Title: Fish Out of Water
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 29, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Mystery
Page Count: 270
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
PI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets of Del Paso Heights—and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and his family safe.
Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his depth—and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares reach—and deep into Jackson’s troubled past.
Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s spiraled out of control.
Fish Out of Water is driven by a set of suspenseful murder mysteries – the present-day murder of a dirty cop, supposedly by Jackson’s best friend Kaden, and the mystery from 8 years ago involving the murder of Jackson’s partner, another dirty cop. Jackson’s childhood dream was to become a cop who made a difference, but after wearing a wire to get evidence against his partner, he is shot and seriously wounded and leaves the police department, becoming a PI.
Jackson, Kaden and his wife Rhonda and Jade (Kaden’s twin sister) have had each other’s back since middle school and their sense of family and complete loyalty to one another is richly described by Amy Lane. That relationship really gives some strength and intensity to the story. Jackson: “No relationship had ever been as important as the family he’d clung to when nobody else gave a shit.” Unfortunately, we don’t get the same treatment with Ellery Cramer. Ellery briefly refers to his nerdy years and relationship with his mother, but for the most part, he’s an unknown quantity. What we do know about Ellery is he’s an exceptional lawyer who has seriously lusted after Jackson for the past six years.
Jackson is a “walking condom commercial” with a long history of one-night stands – no one gets a second night because “being attached meant having your heart ripped out.” That is, until Ellery agrees to take up Kaden’s defense and the two men find themselves drawn into an incredibly dirty, steaming hot hot hot relationship.
Ellery lost himself for a moment, Jackson’s hands everywhere: stomach, flank, thighs, backside, neck, chest—nipples, oh dear God, his nipples! He regained control naked on the stripped bed as an equally naked Jackson rifled through the bedstand for the jumbo box of rubbers and giant bottle of lubricant. “Could you be any more seventies porn star,” Ellery snarked, breathless. […] “Spread ’em,” Jackson growled.
Fish Out of Water delivers an intense plot as well as a sizzling relationship between Ellery and Jackson, but at times the murder / mystery plot felt overly convoluted with lots of matters unresolved, until I realized the book ends in a cliffhanger … not relationship-wise, but as far as getting the answers to the larger conspiracy in play. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, getting that conspiracy figured out, and checking in on Jackson and Ellery.