Tramps and Thieves, by Rhys Ford
Series: Murder and Mayhem, Book 2
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 18, 2017
Whoever said blood was thicker than water never stood in a pool of it.
Retiring from stealing priceless treasures seemed like a surefire way for Rook Stevens to stay on the right side of the law. The only cop in his life should have been his probably-boyfriend, Los Angeles Detective Dante Montoya, but that’s not how life—his life—is turning out. Instead, Rook ends up not only standing in a puddle of his cousin Harold’s blood but also being accused of Harold’s murder… and sleeping with Harold’s wife.
For Dante, loving the former thief means his once-normal life is now a sea of chaos, especially since Rook seems incapable of staying out of trouble—or keeping trouble from following him home. When Rook is tagged as a murder suspect by a narrow-focused West LA detective, Dante steps in to pull his lover out of the quagmire Rook’s landed in.
When the complicated investigation twists around on them, the dead begin to stack up, forcing the lovers to work together. Time isn’t on their side, and if they don’t find the killer before another murder, Dante will be visiting Rook in his prison cell—or at his grave.
Opposites Attract (Cop and Thief)
Warning for some Violence, Death and Gore
Okay, yes Tramps and Thieves was a wonderful and absorbing read. But more to the point, after a two-year wait can I just say Oh my god how wonderful it was being back in Rook and Dante’s world?!
For me, its predecessor Murder and Mayhem had been a prime example of how evocative and just plain gorgeous the author’s writing can be, and Tramps and Thieves definitely continued to showcase her trademark flair. There were a few times when the lush prose got a bit distracting, but I do admit I’m pretty quick to forgive these instances in favor of setting the scene. The grit of the LA streets and tired glamor of Hollywood practically leapt off the page at every turn, bathing its faded, jaded occupants in full technicolor. Just as with the first book, I enjoyed the homage to the golden years of Hollywood through Rook’s love of old movies and his obsession with Tinseltown memorabilia, from common trinkets to priceless props.
The story picks up a few months since we last saw our two heroes. Despite the steadying presence of Dante in his life, Rook still struggles with adjusting to life completely on the straight and narrow. It’s no wonder that right from the very first page, he’s stealthily picking his way into trouble and to no one’s surprise, stumbles smack dab in the middle of a gripping murder mystery.
As engaging as the investigation was with its nonstop developments, my favorite parts of the book were easily the quiet, stolen moments between Rook and Dante. Or pretty much any time they appeared on page together. I swear I got the goofiest smile on my face at their every interaction. Yeah, I kinda have it bad for these two. I love a good Cop+Thief romance if it’s done well, and Rook and Dante are easily near the top of my list because I can actually see how their relationship could work in the long term even as they struggle to remain true to their inherent (and opposing) nature. Their growing devotion to each other was a joy to behold, made even sweeter because Rook’s instincts constantly urge him to protect himself at all costs and just run.
The book was not without some minor problems. I’d already mentioned the runaway prose, and I also had some concerns with the ongoing theme of negative female characters in Rook’s life. But if like me, you fell in love with the wily thief and the relentless cop who captured his heart in Murder and Mayhem, then Tramps and Thieves is a must-read.
Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and was a 2016 LAMBDA finalist with her novel, Murder and Mayhem. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.
She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Tam, a diabetic black pygmy panther, as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.
Rhys Ford: http://rhysford.com
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.