A Matter of Blood – Catherine Maiorisi

Rating: 4 out of 5.
In anticipation of part 3 in this series coming out in January I wanted to read this series as it seemed like it would be right in my wheelhouse and I’m really happy to say it is.

When I first started reading I thought I’d started the wrong book, and that I was actually reading the second one, because you’re dropped into a storyline that feels like the middle of something, but once it gets going it all starts to make sense and whether intentional or not really gives you the same discombobulated feeling the main character – Chiara Corelli – would have been feeling at the same point.

Corelli is a Detective for the NYPD, but has also served in the Army. When she came back from her latest tour in Afghanistan training Afghani policemen, she was asked to undertake an undercover operation to route out cops in the NYPD who were ‘on the take’. Her actions and discoveries have left her extremely unpopular with the rest of the force, with her facing the ‘blue wall’, and it is at this point we meet her.

Newly promoted Detective P.J. Parker is asked to be Corelli’s bodyguard. She has her own history with the force, with her father being a senator. She has to decide whether to team up with the most hated person on the force.

This is an interesting murder mystery, with a victim that inspires many emotions. The long list of suspects keeps things interesting and gives a lot of opportunities to learn about both Corelli and Parker. The family dynamics of both MCs and the victim are also really interesting.

I really enjoyed this book. Maiorsisi doesn’t try to pretend law enforcement is perfect and she certainly hasn’t written Corelli as the perfect character that can do no wrong. I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes this kind of thing.

Bulletproof – Maggie Cummings

Rating: 4 out of 5.
I really liked this book, it’s a satisfying four star read that in another release month might have led me to lean more towards a low five star, but compared to a couple of others this month it doesn’t quite reach there. I really loved how Cummings mixes the police operations with the relationship and romance side of things – and my favourite part of reading this was actually how much the relationship between the two MCs shines through.

Dylan is a detective for the NYPD working vice when she stumbles across a conversation in a bar and finds herself transferred to major crimes to make use of the information she’s learned. She has a reputation in her neighbourhood as a butch that’s down for no-strings attached. She meets Briana socially, they clearly have chemistry, and then they discover Briana is the AUSA on Dylan’s new case, putting the brakes on things.

I love it when I come across a book where the two main characters are depicted as not looking for relationships, then fall for each other. Cummings has done this aspect of the narrative really really well – delving deeply into the feelings experienced when someone has a reputation as a player and then finds themselves giving themselves to someone deeply. I really enjoyed the experiences of Dylan in this regard. I liked how their relationship softened Briana and showed her that career and love can happen.

There is the introduction of some secondary characters that are well written, but contribute to the angst, both in the workplace and in their personal lives. I appreciated the inclusion of a trans character – especially as Cummings didn’t pretend that this character would have had it easy in the police force.

Whilst the angst element of the book was done slightly differently within the normal tropes, and I can understand and empathise with Dylan’s feelings, the angst part of the book is the reason I can’t quite make it a five star, as I wanted them to fight for each other sooner.

I’d definitely recommend this one to romance fans and fans of cop based books in wlw fiction. I’m definitely going to be exploring more of Cummings’ work.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Canopy – Liz Faraim

Rating: 4 out of 5.
This one is a hard one to review – I couldn’t put it down, I read it one setting. It’s very well written, especially for a debut author. The subject matter is dealt with sensitively. It’s just over a four star book for me. Yet it’s hard for me to say I enjoyed it. It’s a tough read and perhaps that’s it for me, I appreciated rather than enjoyed, but it didn’t take anything away from the book – I’m fact I’m eagerly awaiting the next instalment.

Viv is ex-army, studying at College and making a living bar tendering. Whilst she’s not completely estranged from her family she is very much a loner – her friendship with another vet Jared being her anchor in a storm. She struggles with PTSD.

She meets Angela, a cop, a vet from the Navy and they begin a complicated relationship, with elements of polyamory.

Viv stumbles on something criminal that brings a lot of issues into her life and shakes things up in ways she’d never have expected.

The topics of abuse from the past, relationship ethics, PTSD, intermittent violence, sex trafficking and some homophobia all mean this isn’t a light read, yet there is something about the way Viv is written that just keeps you reading, wanting to know where this is going to go.

The romance between Viv and Ang isn’t the headline for this book. Viv’s life in general, her friendships and her making her way through life are very much front and centre.

Despite the somewhat darker tone of the book and therefore my review, I’d encourage you to give this a go – just don’t expect an easy light hearted read, or a neatly tied up ending.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Gray Matters – Dolores Arden

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
This is another book due out in October with a number of darker topics. Remy is an Inspector who has been tasked with finding what is likely to be a serial killer, we meet her after the second victim has been found. Giana is a forensic scientist who decides to up and move her life across the country from Philadelphia to San Francisco, where she meets Remy at work.

I like both characters for very different reasons and connected with them both. Remy is well written as an inspector, but also with regards to her interactions and loyalty to family and friends and with regards to how her past impacts her feelings and decisions. I enjoyed Giana as someone discovering herself and her feelings about Remy and I liked reading about her work as a scientist, although it’s brief.

The story has some turmoil, both with family and the underlying murder storyline and the relationship isn’t always easy either. I’m finding it hard to rate because I enjoyed the book – but it isn’t one I’d want to read again – so I’m settling for around 3.5 stars. I would definitely appreciate a sequel though as I feel the situations they encounter mean that there would be lots of opportunity to tell lots more interesting stories about the pair and their friends and family.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sylver and Gold – Michelle Larkin

Rating: 5 out of 5.
This was my first Michelle Larkin book and I wasn’t disappointed. I’d read a number of positive reviews for this book before I started and I have to say I agree with them all wholeheartedly – I loved reading this. I’m not normally one for anything to do with the paranormal in the books I read, but I found this to be a really good way of adding this element to a cop story in order to make it different.

I probably shouldn’t have made the decision to read this in the dark late at night – it is a bit creepy at times, but the thing that pleasantly surprised me was that although the book has lots of murder and other dark moments shared between the main characters, I was always left with a positive light feeling whilst reading.

I loved the interactions between Sylver and Gold, Mug the dog had real personality and I enjoyed the secondary characters. I thought the spirits were well written and meaningful and were used really effectively to continue the story moving forwards. I thought Sylver’s interactions with the spirits might get boring and repetitive but this wasn’t the case.

This one is definitely heading to my read again pile.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.