Rack & Ruin (THIRDS #3)

     Author: Charlie Cochet

     Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

     Rating: 4.5 stars

     Buy Links: DSP and Amazon

     Type: Novel from Series

     Received from Publisher

 

Blurb:  New York City’s streets are more dangerous than ever with the leaderless Order of Adrasteia and the Ikelos Coalition, a newly emerged Therian group, at war. Innocent civilians are caught in the crossfire and although the THIRDS round up more and more members of the Order in the hopes of keeping the volatile group from reorganizing, the members of the Coalition continue to escape and wreak havoc in the name of vigilante justice.

Worse yet, someone inside the THIRDS has been feeding the Coalition information. It’s up to Destructive Delta to draw out the mole and put an end to the war before anyone else gets hurt. But to get the job done, the team will have to work through the aftereffects of the Therian Youth Center bombing. A skirmish with Coalition members leads Agent Dexter J. Daley to a shocking discovery and suddenly it becomes clear that the random violence isn’t so random. There’s more going on than Dex and Sloane originally believed, and their fiery partnership is put to the test. As the case takes an explosive turn, Dex and Sloane are in danger of losing more than their relationship.

Warning:  This review contains possible spoilers.

 

Review: Agents Dex Daley and Sloane Broody Brodie are working hard to find the mole in THIRDS that is supporting a Therian vigilante organization, the Ikelos Coalition. The hardest part about stopping the coalition is they always know when the THIRDS are going to show up, what with their insider information and all. Against this backdrop of paranoia at work, Dex and Sloane find themselves inexorably moving closer and closer together. For Sloane, it’s perfect timing. He’s got someone on hand to help him as he slowly starts to navigate the murky waters of his youth. As a first generation Therian, it wasn’t a positive experience. Dex is always there to make Sloane feel better. Dex even manages to coax some purring from a human Sloane, but you didn’t hear that from me.

As I said, there is a mole at THIRDS HQ. While out attempting to catch some of the coalition guys Dex manages to get his hands on one of them. It’s Ash. Yeah. Ash. Everyone’s favorite unlovable lion and the love of Dex’s little brother’s life. Dex is stunned. He has to do the right thing and tell Sloane. They agree to violate all their ethical beliefs in the hope they can find new information that proves them wrong. Somehow, Dex has to manage to keep Cael away from Ash. The last thing he wants to do is tell his brother the man he loves is a traitor. Finding the mole, keeping civilians safe and alive, dismantling the remains of the Order of Adrasteia, and keeping his friends and family from heartbreak is a little too much for Dex to manage on his own. To compound the confusion Ash proves to both Dex and Sloane he can be a really great guy. Then stuff happens, and the book ends, and I kind of hate Charlie Cochet just a little bit right now.

So, my prediction of the bad guy was totally wrong. My predictions are always wrong. I need to make a list for comedic value. But it doesn’t matter! This book was fun. Dex is always fun to read. Dex is a fun character to witness. The way he’s tempered with Sloane’s reticence works out to a wonderful harmony. In this installment we learn why Dex is so determinedly upbeat and why he so desperately clings to his childhood passions. Dex is so much more than a man who is wholly carefree. Dex chooses to not let his cares weigh him down. Dex has perfected faking it until he makes it, and Dex can finally see his version of making it in the distance. What’s wonderful, is finally, in the third book, Sloane can see it too, and he’s almost admitted it to himself. It’s becoming obvious and undeniable to people around them. Then the book ended, and I kind of hate Charlie Cochet just a little bit right now.

For me, Ash was the sneaky, scene stealer. He’s a giant, prickly ball of heartache. I just want to give the guy hugs and feed him soup. I also think he made the right decision about Cael. Not that I enjoyed reading that, but he was right. This book really took Ash from an almost comic foil for Dex, and turned him into a nuanced character with multiple layers of personality. We finally understand what Cael has always seen, we understand why Sloane has called Ash his best friend his whole life. More importantly, Dex can finally see Ash, and what he sees is someone who has given of himself until it hurts and doesn’t know how to stop.

And now, some important things from the book as it relates to the series. You know, that plot stuff. It appears the Order of Adrasteia is disbanded and dismantled. The Ikelos Coalition may yet have another mole in THIRDS, one who isn’t Ash or the other guy. Consequently, it’s possible my prediction could be right, but I doubt it. We still don’t know who was using the old First Gen research facility or how the Order of Adrasteia managed to get in there and get access to experimental drugs. It appears the Coalition is the THIRDS biggest goal, but it’s also possible for anything to come out of the blue and mess things up. For now, this installment has ended. To say I’m eagerly awaiting Rise & Fall would be an understatement. I shall commence with the process of wishing my life away so as to hurry up and get to the next release.

 

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