TITLE: Coldhearted Concept
SERIES: Concept Series
AUTHOR: Whitley Gray
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publications
COVER ARTIST: Mina Carter
LENGTH: 436 Pages
RELEASE DATE: December 29, 2015
BLURB: Detective Beck Stryker has a lot to juggle: his long-distance relationship with FBI profiler Zach Littman, the family issues of cop widow Marybeth Halliday and her two boys, and the ups and downs of being out and proud. To top it off, Beck must work with his closeted ex-lover Van on the case of a skeleton discovered in the woods.
FBI profiler Dr. Zach Littman has been working on an exit strategy for months. Every time he’s on the brink of resigning, Minneapolis Unit Director Sands comes up with “one more case,” one that only Zach can manage. It’s a situation that frustrates Beck. Zach has promised he’ll leave the FBI and profiling behind—as soon as his Colorado medical license comes through. It may be easier said than done. Zach has reservations about uprooting his life and moving to Denver.
A killer leaves a grisly invitation insisting Zach participate in a deadly game, the rules of which are known only to the psychopath. It’s clear taking out Zach is on the killer’s to-do list, and he won’t stop until it’s done. Beck and Zach must capture the killer before the psychopath finds Zach and declares Game Over.
The girl lay on a centrally positioned steel table, face white as a shroud. She looked nothing like the young woman who had sat on the porch that day. Elmo and the autopsy tech stood next to her. The assistant was male, slightly built, with inky hair pulled back in a ponytail. His dark gaze met Beck’s and darted away.
A mask hid the lower half of Elmo’s face. “Evening, Detective.”
Beck stopped a yard away. It was still close enough for him to see the dead stare of dull gray-blue eyes, the gaping chest wound where the sternum should be, and the multiple stab wounds—some running vertical, some horizontal, some diagonal.
Murder seemed more heinous in this antiseptic atmosphere, the dead laid bare to reveal their secrets. Get it over with and get out of here. “What did you find?”
“The heart is missing. It’s not just chopped out. It’s excised, like the killer had some sort of medical knowledge. It’s a precision job.”
Jesus. Was the Follower a physician?
The diener glanced at Quick, then at Beck.
Should they be talking in front of the tech? The more people who knew, the more likely the case would spring informational leaks.
As if reading Beck’s mind, Quick said, “Please get the inventory forms, Mr. Fox.”
The tech turned and exited.
“And the second finding?” Beck wasn’t sure he wanted to hear this.
Elmo frowned. “It’s more disturbing.”
Beck’s gut clenched. More messages to Zach?
Elmo gestured with a gloved hand. “I did the autopsies on three of Xavier Darling’s victims.”
This couldn’t lead anywhere good.
Elmo’s expression softened. “I know you didn’t work those cases. But you should know—the technique used to remove the heart is similar.”
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***
While this book is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone, but after reading it like that, I have to say I think you'll connect better with the characters if you read them in order.
Beck and Zach have been trying to have a long-distance relationship for a few months, but so far, it's not going great. In the last month, Zach has cancelled his plans to visit Beck in Denver several times and that is taking a toll on both of them. Zach has decided to give up his work as an FBI profiler, but his boss keeps asking for one last favor until he finds just the one that will keep him at his job for a little while longer. That the job is in Denver, is just a bonus. However, things are not perfect between Beck and Zach, with the added pressure of trying to catch the Follower before he catches them.
This was such an engaging, thrilling read! I was completely engrossed in the action, in the suspense as Beck and Zach worked side by side to catch a killer before he murdered again and navigating through their relationship while trying to reach some kind of compromise. Never mind that there were so many things happening at the same time, not just the killer angle. Yes, the book is long, but it's so good, I didn't want to put it down until I finished!
Rating: 5 Stars!!!
Once upon a misspent youth, Whitley read and wrote stories under the covers at night. A decade ago, Whitley became enamored of romance and gave writing a whirl. Inventing characters turned out to be addictive, and along the way, Whitley discovered that two heroes is twice as nice. A storyline featuring a couple of guys makes for a perfect day. Stop by www.whitleygray.com and feed your fix for heat between the sheets with erotica and M/M romance.
1st Winner’s Prize: E-copy of Cold-Hearted Concept (Book 2)
2nd Winner’s Prize: E-copy of High Concept (Book 1)
December 29: Love Bytes Reviews
January 5: Diverse Reader
January 12: Joyfully Jay
January 19: The Novel Approach