Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Rating: 4.5 stars
Type: Short Novel
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Mischief, thou art afoot.
Review: Special Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuiness has a witness that won’t stay put. The guy, Henry Page, is squirrelly and a con man. He witnessed a murder while in the midst of a con. Henry is kind of amazed with himself he even reported the murder in the first place. It’s Mac’s job to get Henry to testify against Dean Maxfield. Henry has made it his job to escape and get away to safety. When he almost gets killed after escaping the FBI Henry decides to give them a chance at keeping him safe. It doesn’t take long for it to become apparent there is likely a mole in the local FBI office and both Henry and Mac are in danger. While in hiding it doesn’t take long for Henry and Mac to come to the realization they like each other a whole lot more than they really should.
The Two Gentlemen of Altona is the first in a trilogy. Consequently, there is much left unknown and undone at the end of the book. I’m not sure how I feel about Henry. I think the characterization was wonderful and he was well developed, but I think I don’t like the type of character Henry is. However; as the first in a trilogy with a lack of resolution and incomplete exposition I may not know that much of Henry’s character at all. I find myself a little wary. I don’t want to read yet another character who had an extremely bad childhood but still manages to find the love of a good person. (I’m trying to not spoiler Henry’s life. He does that all on his own.)
I loved the juxtaposition of Henry and Mac. Henry spent all his time being someone other than who he really was. Henry was completely aware of himself and the knowledge he didn’t want to be that person. He changed his physical appearance on a whim to create a new him whenever the need arose. Mac was just Mac. In addition to just being Mac, Mac didn’t really know that much about himself. When asked a personal question Mac had no answer to Henry’s ten possible answers. Mac was even pared down physically. He was fully shaved bald. There was nothing on Mac to alter but his overall body.
Not only were Henry and Mac opposites in many ways, they were also completely in sync in many ways. Both men wanted to be better. Henry wasn’t quite there yet. He wanted to be better so other people would like him. Mac wanted to be a healthier guy who could say more about himself than a list of the bad guys he caught during his career. At this point it seems Mac will accomplish his goals. Henry has a lot of work to do. More interestingly, both guys do the right thing when it comes down to it. Obviously, Mac is an FBI agent. An agent who is doing the right thing. Henry is a con man who calls the cops despite the obvious risks to both his physical safety and his cons. Henry can’t stand to see the people who really need help get abused. Henry doesn’t even realize he’s got a light that can’t be hidden under a bushel.
I really enjoyed the addition of the Shakespeare references and scenes. It was a good combination of the familiar and the erudite. When coupled with the occasional reference to something like a Disney film, it was a good combination of funny and witty fun. Overall, I felt this book was very good despite my reservations about the possible direction of Henry’s character.