Two Gentlemen of Altona by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, narrated by Nick J. Russo #AudioBook

Two Gentlemen of Altona by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, narrated by Nick J. Russo #AudioBookTwo Gentlemen of Altona by J.A. Rock, Lisa Henry

Series: #2 Playing the Fool
Genres: M/M Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Riptide on February 11, 2016
Pages: 5 hours 11 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars      three-flames

This was a re-read occasion for me.  I read this series and adored it from start to finish so when the opportunity came to get it on audio and narrated by a favorite narrator, I jumped at the chance.  Slightly quirky, most definitely humorous, but also a good dose of mild suspense and engaging characters made the second experience just as delightful as the first.

The story opens with FBI Agent Ryan ‘Mac’ McGuinness arriving at a homicide scene with the suspect being the racketeer he has been investigating and hoping to collar for months.  There is a witness and this makes Mac a happy man- well as happy as a man forced on a diet by his doctor can be.  Only, the evening goes south when he discovers that his witness has slipped away and that attractive ‘detective’ he met outside was actually the con artist who was sponging off the murderer’s old lady aunt.  Now he’s the laughingstock of the office and he’s had to let the smug racketeer go free for lack of evidence.

Henry Page has no idea what possessed him to make that 911 call and stick his neck on the line when he witnessed that mob killing.  He’s good at tricking old ladies out of their money and other con jobs, but dabbling in the deep end of the criminal pool is not his thing.  And if that stern FBI agent ever catches up with him, he’ll have real trouble.

And it is not long before Mac does catch up with Henry.  Henry’s manipulating ways and lies drive Mac near to breaking, but he will keep star witness Henry safe and close out his case no matter how many times Henry slips his grasp.  Soon Henry realizes that stuffs gotten real and Mac is his best opportunity at staying alive not that he doesn’t hesitate to push the way to serious man’s buttons.  Or that, oddly, for the first time in his life, he wants to be thought well of and as good by Mac.  Too bad someone from inside Mac’s office and someone with a lot of deadly resources want them both dead.

The story is light, witty, and quirky.  I appreciated that the authors chose to make Mac an everyday, ordinary joe.  Mac is over-serious, struggles with social situations, balding, and has a slight paunch.  But he is also tenacious and not easily fooled by the illusions that Henry creates to keep people from seeing the real person behind all the smoke and mirrors.  They are an odd pairing- crook and cop, but they really work.

Most of the story isn’t strong on the suspense element even though that is the catalyst that brought Mac and Henry together and keeps bringing them back together.  There are some cool twists and reveals for all that.

The romance is still in the attraction stage by the end of this book.  Henry is messed up and Mac struggles with the fact that Henry is a witness and a con man so they feel drawn to each other, but don’t have any big romance moments.  I like where it is headed and I’m glad this part of the story is taking it’s time.  The chemistry is good particularly when they banter.

“As a federal agent, I want you to know I’m disgusted by your lack of respect for the law.”
“But you’re impressed too,” Henry said without turning around. “You’re disguspressed.”

Mac and Henry from Two Men of Altona

As I said this was a reunion for me with the story, but it felt like a first time in ways because of the audio.  This was my third encounter with narrator, Nick J Russo.  I thought he was fantastic for the other two books and this one was no exception.  His split narrative from Mac and Henry’s POVs was stellar.  I already liked these characters and had a notion of their voices, but getting Russo’s narration was different, but not jarring.  I easily slid into his storytelling.  He had good inflection and timing with the humorous tone of the book.  Definitely hope he narrates the whole trilogy.

All in all, I found this an abso-fab listening experience that I can heartily recommend to those who appreciate quirky and light m/m romantic suspense.

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

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #73 LGBT
Literary Pickers #71 dead bolt
Audio #8
Bad Boy #10

About Lisa Henry

Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

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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.

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  • You always seem to find great M/M romances. Is it that I’m just not looking in the right direction?

    • Why thank you, Lekeisha! Appreciate the compliment. I’ve been reading m/m for years and it took a while to nail down what I liked. I’m happy to recommend if you tell me your preferences. I like a variety of genres and heat levels, character vs. action so I can share a few.

  • Donut! Sorry that cover just caught my attention with hat donut on it. And how fun it’s actually a re-read review while we were just talking about that on my blog. It sounds like a fun series and I like a good opposites attract romance, the combination of a cop and crook sounds very interesting and it makes me wonder how they make it work. As I am still pretty new to the romantic suspense genre I like the sound of the light suspense element. Great review!

    • Yes! I did chuckle knowing that this review was posting about the time I saw your post. Riptide is releasing many of their books in audio format and have been offering them to me for review. Many are books I read and loved so it was fun to take the opportunity to snag the audio for ‘re-reads’.
      This is a fun series. Henry is outlandish and Mac so prosaic that they are fun when they start their bickering and antics. There are exciting moments and character development, but it still stays on the lighter side. The donut is significant to the story- Henry tortures Mac by eating donuts in front of him and he can’t have them because of his health.

  • Oh fun to re- “read” it on audio. I’ve never done one in multiple formats. I remember you talking about this one a while back. That’s awesome it was just as good an experience for ya on the second go around 🙂

    • Yes, the re-reads in an audio format have been fun. I didn’t realize how an audio can sometimes bring out a nuance in the story that I didn’t catch by reading it myself. Although, I do think the choice of books for ‘re-read’ make a difference, too. I’m not interested in getting some stories again even if they were good the first time around.

      Yeah, this one was one I think I read maybe a year or so ago as a TBR Pile vote b/c I remember everyone voting for the donut. LOL