Author: Lissa Kasey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 3 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Oliver “Ollie” Petroskovic’s life as an international supermodel was heading in the right direction. He worked part-time for his brother at his detective agency—Petroskovic Haven Investigations—and had just bought his dream house. But all that changed when he found his brother dead, a victim of PTSD-induced suicide.
Almost a year later, Ollie is trying to keep his brother’s business afloat, but can’t get his PI license. Then his brother’s best friend, Kade Alme, shows up, fresh from the battlefield after a close brush with death. Kade is looking for a new life, in more ways than one, and with PI license in hand, he’s exactly what Ollie needs to keep PHI running.
When one of Ollie’s childhood friends gets in trouble, Ollie feels he has to help. Kade insists on investigating if only to keep Ollie safe. Neither realizes the danger they’re in as someone tries to tear them apart before they can find solid ground together.
Review: Oliver Petroskovic has problems. His brother’s suicide is at the root of a lot of them. Ollie knows he needs to deal with practical matters and hire a licensed investigator for his business, but he’s refusing to move beyond his brother’s death in any way that’s meaningful. As much as cruising through emotions for a year sounds like a neat trick, it’s not actually helping anything. When Ollie’s friends gang up on him and force him to take on another friend as his licensed investigator Ollie agrees. He needs to do it and maybe someone he knows won’t treat him like crap. Kade Alme is a wounded vet, but he’s got the all important license. Ollie gets a call from the hospital. Yet another childhood friend has him listed as emergency contact and he’s been in an accident. The friend, Donovan, is on a web show, Sex House, and there have been a strange series of accidents. Of course Ollie investigates. The accidents become deadly and occur more frequently. Suddenly, Ollie becomes a target. Kade, who has been in love with Ollie for years, is not happy with Ollie being a target. While falling in love Kade and Ollie have to figure out who is killing the contestants on Sex House without becoming victims themselves.
In the past I’ve always really liked books by Lissa Kasey. This one left me very conflicted. Oliver is a jerk. He’s exactly the same as the judgmental people he so loathes. In short, Oliver was super preachy. And I felt he was also quite the hypocrite. No one is allowed to condemn or dislike Oliver in any way for his choices to look femme, maintain a waifish weight, or cross dress, but Oliver has no problems judging people who are in porn or make a living of any kind off of sex work. One of the main points of this book seems to be sex work is the ruination of your life. The more sex work you do the more tainted you get, and if you lose your virginity via sex work you’re never as good as before you lost it. This is a very damaging myth. Because of opinions like this, I had a lot of trouble relating to Ollie, even if he was doing the right thing by society.
Kade is a really nice guy who has been in love with Oliver for years. There wasn’t much to the romance. Oliver refused to really think about it. I’m going to give that a pass as this was a cliffhanger and the sequel can deal with relationship development beyond lust. I liked the nascent relationship these two guys have. Kade is pretty calm and rational whereas Oliver is not. He’s also competent and trusting in Oliver’s competence. It was good to see given Oliver’s track record with men.
Despite disliking the main character who tells the story in a first person perspective, I did want to keep reading the story. It was a good mix of action and exposition. Yes, I think Oliver is not a very nice person, but he’s had a lot of trauma in his life that have set him upon his path. There have also been small seeds planted that Oliver realizes he’s a work in progress. I’m willing to give the sequel a shot, but if I don’t like it I’m done. I refuse to be a reviewer who keeps going back for more things to complain about.