Title: Borderline (Delarosa Secrets #1)
Author: T.A. Chase
Cover Artist: Marci Gass
Publisher: Pride Publications
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (155 PDF pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Review Summary: I thought the characters were three dimensional and the plot was well executed. There were a few concerns but overall I liked the story.
Mac Guzman is a Texas Ranger and lead detective on a serial killer case rocking the city of Houston. He’s willing to take help from anyone, especially when it comes in the form of the gorgeous FBI profiler, Tanner Wallace. Mixing business with pleasure has never been an option for Mac, but he just might change his mind and seduce Tanner into his bed.
Tanner Wallace joined the Bureau and became a profiler to catch bad guys. Also, it might have a little do with making up for the evil caused by his family’s business. When he’s called in to consult on a serial killer case in Houston, Tanner never expects to meet Mac. The handsome Texas Ranger brings to mind hot, sweaty nights wrapped in each other’s arms, yet Tanner knows Mac would walk away if he ever found out who Tanner’s family really is.
With the threat of another murder hanging over their heads, Tanner and Mac will have to find a way work past their differences before the killer strikes again.
It’s been a while since I read a book by T.A. Chase and this one caught my eye because it was about a serial killer and I am probably one of the few reviewers on the site (except Buda) who actually likes books about serial killers. What does that say about me, I wonder. 🙂
Mac and Tanner met when Mac’s boss decided that their latest case needed some expert help from outside his department since the Houston PD wasn’t having much success solving the murders. In four months four women had been killed and it was important to solve the case quickly before more women were sliced and diced by the killer, so Chief Billingsley requested that the FBI assign one of its profilers to the investigation.
Tanner had been a profiler for the FBI for10 years and the job was getting to him because he could no longer leave his cases at the office – all of the hatred, blood and gore was affecting him although he tried to compartmentalize his personal and professional life, but his personal life was empty since the recent death of his mother. Mac was a loner with no family; he had spent his childhood and teen years in the system after he was taken from his crack addicted mother at five. When he met Tanner Mac was immediately impressed by his professionalism, but mostly he liked his looks and the feeling was mutual. However they had a case to solve and the first murder they worked on together caused Mac a lot of personal anguish because the victim was known to him. Three weeks later there was another murder and the killer was getting bolder – not only was his timeline between killings shorter than before, but he was mocking Tanner about his inability to solve the case when he found out about his role.
There was another mystery thread throughout the story about Tanner’s background and family connections, and it wasn’t solved until almost the end of the story although there were many hints along the way. I thought that this secondary plot was actually as good as the investigation to nail the serial killer, and having them run parallel was very effective. I’m not an expert on police procedures but I did think that the leg work that went into solving the serial murders and connecting them to other cold cases was done well, however other readers more familiar with the SOP of the FBI and the Police may have a different opinion.
A few things bothered me about this story and one was that despite the fact he wasn’t out at work and was very concerned about how his colleagues would react if they found out he was gay, Mac outed himself to Tanner almost immediately after they met although he had very little to go on about his sexual orientation; Tanner was hot and he wanted him so discretion be damned. Mac also didn’t see a problem with kissing Tanner a few times in the office while other officers were on the other side of the door; that seemed a bit risky to me since it was clear he loved his job and wanted to stay. In addition, Mac didn’t tell his boss and Tanner right away that he knew one of the victims but his partner in the investigation, Detective Jasper Sorensterm, a nasty piece of work and someone Mac disliked, was aware of Mac’s connection to the victim and tried to blackmail him with that knowledge, but it was not explained how he knew.
Other than those and a few minor inconsistencies I thought that the story was well constructed. All of the characters were three dimensional, except Sorensterm who had his own agenda. Because Mac’s background was filled in I knew who he was and what his motivations were, but Tanner’s personal life remained a mystery for most of the story. I did like his work ethic and the fact that he really cared about Mac, and in the end he put his job on the line to help him.
To summarize: There were some inconsistencies in the plot but all of the characterizations worked for me as T.A. Chase made a good effort to expand the roles of the characters in both jurisdictions who were working on different cases. The pacing was fast and I didn’t put the book down once I started it as I became invested in the characters and wanted to see how the story would play out. As for the sex, it was repetitious and there was a lot of it, but Tanner and Mac realized there was a possibility that getting involved with each other could distract them and derail the investigation and they tried their best to keep the case on track. There was no insta-love, just a very strong attraction – both MCs were in their very early thirties and were looking for a meaningful relationship – they craved someone with whom they could have a love connection after years of one-night stands. Last, the “complexities” of Tanner’s story were not very complicated given all the hints but this is fiction so believability is not a strong story element.
The story is told from both MC’s third person POVs, and later on the killer’s POV was added which was interesting as it showed his state of mind while he stalked, captured and tortured his victims.
Since this story is about serial killings there is some graphic violence. If you like to read fast paced murder mysteries with likeable characters as well as a somewhat plausible plot I think you will enjoy Borderline.