Sunday, February 27, 2011

M/M Month Review: Inland Empire by James Buchanan

Inland Empire (Taking the Odds, Book 2)
~James Buchanan

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 343 KB
Print Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publish Date: June 10, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60820-016-0 (print)

From the author's website:
Agent Nick O'Malley and Det. Brandon Carr are back. Nick heads to Riverside, California, center of the Inland Empire and Brandon's home turf. But every minute Nick's in Riverside threatens to out Brandon. When events embroil Nick in one of Brandon's investigations -- gang hits, prostitution, illegal gambling and human trafficking - can they survive both?
I read the first book in this series, Cheating Chance (my review here), at Chris' recommendation several months ago, and immediately fell in love with Nicky and Brandon. I will say this - whenever other bloggers talk about "rope", Nick and Brandon's names always pop up. I think there was one rope scene in Cheating Chance? However, after reading Inland Empire, I understand: Wow, that boy can do some spectacular stuff with his hands!

The book begins with the murder of a teenage gamer. Brandon's police district has been trying to crack the case with no luck. Nick has come from Nevada to visit Brandon in Riverside and to pick up his car (hearse) from impound since his case (from Cheating Chance) is done and the car can be released from evidence. Brandon's a little (a lot) nervous about introducing Nick because Nick is out and Brandon is as far back into the closet as he can go. One thing leads to another and Nick ends up helping Riverside PD with the case.

My thoughts: I already loved Brandon and Nicky, and Inland Empire gave me a new view of the couple. This time they're on Brandon's turf and things are a bit trickier as Brandon can't be as open as he was when they were in Nevada. Only Brandon's partner knows he's gay.

Inland Empire started off with a bang (literally) and then moved quickly to Nicky and Brandon's relationship. At the point where I started to wonder if there would be any plot to the story, it jumped back into it and really took off.

I really connected Brandon in this book. He was so paranoid about being outed, I felt bad for him. It caused a lot of problems, both personally and professionally.

“Why do you always push, Nicky?” Exasperated, Brandon sighed. "Why can't you just leave it where it's good?"

Cutting the cop's chin in his hand, Nicky looked deep into Brandon's eyes. "Because I think we deserve wonderful."
- pg 83

I don't know if it's just me, but I felt like Nicky was more in charge in this book than he was in Cheating Chance; more dominant, if you will; and not just in the bedroom. He had a great attitude and was accepting of Brandon's fears while refusing to change his own personality.

The characters on the sideline were many and moved the story along well. Roberta the tranny prostitute was great. The landlady was awful. I liked most of Brandon's co-workers, especially his partner, Jeff. We also got to meet Brandon's ex-boyfriend Ray, who ended up helping with the case.

The end of the book was amazing - it's not a cliffhanger per se, but I'm dying to find out what happens to these two next in All or Nothing, book 3 of the series.

My Rating:


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