Playing with Fire (Ariel’s Review)

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Title: Playing with Fire
Author: Dirk Greyson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 4, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 199
Reviewed by: Ariel
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Blurb:

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.


Can a reserved genius discover what love is by working with a small-town detective?

Jim Crawford left the small town he grew up in for the big city of Philadelphia. After years working on the police force and ascending to Detective, he got tired of the crime of a big city and moved back to his hometown. Crime followed him, however, in the form of a shooter. As the lead detective on this case, he worked long hours to find the culprit, but kept coming up empty. It was hard to admit, but he needed help. So, he contacts the University’s Crime Psychologist to help out.

Dr. Barty Halloran was discovered, early on, as being a genius. His parents nurtured his learning, but in school he coudn’t understand people and relationships. This caused him to get teased and ridiculed.

This shrinking violet graduated early and, in college, decided to pursue a psychology degree. Later, he got his doctorate and became a professor in the local University.

Barty, now one of the best criminal psychologist, is approached by Detective Jim to help out in his case. Barty proves very helpful.

Over the course of the investigation, Barty and Jim grow very close and rely on each other more and more. When things become too dangerous for Barty, Jim has him stay at his house. This is where things start to get very interesting and they grow even closer.

The investigation has a lot of twists and turns which leads to a dramatic ending and a wonderful HEA for Jim and Barty.

The foundation of the story is the crime, the mystery, the shooter. Who is the shooter and why is he randomly shooting people? The overlay is the relationship of Jim and Barty. The mystery, the Who-done-it, is brilliantly written. It really had me going till the end. I could not figure it out.

The relationship of Jim and Barty was perfect. Their chemistry really balanced each other. Barty with his frankness and saying what he means without regard, perfectly balances Jim’s worldliness and cautiousness. Jim is also very smart, and that helps Jim in understanding Barty, which Barty receives like a breath of fresh air. Witnessing their journey towards each other was also very sweet and beautiful.

The beginning of the book, gives some background and a peek into the life of the main characters. The rest of the book focuses on the investigation and their growing relationship. I feel that the pace of the investigation, which is the foundation of the story, was perfect. It wasn’t rushed and it wasn’t slow. It was just right.

The last few chapters was dramatic and surprising and shocking. I never saw it coming. The epilogue is a beautiful look into the lives of Jim and Barty. I love that epilogue. I wish it would have been longer.

I Highly recommend this book. If you love a true mystery that is hard to figure out and if you love a professor bookworm type paired with a hard-nosed with-a-heart Detective then you will love this book. Go out and get a copy.

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Advanced Review Copy

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

Plot
Chemistry
Pacing
Ending
Editing
OVERALL
If you love a true mystery that is hard to figure out and if you love a professor bookworm type paired with a hard-nosed with-a-heart Detective then you will love this book. The mystery, the Who-done-it, is brilliantly written. It really had me going till the end. I could not figure it out. The relationship of Jim and Barty was perfect. Their chemistry really balanced each other. Witnessing their journey towards each other was also very sweet and beautiful. The last few chapters were dramatic and surprising and shocking. I never saw it coming. The epilogue is a beautiful look into the lives of Jim and Barty. I love that epilogue. I wish it would have been longer.

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