- Read my review of the first book in the Murder Sprees & Mute Decrees series: The Trouble With Trying to Date a Murderer
Before this book, I’d read the first installments in three separate series by Jodi Payne. I loved them all so much, that I literally couldn’t have picked what I wanted her to publish next. Luckily, she took that decision out of my hands, and I got to spend another book enjoying Romily Butcher’s delightful narrative of how meeting a Reaper (and his soulmate) has changed his life forever.
For about the first half of the book, I wasn’t sure where the plot was headed. I knew there was one because the book opens with one of Rom’s chosen family members in a spot of trouble. Little did I know what direction the story would turn. However, I didn’t much care, because I love hanging out with these characters so much. Once the major problem that Rom and Fox must solve comes to light, I was even more invested. Cody introduced us to so many characters in the previous book, that Rom (and readers) only really got a basic overview of this urban fantasy world. Now that we’re familiar with all the major players, Cody develops a conflict much closer to home for our heroes, which does an excellent job of showing us more worldbuilding without ever verging into “info dump” territory.
On the other hand, I imagine that an info dump from Romily would come with so much snarky commentary that it would be entertaining in and of itself. In another excellent feat of writing, Cody manages to keep Rom’s narrative voice right on the edge of hilarity (even when he’s surrounded by pretty dark events) instead of letting it get so outrageous as to be unreadable. His level of sass brings enough of a comedic bent to this book that the actual dark moments are starker and more impactful when they occur. I know I’m being particularly vague in this review about the story itself, but to give away too much would verge sharply into spoiler territory. What I can note is the relevance of my “closer to home” comment above.
Rom and Fox might be the primary romantic pairing in this series, but the series itself feels more about their entire chosen family. After Rom’s first spontaneous adoption, Bellamy is as much a primary character as they are, to the point that I got “M/M/M” vibes from them as a whole. This is not a poly series (at least at this point); Bellamy’s connection to the other men just happens to have that close fondness and affection and close to zero boundaries while being completely platonic.
The events of this story, and particularly the final scene, set up a ton of potential conflict in future installments. I’m thrilled to know that Cody already has at least two more books (and a few side novellas) planned for my favorite Harbinger and Reaper pairing.
Disclaimer: I received an advance ebook copy of this book from the author.
Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.