Author: Amy Lane
Released: July 29th 2016
Length: 270 pages
Source: Publisher for review
PI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets of Del Paso Heights—and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and his family safe.Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his depth—and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares reach—and deep into Jackson’s troubled past.Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s spiraled out of control.
Fish Out of Water is the very first mystery penned by Amy Lane, a living legend of the M/M romance genre. Lane usually writes contemporary romance with the occasional forays into PNR, but her desire to branch out further was met with a lot of well deserved enthusiasm. As with everything else she does, Lane runs this story smoothly with seemingly no effort at all, her experience as a writer shining through despite her relative inexperience with mysteries themselves.
Amy Lane is known for her fully fleshed out, dynamic characters. Lane is a student of human nature and she uses her vast knowledge to give us characters we will never forget. Nobody breaks them or fixes them quite like she does. Jackson Rivers is one of those – broken almost beyond repair, but honorable and principled as a rule. Jackson was betrayed by his birth mother, by the system and by the police force. Now a private investigator in a law firm, he trusts no one but his three best friends, two of which are also his foster family. The world doesn’t care about Jackson and Jackson doesn’t care about the world, but he would die in a second for his foster brother Kaden and his family.
As the second protagonist and Jackson’s love interest, Ellery doesn’t have such strong impact, but only because his past isn’t quite so traumatic. With his strength, determination and integrity, he is precisely what Jackson needs, even though the PI is reluctant to admit it. Ellery’s approach to life and love is simply amazing. He handles Jackson’s issues matter-of-factly, providing rock solid support and unflinching honesty.
The romance, however, is secondary. Lane has her characters busy uncovering corruption, being shot at, attacked at every turn and isolated on all sides. Despite being emotionally damaged, Jackson is fantastic at what he does, and Ellery’s quick thinking helps to move them forward. Lane planned this very thoroughly and competently, although I sensed some insecurity in the execution. Several times I had to go back to reread because explanations and discoveries tended to be confusing. Nevertheless, it’s a minor flaw in an overall successful novel that left me hungry for more of Amy Lane’s writing.
Although it hasn’t been announced just yet, Fish Out of Water is obviously the start of a new series. Several things were left unresolved and Lane wouldn’t just abandon us with all those loose threads to keep us awake at night. Whenever it comes, Jackson and Ellery’s new adventure will be a treat for the fans.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.