Playing with Fire (Steph’s Review)

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Title: Playing With Fire
Author: Dirk Greyson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 4, 2016
Genre(s): Mystery/Suspense
Page Count: 199
Reviewed by: Steph
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.38 stars out of 5

Jim Crawford was born wealthy, but he turned his back on it to become a police officer. Add that to his being gay, and he’s definitely the black sheep of the family.

Dr. Barty Halloran grew up with lessons instead of friends and toys and, as a result, became a gifted psychologist… with only an academic understanding of people and emotions.

When Jim’s pursuit of a serial killer goes nowhere, he turns to Dr. Halloran for help, and Barty thinks he can get inside the shooter’s mind. In many ways, they’re two sides of the same coin, which both scares and intrigues him. Together, Jim and Barty make progress on the case—until the stakes shoot higher when the killer turns his attention toward Barty.

To protect Barty, Jim offers to let Barty stay with him, where he discovers the doctor has a heart to go along with his brilliant mind after all. But as they close in on their suspect, the killer becomes desperate, and he’ll do anything to elude capture—even threaten those closest to Jim.

Okay, I have said it before and I will say it again. We have a character (Barty) that is a virgin and we didn’t get to read about his first time bottoming. For goodness’ sakes, Jim was his first kiss! So, I will have to assume that it happens behind the scenes. So sad, because that could have been so hot!

With that out-of-the-way, I did enjoy the story for the most part.

What I liked:

  • The contrast between Jim and Bartys’ lives.
  • The attraction that builds between Jim and Barty. Especially given Barty’s circumstances.
  • How Barty’s character was able to grow emotionally (and safely) with Jim.

What I didn’t like:

  • The flow of the book at the end. Between the second to the last chapter and the Epilogue I became confused about the timeline. Prior tot the Epilogue they had known each other a little over a week; then suddenly it’s Christmastime. Exactly how much time has passed?
  • I fell like something was missing from the book. From the time victim number four was found until the shooting at the party, it just felt too abrupt. As if more dialogue needs to be added to the mystery/suspense part of the story.
  • I felt like the animosity over his choice of job with his family’s wealth is really not needed. Especially since it wasn’t really delved into when he was around his parents at his sisters party.

Unfortunately, I cannot go into further detail, because in doing so I might give away the shooter and/or the intended victims. If I do that, then really there is no need to read this book since the romance aspect is secondary to the story itself and Barty’s personal growth as a character.

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Galley copy of Playing With Fire provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


I love reading books about boys who love other boys <3. Sometimes there is a HEA or HFN, but sometimes it just is. Yes, I love all outcomes even it is not what I hoped for. We all need a good cry from time to time. As you can probably can tell, I love cliffhangers as well. Yeah, I am one of those people :) I read a variety of genres, whether it is dark/taboo, historical, shifters, GFY, SciFi, mysteries/thrillers; I love it all.

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