In the Blood (Maya’s Review)

Title: In the Blood (Metahuman Files #4)
Author: Hailey Turner
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: December 18, 2017
Genre(s): Science Fiction Romance
Page Count: 373 pages
Reviewed by: Maya
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Running out of time.

Captain Jamie Callahan is frustrated with his team constantly being at the mercy of the enemy in order to further the MDF’s goals. To make matters worse, his father’s political campaign is ramping up and Jamie’s every move is being watched by the media. He is acutely aware of all the eyes trained on him, his team, and Staff Sergeant Kyle Brannigan in particular. Meanwhile, Kyle would give anything to stay in the shadows, but he refuses to leave Jamie’s side, no matter the scrutiny. Staying out of the spotlight becomes impossible when their families are threatened and vital choices about their future together can no longer be ignored.

Desperate measures.

Staff Sergeant Alexei Dvorkin and Agent Sean Delaney are enjoying their time together as a couple when Sean’s past catches up with him. As Alpha Team’s long-running mission gets derailed in the worst way possible, Alexei discovers the enemy is playing for keeps, and neither he nor Sean are in any position to beat the odds and win the game. As for Sean, he’s worried that even if they make it out alive, Alexei may never forgive him for giving into the enemy’s demands.

Stand your ground.

Manipulation is the name of the game, but Jamie is done playing by everybody else’s rules. So is the rest of Alpha Team, because if there’s one thing Jamie’s team knows? It’s that they’re a family—and you don’t mess with family unless you want to get hurt.

In the Blood is a 107k word steamy gay sci-fi military romance with a HFN ending that skirts HEA. There is military violence and on-page torture within the story that may not be suitable for everyone, so please read with caution. There are also explicit intimate scenes that are not suitable for readers under the age of 18. This is a direct sequel to In the Shadows and reading the previous books in the series would be helpful in enjoying this one.

Turner returned to her erstwhile pair of heroes in this book. I haven’t read earlier part of their saga, so this was an interesting experience.

One thing stayed the same: there is no warming up period as characters are once again plunged into action from the first page. Kayle’s and Jamie’s team is on the mission to destroy chemical weapons factory.

The last book had simply astounding action sequences. This one is equally good in that regard. There are thousands of details which made danger and excitement almost palpable and events practically jumped from the page. While the background is somewhat grim (illegal weapons, enemies abound) the team interactions are lively and provide spark of humor.

The plots seamlessly blend into the bigger one as old enemies and new pursue their agenda and Kyle and Jamie try for for at least a piece of normal life. The sex is unbelievably hot with added bonus of snarky dialogue.

Jamie finds himself between rock and hard place and is forced to change his plans on the fly. At this point, I was about to glue my kindle to my arm if someone had tried to take it from me. I wanted to know what was going to happen! The storytelling is smooth and myriad threads fall seamlessly into place.

Alexei and Sean also get some screen time. They are now in established relationship and it shows. It was lovely seeing them again, but for me it broke the narrative.

Luckily, the second part of the book more than makes up for occasional niggle: the plot resolves in hail of fire and bullets. Jamie reassessed his priorities, his character changing and growing. He is wrestling with habits acquired over lifetime and deciding what he was until now isn’t good enough. He needs to be better. His dilemma adds depth to the book. It’s not just action flick, those are real people making the decisions.

This is a worthy addition to an already established series, but I didn’t like it quite as much as In the Shadows. I’m not saying Shadows are better, because both books are very good, but In the Blood depends more on its sequel.

Caution: The book contains very graphic scenes of torture. There is no glossing over, fade to black or implying violence. It’s all there. I was sorely tempted to skip the part, but the setup is such that I’m not recommending it. The scene is horrifying, but important on several levels, not just for this book, but for the next one. It’s necessary context for actions of several characters.

Metahuman Files Series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of In the Blood provided by the Author in exchange of an honest review.