smart enough to know that for both their sakes Elliot needs to be able to protect himself so he's determined to help make this happen. I really loved this about Derwin because as a wife and a parent I understand that feeling that need to protect those we love. I also understand that whether it's a child or a partner the best thing we can do for them if we truly love them is to give then the tools to be able to protect themselves. Sometimes doing what's best for those we love is the hardest thing we have to do, but it's also the most important.
While this story doesn't end on a cliffhanger we are given a hint of what's coming next and I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment in this series and the chance to see how Derwin and Elliot grow as a couple and as individuals. J. T. Hall has definitely found a fan in me with this series and I'm looking forward to my next visit to the city of Nis.
An ARC of 'Fraud Twice Felt' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.