Title: The Merchant of Death (Playing the Fool #2)
Author: Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: March 15th 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Length: 5 hrs 29 mins
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
All’s fair in love and war.
There’s something rotten in the state of Indiana. When con man Henry Page takes it upon himself to investigate the death of an elderly patient at a care facility, he does so in true Shakespearean tradition: dressed as a girl.
FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness has more to worry about than Henry’s latest crazy idea. Someone is trying to send him a message—via a corpse with a couple of bullets in it. He needs to figure out who’s trying to set him up before he gets arrested, and he really doesn’t have time for Henry’s shenanigans. Then again, he’d probably be able to focus better if Henry didn’t look so damn distracting in a babydoll dress and a wig.
But when Mac discovers that Henry has been keeping a secret that connects the cases, he has to find a way to live on the right side of the law when he just might be in love with the wrong sort of man.
While the story didn’t pack the same punch for me that The Two Gentlemen of Altona did, it’s entertaining, mainly thanks to Henry’s continued misbehavior. It’s also really interesting to see the threads woven from the start starting to finally show a pattern in the overarching mystery of the series and it makes me all the more anxious to find out what’s really happening.
In the end, though, it’s the narration that once again takes center stage and continues to blow me away. Nick J. Russo does such a fantastic job with all the characters voices and the tone of the story. He even managed to kept me enthralled at a point when, if reading, I would have thrown the book across the room in a fit of pique.
Mac and Henry are back and the story picks up just where The Two Gentlemen of Altona left with Henry racing to his twin sister, Viola’s, side. Viola is in some trouble and Henry is determined to investigate the matter, much to Mac’s consternation as Henry goes “undercover” as his twin sister to discover if there’s an Angel of Death at his sister’s care home.
Mac’s distracted by Henry’s shenanigans, but also by the fact that he’s come under investigation for some pretty serious charges at the Bureau. When it turns out that Henry is linked in some ways to what’s happening, it’s up to Mac to decide whether he can trust Henry or not.
He almost turned back. Wasn’t that what you were supposed to do? You were almost out of the building or on the plane or driving home in the rain, and then suddenly you turned around and raced back and told the other person how you felt. And then they said they loved you too, and you kissed, and the credits rolled. No word on what happened next. How you dealt with the fact that one of you belonged in a prison cell, and the other should be facilitating that.
Bottom line, this is an entertaining story, a terrific series, and extraordinary narration. Note, this story once again ends on Quantum Leap cliffhanger-ish type ending, which I hope will be picked up and finally resolved completely in Tempest (Playing the Fool #3), which will be released soon on audio.