Review: Friendly Fire by Cari Z.

Review: Friendly Fire by Cari Z.
Friendly Fire
Narrated by Nick J. Russo

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Genres: M/M Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Riptide
Released on August 10, 2017
Pages: 8 hours 5 min
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

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Elliot McKenzie is the king of reinvention. Five years after losing his job and his lover and almost going to prison, his self-help program, Charmed Life, is more successful than he’d ever dreamed. He thinks he’s put his sordid past firmly behind him, until he starts receiving cryptic threats . . . and realizes it might not be as over as he’d hoped.

Security expert Lennox West has been lost since a deadly skirmish in Afghanistan led to his forced retirement from the Army. His PTSD makes helping his ex raise their daughter a challenge. When his ex’s sister asks him to set her boss up with a security system, Lennox isn’t expecting anyone like Elliot McKenzie—a man who captures his attention and makes him feel relaxed for the first time since leaving the service.

But Elliott is dangerously stubborn. Even as the threats against him escalate, he refuses to involve the police, and Lennox fears that stubbornness could kill him. A battle of wills ensues that brings them closer to each other than either man expected. But if the threats turn real, they might not live long enough to get their future together.

The Delight

A charismatic motivational business CEO is getting dangerously stalked and a military vet with a heavy dose of guilt and PTSD are the heroes in an exciting new standalone from a favorite author and read by a favorite narrator.  Of course, I needed this one.


Friendly Fire introduced a great cast of characters and a good blend of character growth, suspense, and romance with family a strong element running through.  The pair of guys are dissimilar, but exactly what the other one needs.  Their vulnerabilities gave them more appeal, but I also enjoyed watching the trust build between them and the togetherness.

Lennox is a divorced man with a teen daughter and that plays a significant role in the story just as Elliott’s past choices as an aggressive corporate lawyer causes him to be on the outs with his family.  They are older guys who are somewhat road weary and need to find acceptance and home.  Elliott is a captivating person who uses his charm to hold folks at a distance and he is genuinely interested in making things better.  Lennox is gruff and he just wants to be left alone while he tries to cope.  Once they get past a few initial hiccups things are steady going forward.

The story is gently-paced with a few action moments.  I had part of the suspense element figured out, but not in its entirety.  There was still one big surprise for me to discover.

Nick J Russo was fabulous in the narrator’s role bringing to life all the characters, the humorous, the passion, the heartwarming, and the introspective moments.  I felt he caught the essence of the story just right.

All in all, I was well-engaged and cheering on the romance and the solution to the danger situation.  This was an easy-listen/read that I can recommend to m/m romantic suspense fans.

My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to the book in exchange for an honest review.


Romance Roundabout #173 LGBT
New Release #117
Audio #49


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.


  1. I have not tried Russo’s narrations. Admittedly I have only read one M/M book is was a novel, in a straight contemporary series, but I enjoyed it. I like the added suspense. Was the PTSD handled well?

    1. I think this light suspense romance is a good match for Russo’s talents, but he does well with deep emotions, too. Yes, I thought the PTSD was handled well. He’s in therapy and those sessions are part of the story showing his progress just as his night terrors are what cause him not to let his daughter stay overnight with him. This story hits when he is far along the coping, but the growth is still there.

      Hope you get the chance, Kimberly. 🙂

  2. Haven’t read M/M romance but it sounds like a good read. I like the secret from the past angle with Elliot’s character – sounds interesting.

  3. I’m not a big m/m reader, I usually can’t really connect to the romances so I’m a little behind everytime. Maybe I haven’t tried the right books

    1. I find they are like any other romance. There are tropes and elements I like or don’t like. So it is a good idea to hunt out the ones in romance genres you like and pay attention to blurbs. For me, I started with historicals and romantic suspenses because those likely to have more ‘rugged’ m/m characters though eventually I learned to enjoy the gentler ones, too. But, it might not end up being your thing and that’s alright. 🙂