I’ve loved everything I’ve read by this pair of authors, so I knew I had to check out their newest foray into the romantic thriller genre. Though none of the characters is a Texan former rodeo cowboy, their combined voice shines through the intriguing combination of Derek, NYC detective, and Matthew, a profiler from New Mexico with a painful past.
That painful past drags Matthew back to New York City to track a copycat serial killer, even though it evokes so many memories of how his lover was murdered before he retreated into solitude. At first, Derek needs Matthew’s intelligence and familiarity with the past case because Derek has trouble trusting his own instincts as a detective. Though there is an element of forced proximity to how these men eventually come together, it becomes obvious that Derek really needs all of Matthew fairly quickly.
Though these authors have plenty of experience working together, this book is a departure from their previous projects, so I was okay with a bit of first book bumpiness to this new series. I think a few slower beats could have been implemented to halt the breakneck pace I felt sped me through the book without a moment to breathe, despite the race against time to catch a killer. And while part of me wishes I’d learned more about Matthew, I get the impression that this series will be about solving the puzzle of this character as much as it is about solving other mysteries.
I think this series has a ton of potential, and I look forward to watching these characters develop a real relationship out of the trauma bond established in this story. I have no idea where the metaplot is leading, but I’m more than happy to follow along.
Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.
One thought on “Book Review: Cryptic (Puzzles #1) by Jodi Payne & B.A. Tortuga”