Friday, November 4, 2016

Release Day Review ~ Playing With Fire by Dirk Greyson

Release Day Review ~ Playing With Fire by Dirk Greyson 

Title: Playing With Fire
Author: Dirk Greyson
Release Date: November 4, 2016
Category: Mystery/Suspense
Pages: 200

Jim Crawford was born wealthy, but he turned his back on it to become a police officer. Add to that his being gay, and he’s definitely the black sheep of the family.
Dr. Barty Halloran grew up with lessons instead of friends and toys, and as a result, became a gifted psychologist… with only an academic understanding of people and emotions.
When Jim’s pursuit of a serial killer goes nowhere, he turns to Dr. Halloran for help, and Barty thinks he can get inside the shooter’s mind. In many ways, they’re two sides of the same coin, which both scares and intrigues him. Together, Jim and Barty make progress on the case—until the stakes shoot higher when the killer turns his attention toward Barty.
To protect Barty, Jim offers to let Barty stay with him, where he discovers the doctor has a heart to go along with his brilliant mind after all. But as they close in on their suspect, the killer becomes desperate, and he’ll do anything to elude capture—even threaten those closest to Jim.

I'm sure most people know this by now but I am a sucker for sexy detectives. I mean what could be better? Except maybe a sexy detective falling for a hot, geeky, socially awkward professor who keeps me laughing. That's one of the best things about Dirk Greyson's Playing With Fire. Detective Jim Crawford is desperate to solve his latest case of a serial killer who seems to be randomly shooting people in town and leaving little to no evidence at the scene for law enforcement to go off of. With his options running out before he's forced to call in the FBI, Jim decides to try bringing in a consultant. Someone who'll be able to give insight into the mind of the killer. Of course, the last thing he expected was how Barty would seem to tick all his boxes making it hard for Jim to not want to get to know the man on a personal level as well. Dr. Barty Halloran isn't quite sure what to think of Jim. While he is intrigued by the idea of being able to help catch a killer who's terrorizing the city and figure out how his mind works, Barty also finds himself drawn to the gorgeous detective. It could be the easy acceptance he seems to find when he and Jim spend time together or the way his body feels whenever they are close. Whatever it is, Barty can't stop thinking about Jim and what it might be like to kiss him. The more time Jim and Barty spend together, the more dangerous things become. The killer is feeling threatened by Dr. Halloran's involvement in the case and now he makes it clear that he will not be stopped and will do anything to keep the authorities from getting to him even if it means putting Barty in the crosshairs. But things get even more complicated when Jim realizes it's not just Barty who might be in danger but others Jim cares about as well. I really liked both Jim and Barty. Barty, though, was definitely my favorite. I get a kick out of the inner dialogue of characters who are a bit awkward when it comes to interaction with other people. Barty is just so precise and earnest in his thinking. He doesn't quite understand simple nuances that most of us do. It's hard for him to read people on a more simple scale even though he's a master at the human mind. This along with a very sheltered and isolated childhood have made it extremely difficult for him to interact with people. His oblivious nature and insecurities with social cues have led to embarrassment of himself and those around him. Jim at one point says that Barty is like a less annoying version of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory (I love Sheldon). The case itself is very well written and quite intriguing. It's a scary thought that a person could be sitting on a rooftop randomly shooting and killing people just for kicks. I'm not going to pretend that I could guess who the killer was right away. I had to figure it out as the story went on, which made it that much more enjoyable. I really give the author credit for not turning this into a case of instalove also. I mean, of course the two men are attracted to one another from the very beginning, but they are good about not letting it come to the forefront of all their interactions. They aren't focused on getting each other in bed, Jim keeps the case and Barty's safety as his main priorities. The sexual aspect of the romance is mostly secondary to the rest of the story. There's much more focus on the men working together on the case and getting to know one another. I really enjoyed this book and its characters and have no qualms about recommending it to my friends. 4.5 Stars!
*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by DreamSpinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

Playing With Fire is a mystery/crime novel and this the first time I've read anything from Dirk Greyson.  

Police Detective Jim Crawford left the big city for a quieter, safer town but now he's faced with solving the mystery of a serial killer shooting from rooftops.  As Jim struggles to discover the killer's identity, he's given permission to seek assistance from a criminologist.  He meets Dr. Barty Halloran, a gifted psychologist that struggles to identify with people but is able to get into the mindset of a serial killer.  Jim and Barty make progress on the case, which draws the attention of the killer to Barty.  To protect Barty, Jim moves him into his house.  Jim doesn't expect to have feelings for Barty, and Barty certainly doesn't ever expect to have feelings about anyone. 

I love stories like this that engage the reader.  The mystery and crime drama was really well done, though I was pretty confident in who the killer was as soon as he's introduced in the story, but the author did a great job of making me question myself.  I would absolutely change nothing about this portion of the story, and honestly, I'd love to read more about Jim and Barty working together to catch killers, though that's unlikely since they live in such a small town.  Where I did struggle was with Jim and Barty.  For some reason, I just felt no connection to them.  I liked both characters and they both had really interesting backstories.  Jim is the all-around nice guy who comes from a wealthy family and is still a nice guy.  He's a police officer because he wants to help.  Barty is the child prodigy that had his brilliance encouraged but no thought given to all the other areas of development that are important in social development.  He's awkward around people and is completely clueless about attraction.  He understands sex only as a scientist from research methods but has no idea how to relate that to another person. 

If you like crime dramas and mysteries, you absolutely must read this book!  The case is dissected and allows the reader to work alongside Jim and Barty to try to figure out who is committing these crimes.

Rating:  4 stars

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