Recent Reads: Tell No One and Petty Crimes

I was in a fever of anticipation towards the end of September as not just one but two of my favourite authors had new releases that I couldn’t wait to read. And both were every bit as wonderful (and more!) than I expected.

Tell No One by Barbara Elsborg is a fast-paced, exciting action and adventure story with a beautifully developed central romance. The combination of thrills spills and risks together with emotions running high made this such a page-turner!

Tag, the upbeat everyman with a dark past who accidentally falls into a nefarious plot, was completely adorable and Delaney, the shadowy secret agent, was slowly revealed to be his perfect partner, despite the necessary loner tendencies of his trade.

The clever, past-faced plot and a genuine sense of danger were complemented so well by the growing trust and closeness between these two. This was unputdownable and a really great read. Brilliant storytelling and a very well-deserved bestseller for Barbara!

I recently devoured the romantic suspense Diversion series by Eden Winters, set in the legally grey and high-stakes area of prescription drug diversion scams. I loved Lucky and Bo, her main characters, so I was delighted to learn that there was a new spin-off in the works!

We met Jerry Wilkerson in book 3 of the series as a teenager drifting into serious drug crime and with a massive crush on Cyrus, Bo’s undercover persona, and now, in Petty Crimes, he has his own story.

Moving 5 years on, Jerry is in his mid-twenties and has turned his life around. Lucky and Bo are his bosses at the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau and Jerry has now graduated to become an undercover agent. When he meets dangerously attractive Nico, who makes his crush on Cyrus/Bo fade into insignificance, he worries if he’s about to repeat old patterns and fall for the wrong guy again.

It was great to see Jerry’s character fully developed and for him to get his own romance, and to have the SNB team, including Lucky, Bo and the fabulous Rett, as stalwart supporting characters. The details of the loopholes in the prescription narcotics trade were as well-researched as ever and made for a gripping plot, with plenty of dramatic and romantic tension. I’m really hoping that Petty Crimes is only the start of a new spin-off series. And yes, Eden, that is a hint!

Recent Reads: Eleventh Hour

 I thoroughly enjoy reading non-fiction as well as fiction, especially MM Romance, of course. But if a reference book or story of any genre has a historical setting, it will automatically go on my TBR list. So when fellow author, the very talented and lovely Addison Albright recommended Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory, it was a one-click decision!

I was immediately engrossed in this ripping yarn of late 1920s spy craft, and drawn into the meticulously detailed view of London that Elin Gregory has created. Everything is note-perfect from the street scenes, accommodation, attitudes and mindset, and written so fluently that the vast amount of necessary research felt seamless.

The rapid pairing of experienced field agent, Briers Allendale with cypher clerk Miles Siward, posing as his ‘wife’ while on surveillance of a dangerous anarchist is inspired. I really loved the pacing of this story, from the often frustrating tailing of suspects and promising leads falling foul of bureaucracy, to the sense of danger and the John Buchan-style action scenes. But what made this story so outstanding for me was the characters (Miles’ loyal manservant Pritchard is a stand out) and the growing attachment between our couple.

Despite the sense of urgent threat from the anarchist plot, the author takes time over her character development and personally, this is what makes the story so special. Briers the world-weary and experienced spy comes across as a typical man’s man, so the fact he is gay and sexually active causes him no problems due to his conventionally masculine appearance. Miles, on the other hand, is youthful, short and slight and has a knack for disguising himself as a woman, the feisty ‘Millie’, a skill which his superiors find both useful to exploit and patronisingly distasteful at the same time (it is the 1920s after all!) That complicated reaction impacts Miles and his need to prove himself and also his growing relationship with Briers.

I really enjoyed the nuances of their connection, especially Miles (as himself and as Millie) fiercely counters Briers’ easy assumptions and attempts to protect him, which leads to the start of a very special bond. I really hope that book 2 in the series will be re-released whenever that’s possible as I can’t wait to read more about Miles and Briers and their adventures in the increasingly high-stakes world of 1930s espionage. Thank you Addison for an outstanding recommendation!