Note: This review was of an ARC, or advance reader copy, of Murder and Mayhem by Rhys Ford. At the time of the review, the book was not yet available on Amazon.com, so the link leads to the author’s profile page. The book is expected to be released June 5, 2015.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! All the way from the drunken recesses of their minds, a review brought to you by Katinka and Patinka, the Mysterious Bearded Snark Twins. Will they love it? Will they hate it? Will there be water snakes? Drumroll….
Katinka: MOST IMPORTANTLY, Rhys Ford is awesome. After she found out what drives Cannonball Read, she offered to let Patinka and me have full access to her catalog at no charge – very generous for a self-published author. She was extremely interactive with us on Twitter as well. I LOVE HER.
Patinka: Sold. I’ll admit I’m easy but RFord won me over within the first 10 pages:
- Insouciance is one of my favorite words ever
- My first great love was a man with two different colored eyes
- Inigo Freaking Montoya
Katinka: She certainly started this one off with a bang, that’s for sure. Ugh… can you imagine having enough blood on you that people can smell it? Gives me the queasies just thinking about it.
Patinka: Would it be in terrible taste to insert a pic of like, a box of Always with wings? (Before you give me Damning Judgement Eyes, consider that at least I had the common sense to ask)
But yes – the way she described the scene in the first few pages was BALLS… had me hooked almost immediately. Then I nursed the hell out of the rest of the book because I didn’t want it to end, kinda like I did with the Psycop series.
Katinka, you have to give the synopsis because I spoil. All I will say for now is: CARNIES. And not the Wilson Phillips kind:
Katinka: Rook, our dashing hero, is a bit of a bad boy. He was raised in the carnival circuit and grew up to become a con man, along with being involved in all kinds of nefarious doings.
Patinka: But he’s totally opted out of that scene. He now owns and operates a memorabilia shop in LA – the kind of place where people go to buy wookie statues and vintage comic books. In addition to having a kick-ass name, Rook actually hails from the kind of family that has hospital wings and university buildings named after them, but he avoids dealing with his relatives on account of the fact that they hate him because he’s…
Katinka: Dante Montoya is one of the cops that have been on his tail for years. He and Rook have a smokin’ hot attraction, and came THIS close to hooking up at a club before they realized who each other were. (This is why you shouldn’t club if you’re the lead in a novel – it will inevitably get you in trouble…)
Of course, this is all background. As our novel opens, Rook is in his store and has stumbled across a body. Unfortunately it’s someone he knows and has a history with, and the police are already on scene. He’s gotten blood all over himself while trying to see if the person was dead. Rook almost escapes, only to tackled by Dante at the last possible second.
This all takes place in the first twenty or so pages, so I don’t feel bad about spoiling anything. It takes one glance between them for the old attraction to flare, even as Dante realizes that here, at long last, is his chance to bust a criminal he’s been pursuing for years.
You get the idea. I learned more about con games from this one book than from five years of watching Leverage. And, CARNIES! They’ve got a code, dude, and will not break it for anything. It’s really well written, with an entertaining mystery and plot, and hot smexy times. I have one quibble, but don’t want to talk about it in detail because it WOULD spoil the book. Patty?
Patinka: WHAT? QUIBBLE? HOW DARE YOU FIND FAULT IN THIS, KATINKA?
Like with the Hellsinger books, Ford manages to balance things out so that you aren’t stuck in a single-genre Tilt-A-Whirl. I freakin’ loved this story. The secondary characters were well fleshed out and for some bizarre reason I kept thinking of the Scissor Sisters’ song “Filthy Gorgeous” while reading. And now you are too.
Katinka: I agree. Ms. Ford’s attention to detail is meticulous, and she keeps track of all the little things in a way that many authors just don’t. Her characterizations are complex and fully realized.
Patinka: And Katinka’s quibble is invalid because the thing that is the source of her quibble was not something that I could have quibbled over because I didn’t know about the quibble worthiness of it on account of the fact that I didn’t get it until it was there to be gotten (and you thought I would spoil it…).
Katinka: PATINKA. YOU KNOW IF I QUIBBLED ABOUT MY QUIBBLE IN ANY DETAIL IT WOULD GIVE AWAY TOO MUCH. Besides, I want to know if anyone else had the same problem.
All of this aside, read the book. It’s great.
Patinka: Rhys was incredibly kind, fun and cool (and I’m SO glad we both liked this book because otherwise…. AWKWARD).