The Merchant of Death by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock #Review

Posted April 27, 2015 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 12 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Merchant of Death by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock #Review
The Merchant of Death

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: #2 Playing the Fool
Genres: M/M Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Riptide
Released on Janurary 31, 2015
Pages: 198
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Following right behind the first book, this one continues the story of Henry and Mac. It also continues the strong plot, engaging characters and witty dialogue. There was humor, tension, bitter-sweet romance and the intriguing suspense that ends this one abruptly setting things up for book three.

At the start, Mac is recovering from his gunshot wound and in poor spirits thinking Henry ran from him again leaving him without his star witness in the murder case and as the butt of jokes at the bureau for losing his witness yet again. However, he soon has more serious matters to worry about when he learns that he’s being investigated by the FBI’s internal affairs people and it looks very much like he’s being set up for something big. Then he gets the call from Henry to come help investigate the nursing home where Viola has been living because something bad is going on. Here they go again, Henry has gotten them into trouble involving sneaking around, costumes, acting and a volatile situation that can only end badly.

Henry gets Vi’s call that she left the nursing home and he rushes to her. She insists that something is wrong and that her friend was killed. Henry gets Vi to safety amongst his con artist friends and goes in disguise as his twin sister to investigate. He gets in deeply fast and calls Mac for help. He half expects Mac to refuse and be like all the others especially since Henry keeps cutting out on Mac, but Mac comes even if he doubts things are fishy and thinks Henry is playing a game. Mac is so good and he is caring and that scares Henry because he doesn’t want to want Mac or learn to get close to him.

Between Henry’s shenanigans, the internal investigation, a new murder case and all of it tying back to Henry, Mac and Henry are once again in it up to their necks and Henry decides that only a little Shakespeare will do.

Many times a second book in a series can slump or act as merely a set up for the next book, but this one exceeded all that. This was a strong plot. The mystery that continues even though for most of the book the reader is aware there is a tie in that Mac and Henry do not until near the end. I loved the twists and the tension build up. I can’t wait to see who is out there in the shadows manipulating things like they did in this book.

The romance is also a continuation from before with the peculiar relationship between these two men. Trust is a tough commodity though the attraction is the easy part. They see their relationship as a fish and fowl sort of thing not knowing how they can occupy the same worlds since one is a FBI agent and the other a criminal. Henry continues to be enigmatic even to himself as he experiments with gender, dual personality, and most of all trying to figure out who he really is. Mac both wants Henry and doesn’t want all the criminal baggage that comes with him. Henry has lied to him so often and run from him that he isn’t sure what is real though he believes some.

I loved the insertion of Henry’s twin Viola into the story and even getting her perspective. She gives an outside glimpse into understanding Henry and his sense of guilt toward her that she doesn’t believe he owes her. The authors did a good job of portraying a person with traumatic brain injury and how they think and respond to their world.

The ending was abrupt and left things hanging, but not so drastically that I wanted to rip out hair. It mostly left me impatient for book three to see where things go next for Mac and Cheese as Henry has dubbed their crime-fighting duo.

I would recommend this series for those who enjoy M/M Romantic Suspense with strong, difficult characters, a tough romantic situation and a twisty suspense.

My thanks to Riptide Publishing and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this one in exchange for an honest review.


Romance Roundabout #122 LGBT

Cliché Klatch #52 ‘Taken some ribbing’

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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Lanies Book Thoughts
7 years ago

Ick! Needles creep me out,lol. Nice review Sophia:)

Sophia Rose
7 years ago

Yeah, me too, and that needle plays a huge role in the murder investigation.

Lanies Book Thoughts
7 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

I guess it makes sense then to put it on the cover.

Mary Kirkland
7 years ago

That’s an interesting cover. Needles don’t make me nervous but I’m glad I read in one of your other comments that the needle plays a huge role in this book otherwise I would have wondered about the why’s of adding it to the cover. Really liked the review. Traumatic brain injury isn’t something I’ve read in a book before.

Sophia Rose
7 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

I know what you mean. The covers are very symbolic. Remember the donut one?

I’ve read one other book with a hero having Traumatic Brain Injury and it was a beautiful story. These folk just impress me to death the way they go about making a new life for themselves after what they had before.

7 years ago

If I was Mac, I don’t know if I could trust Henry myself. Why keep pushing him away if you are going to keep calling him for help? It sounds like a lot is going on in the second book, but thank goodness you were able to enjoy it 🙂

Sophia Rose
7 years ago
Reply to  Sharonda

Yeah, I knew this was going to be a trilogy so maybe that helped me have patience with Henry. He’s pretty damaged from his past, but I don’t think I could stand it if I was involved.

7 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

me either Sophia 🙂

Lover Of Romance
7 years ago

I love those bitter sweet romances. And M/M romantic suspense are always the best ones. Not sure how I would be with the ending though. You know me and HEA endings.

Sophia Rose
7 years ago

Yeah, I love my romantic endings too especially if the pair had a hard time getting that far. I hope the last book gives that. Crossing my fingers!

7 years ago

The twisty suspense and mystery have me wanting to try this even if it is outside mt genre. Mac and Henry both sound complex, and wonderful

Sophia Rose
7 years ago

They are a different pair for sure. I still have the last in the trilogy to read, but I’m pretty sure I’ll love it as much as the first two and more will be revealed about the mystery and the romance.