Book Review by Kristie: Open Case, by Mickie B. Ashling

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Open Case, by Mickie B. Ashling
Series: Open, Book 3
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 3, 2017

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars


Seth Wilder and Bryce McFarland deal with the aftermath of Owen Lightfoot’s destructive rampage. Once again, the insurance company denies the life insurance benefit despite the compelling evidence regarding the underlying cause of Mark’s death. However, they acknowledge their former employee’s complicity in the multiple crimes that have blindsided Seth and Bryce. They settle to keep their name out of the news, offering the couple a million dollars apiece, which they accept.

Owen learns of the big payoff and is determined to get his cut. Just when Bryce and Seth think it is all over, Owen reappears, and what follows tests the very limits of their endurance. Through the help of friends and relatives, Seth and Bryce find the strength to keep their relationship intact while seeking out the best way to stop Owen once and for all.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Contemporary Romance
Friends to Lovers


Review may contain small spoilers.

Open Case picks up about three weeks after the end of the last book, Open House. Again, the story and characters disappointed me more than I can express. Many of the issues I had from the previous book continue in this installment. Character wise, the changes in Seth and Bryce are mostly consistent… maybe increasing. So much so, in the beginning of the book, Bryce mentions he hardly recognizes Seth because he’s so much more forceful and determined in what their course of action should be when it comes to Owen Lightfoot. And Bryce? He really crumbles under pressure.

Owen, who now gets significant page time and his own POV, has seriously gone off the deep end. His character is shown a lot more and what we see is a terrifying display of a man who is probably suffering from some mental illness. He’s crazed… Owen has now taken to murder, bringing on a side-kick, kidnapping, and continues to believe he’s the one who’s been wronged. On one hand, it’s scary and horrific. On the other, its utterly ridiculous. He seems to have functioned mostly okay for the last twenty some years, so I fail to understand why he’s changed so much when it comes to Seth and Bryce. I’m sorry, but I just can’t believe that he’s got this much of a hard on for Bryce after all these years. If not for the insurance investigation, he most likely never would have seen Bryce again.

I had many moments where I just could not believe what I was reading. I was unable to understand where the characters were coming from, how they came to their conclusions, why the police investigation went they way it did, why a higher level of authority was not involved besides two Chicago detectives, and how anyone could let it go as long and as far as it did. So much of this just didn’t work for me, down to the dialogue that seemed so much more formal than necessary. There was a lot of yelling while reading this book. Not a lot of happy feelings… they were mostly feelings of being pissed off, bummed out, and disappointed.

The ending is an HEA that you totally see coming. When I got there, I was really glad. It was sweet, and expected, but not enough for me to change my mind. That said, I think there are a lot of people out there who would like this book. There is something about the story that kept me reading. I had to know what happened and how things ended up. I wish I could have liked it more.


Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.

By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Mickie discovered gay romance shortly after becoming a fan of the TV show “Queer As Folk”. After the series ended, she began writing QAF fan fiction to put her own HEA spin to the ambiguous ending. One thing led to another, and she submitted her first original manuscript to Dreamspinner Press in December 2008. Horizons was published in April 2009.

Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

Author website:

You can purchase Open Case from:
Google Play
Barnes & Noble

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.


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