Author: Liv Olteano
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Leader Murders: Case Two
Five dead leaders, their bodies arranged in a pentagram. Treason, lies, and backstabbing. A make-believe affair that turns into a real mating.
Timothy Sands is a PBI counselor, half-fey, half-elf, with a secret crush on Herman Weiss, PBI director. As a new chapter is added to the Leader Murders, it is Weiss’s responsibility to investigate what seems an impossible-to-solve case. The other problem? Weiss is suffering from rages, and his only salvation lies in Tim’s emotional-grid-balancing skills. They only have to pretend to be a couple for Tim to use his talents, and he owes Weiss a big favor. Piece of cake, right?
The fey might be involved in the Leader Murders. Someone on the Council might be their ally, and another prominent PBI figure looks more and more suspicious as they investigate. The stakes are upped when Timothy’s father, the Fey King, threatens to leave the Council destitute if they don’t hand Timothy over to him. Weiss’s brilliant solution? Mating Timothy and forcing the Council into protecting him.
There’s only one small hitch in that plan: instead of protecting one, the Council might decide to get rid of two.
Review: Herman Weiss may be going crazy and may be destined for execution, but Tim Sands is going to save him. Tim doesn’t really have a choice. Herman has made it clear this isn’t up for debate. Tim will be helping. Given that Tim has been mostly in love with Herman for years, he’s okay with that. Tim is more concerned he’ll be posing as Herman’s boyfriend. It’s the only way Tim can legally use his fey powers on Herman. Tim agrees to the ruse to keep Herman alive. It’s also keeping Herman’s son alive and his pack together. A mass murder of leaders complicates things. Tim and Herman have to investigate. The murder was grisly, ritualistic, and contains no usable clues. Tim has to help solve the crime, prevent Herman from going into a rage, and convince everyone they’re in a real relationship. It’s not easy, especially considering Tim really wants to be in that relationship with Herman despite the fact it all appears to be for the sake of convenience and the advancement of Herman’s own agenda. When Tim’s father shows up things only get worse. Tim now needs his relationship with Herman to save his own life. Unfortunately, to save both their lives Tim has to risk not only his life but his heart on a guy who doesn’t trust anyone and has a track record of using people.
I think it’s important to read this book after reading the first in the series, A Tooth for a Fang. Herman’s predicament starts there. You’d also miss a lot of nuance. In both books a character got out of a bad relationship and turned around and stepped right into a new relationship with the exact same set up. Herman’s problems were related to the fact he mated Amanda with the goal of having an heir and securing his place as pack Alpha. Amanda’s wishes weren’t important. Herman then does the exact same thing with Tim. Okay, not the heir part. He’s got an heir, but he’s got to keep himself alive and in control of his pack. Herman is not a nice guy, yet I found myself feeling sorry for him. His mating with Amanda was a disaster partly of his own making, but he was still betrayed and had all the emotional fallout to go with the betrayal. Herman now has to throw caution to the wind and mate again to save his life and by extension the life of his son. Interestingly, we get all this from Tim’s first person perspective.
This book raised an interesting question and didn’t answer it. Amanda had a horrible mating with Herman. It wasn’t all fun and games for Herman, but at the very least he was the one in control of the situation. Rick knew how bad the mating was for Amanda. Rick had realistic and valid fears for Tim entering a mating with Herman. However; Tim and Herman are happy with their situation. How far do you let a friend go into what could be a horrible mistake? How many warnings do you give? How can you trust people to know what’s best for themselves? Tim and Herman appear to be working out wonderfully as a couple.
I’m really enjoying these mysteries. Who is the driving force behind the leader murders and who committed the particular murders in this story? As we learn more we learn new things we don’t know. I liked the concept of no clues as a clue. We know one side was completely clueless they were at war. We know very little of Tim’s father’s motivations. He may be behind the leader murders, he may not be. We just don’t know. We don’t even have confirmation of the possible traitor on the council, we just think we know who that is. Tim’s powers give us a tantalizing hint of possibilities for motivations, but ultimately we’re kind of where we started. There are no official suspects for the murders.
I liked this book more than the previous one. I had very mixed feelings regarding A Tooth for a Fang. I felt this book was executed better, and I liked the layers it added to the overall story as well as the contrast of an alpha stepping into a possibly scary and dangerous relationship just like the previous one, whereas before we had a more submissive partner in the role of learning to trust again.