Author: EM Lynley
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Genre(s): Contemporary, Mystery
Page Count: 250
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.0 stars out of 5
Precious Gems: Book Three
Gay-romance writer Trent Copeland finds his life in a rut while his boyfriend, Special Agent Reed Acton, is away on an undercover mission. After attending a special course at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Trent’s eager for another challenge. He jumps at the opportunity for a trip to Japan to oversee appraisals of two art collections to be sold at the gallery he co-owns. But the trip isn’t all cherry blossoms and Hello Kitty. When one of the collectors he meets—rumored to be the head of a Yakuza gang—turns up dead, Trent is accused of the murder and thrown in jail.
Reed drops everything to help find out who really committed the crime. He’s in unknown territory in Japan, forced to navigate Tokyo’s sex underworld to unravel the truth and save Trent. He poses as a “host” at a seedy late-night club. When Reed’s undercover activities place him at a ruthless Yakuza leader’s sex party, he must be willing to go to any lengths to secure Trent’s safety and freedom. But trusting the wrong people brings both Reed and Trent to the Yakuza leader’s attention. If they’re ever to have a happy ever after, they’ll first have to call on every skill just to stay alive.
Book 3 in the Precious Gems series. Should not be read as a stand alone.
Trent has finished the short course at Quantico and is now feeling restless with Reed’s continued absences due to field work. Leah, Trent’s sister-in-law and co-gallery owner offers Trent an opportunity to travel to Japan to help assess some antiquities. Because Reed is tied up, Trent asks long-time friend Beth, who is fluent in the Japanese language and culture, to go as interpreter.
Reed surprises Trent with an unexpected two week leave, but his timing sucks and they have just a weekend. This time it’s Reed who’s taking Trent to the airport. Reed admonishes Trent to be careful, and as Trent waves good-bye, he says “What could go wrong?”
Da da daaaaaaa….
This was not my favorite in the series. While I loved the setting in Japan and being able to see it through the eyes of someone who lived there, the plot left me somewhat jaded. I found the foreshadowing to be overly obvious, ie “What could go wrong?”. Very likely this was meant to be more humorous than what I found it be. ((le sigh))
The who-done-it also didn’t grab my fancy. I had most of the plot figured out the moment our characters landed in Japan, and it was a matter of just letting the story spool out from there. I seriously thought about putting the book aside or skipping to the end, but I kept going – again, I really enjoyed the background set in Japan. That’s what kept me engaged.
In addition to the setting, what I did like was the balance between Trent and Reed. Trent started applying some of his new-found knowledge from Quantico: he’s keeping a level head and thinking about the ramifications of his actions as he and Beth find themselves in world of trouble. For the most part. Trent is still way out of his element, but that’s where Reed comes in. Reed provided the grounding for the plot, moving the story forward when Trent is otherwise engaged. That balance worked and it worked well.
I also enjoyed the emotional report between Reed and Trent in this one, and I think it was because of Trent’s maturity. When Trent found Reed in a compromising position, he didn’t quite think it was the end of the world, and they handled it like adults. I applauded that connection.
Ultimately, an okay mystery but with some good emotional connection on the romance side.