Avid reader, part time gamer. I read and review books for other readers, not for authors. I review mostly M/M books, so if that doesn't float your boat, well, there are other boats in the sea, other reviewers in this great blogosphere!
I thoroughly enjoyed this latest installment in the Cut & Run series, but I definitely DO see what a lot of other reviewers are talking about. What follows isn't really a "review", it's what I thought about the book after a few days to stew, and thoughts after reading other reviews. It's going to be rambly, it'll probably contain some spoilers, but no true "who dunnit" spoilers.
I can see why a lot of people thought of this as more of a Nick book than a Ty & Zane book. On further thinking, after reading other posts and reviews, I don't get why Nick had to take the lead on investigating, just because he was the homicide dick. Stanton asked him to take the lead, because he thought Nick could be more impartial (thanks, Pete for reminding me of this!). T&Z are freaking FBI agents, Ty is a profiler, and they track down killers all the time! Why didn't they have weapons? Zane has ALWAYS had his knives, and I don't see either of them going out of the country without some access to weapons, especially since the whole reason Nick was invited was because of freaking danger. Is Abi just trying to say they feel safe enough to go unarmed? They know the cartel is still after them, they know the mole is still out there.
Perhaps that's why it was set in another country. I imagine, even with an FBI agent, if he's not on official business, it's not easy to get weapons out of the country. It's just, Nick did, and he wasn't on official business. I think I even remember a passage or line about all the weapons he had- it wasn't the weapons that gave him trouble, but the shrapnel in his leg. So why couldn't T&Z use some of what he brought?
But I kinda got N&K (mostly Nick) being more involved, the series has really been leading that way for a while now. Ever since D&C when the Sidewinder guys were introduced, they have played a pretty big part in most books in the series. They played a HUGE part in T&G, so I wouldn't really expect them to just go away, especially with the Sidewinder spin off picking up steam.
I do think maybe the stuff with Nick and his family could have gone either into the next Sidewinder book, or in it's own spin off short, if Abi needed him back in fighting shape by the next Sidewinder book. That way, it wouldn't have taken so much time away from the main story. What I don't like is feeling like this book was just a huge springboard to the Sidewinder series. We already love her work, and would follow these characters to their own series, we don't need the hook, it's already there.
I'm rating this 4.5 stars here. It would have been 5 stars, but for the inconsistencies in the investigation, the lack of weapons and anyone with sat phones, and Ty & Zane being marginalized in an investigation in their own book. The fact remains that, for me, this book was totally engaging. I read almost the entire thing in one sitting, and was left with a smile on my face. I never had a "Wtf" moment until reading other's thoughts, I never felt Nick was too prominent until reading reviews, so I'm sticking with my gut rating on this one.