Title: In From the Cold (The Castoffs #1)
Author: J.T. Rogers
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: 4th oct, 2016
Genre(s): Adventure, Espionage, Action
Page Count: 236
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Robert Flynn abandoned a sterling military career when his best friend and fellow soldier, Wesley Pike, died under his command. More than a decade later, Flynn’s quiet life is disturbed by the troubles of a fledgling CIA and Alexander Grant, a flashy agent with a lot to prove. As the space race between the United States and the Soviets heats up and the body count rises, the two men fight to find common ground. Grant knows Flynn believes in the cause, but all Flynn sees is the opportunity to fail someone like he failed Wes. An attack by a Soviet agent spurs Flynn to action and a reluctant association with the agency, and tilts Flynn’s world on its axis with a shocking discovery: Wesley Pike may be alive and operating as a Soviet assassin.
With Grant to bankroll the operation, his superiors looking the other way, and Flynn’s hard-earned peace officially forfeit, Flynn reunites his old team with the singular goal of finding Wes. But they get more than they bargained for—Wes is amnesiac and dangerous, brainwashed into becoming the perfect weapon. Flynn struggles to reach his friend, lead his team, and navigate his charged relationship with Grant—something neither of them expected and aren’t sure how to parse—while coming to grips with his long-buried feelings for Wes.
“In from the cold” by J.T Rogers is the start of a brand-new series “The Castoffs”. It’s a spy/romance novel and the main protagonist is Robert Flynn, the team leader of “The Castoffs”. It’s set in 50s USA, when the country is trying to outmaneuver its oldest rival, Russia. I had a grand time reading this book. It had action, emotion and a group of eclectic and quirky characters that comprises the team headed by Robert Flynn.
Robert Flynn has left the army after the death of his best friend and team mate, Wesley Pike. He is now retired and owns and manages a bakery. Robert is lonely and he carries a huge guilt of letting his friend down when he had promised that he would always have his back. His days never vary as does his customers. Then one day in comes, Alexander Grant. The guy is polished with an impeccable appearance and an air of mystery. He wants to recruit Robert to lead a team to gather intelligence and neutralize threats on American soil. At first, Robert is not convinced and he refuses outright but when his place is vandalized and Robert is almost killed by a Russian assassin, he reluctantly joins hands with Grant (read “The CIA”).
Robert’s first lead on his would-be assassin puts him in the cross-hairs of the infamous Soviet assassin, “The Prizrak”. He is a cold blooded killer and a crack shot. His MO is blowing his victims throats off*shudders*. Robert is thrown off-balance when he realizes that “The Prizrak” could very well be his long dead best friend, Wes Pike. With the help of Grant, Robert assembles his old Forcemates from the “Devil’s Brigade” to find Wes and bring him home.
This story is a complete adventure with sweet longing and angsty emotions peppered throughout in good measure. The old way of doing espionage was refreshing and beautifully done especially in this day when spy novels mean “computer hacks” and a whole range of “gadgets”. The secondary characters add beautifully to the entire story. They were a group of completely different individuals who trusted Robert and each other with their lives. They drop everything when Robert calls on them to look for their former Brigade member, Wes.
It is a triangle love story. Robert and Grant have chemistry and you could feel it even with the lack of explicit sex scenes. People were not that accepting of a homosexual relationship at that time and the author has beautifully dealt with that issue. And then there was the ever present feel of a deep longing when it came to Robert’s feelings for Wes. Wes’s POV punctuates the events happening in the present. As the story progresses it becomes obvious that Robert loves Wes and the flashbacks in Wes’s POV also shows that his feelings for Robert ran deeper than just best friends.
I don’t want to give out more about the actual plot of the story but I have to get this out.
I can’t help but compare this story to the intense bromance between captain America and Bucky Barnes. As was the case with Bucky, Wes is mind washed by the Russians (Bucky’s tormentors were Nazis) to play for their team. Wes becomes a ruthless assassin just like the Winter Soldier and Captain America, in this case Robert Flynn tries his best to protect Wes and bring him back. So, Yeah I totally pictured “Chris Evans” and “Sebastian Stan” as Robert and Wes respectively. Imagine them kissing, WOOH, HOT!!! (Grant is “Robert Downey Jr.*winks*)
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a great start to a new series. I can’t wait for more adventures from “The Castoffs” especially with Wes by Robert’s side. Also I can’t wait to see how the “triangle love” part develops. Grant is not going away anytime soon whereas Wes and Robert are together, so I just can’t help but wonder who will be the new man in Grant’s life or will he keep on loving Robert from the sidelines. Well, I would just have to wait and watch!!!