Dana reviews Flesh & Blood (A Flesh Novel) by Ethan Stone. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. See my review for In the Flesh here.
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
RELEASE DATE: June 9th, 2014
LENGTH: 70,000 Words
GENRE(S): LGBT, Gay, Mystery
DSP Publications: http://www.dsppublications.com/books/flesh-blood-by-ethan-stone-75-b
Sequel to In the Flesh
A Flesh novel
Detective Cristian Flesh is about to find out that he can only run from his past for so long.
When a local man is attacked and the suspect is a hustler, Cristian knows there’s more to the case than meets the eye. His investigation will lead him into a maze of lies, deceit, and underage prostitution. But that’s only the beginning as people start disappearing and turning up dead. Cristian begins to realize that solving the case and stopping the murders won’t be enough. If he wants to make his new life with lawyer Colby Maddox work, he’ll need to face the demons of his past and put them to rest once and for all.
Part One: www.prismbookalliance.com
Part Two: http://www.jpbarnaby.com/
Part Three: www.TheNovelApproach.com
Part Four: www.MMGoodBookreviews.wordpress.com
Part Five: http://lovebytesreviews.com/
Note: This takes place between In the Flesh and Flesh & Blood.
His eyes widened. “This is it, detective. There aren’t any other cameras.”
I rose so fast the chair fell over backwards and clanged on the floor. Goff jumped back and ran into the wall. I got in his face and whispered in his ear, “You’re hiding something, Mr. Goff. I assume you like watching guys get off. Right now I don’t care, I’m not here to bust you. All I care about is catching this guy. If you have footage than can help you damn well better come clean.”
He nodded. “Okay. Okay.”
I stepped back and Goff returned to the electronics. A second later he brought up a camera—it covered the two booths with the shared glory hole.
Theo moaned when the image of himself sucking off a guy came up on screen. Brunson’s eyes enlarged but he didn’t look away, though it was obvious he wanted to. Professional all the way, that man. During the oral sex, the receiver lifted his head back allowing the camera a perfect shot of his face.
“Freeze that and give me a print out,” I ordered. “Just his face. Nothing else. I’ll also need a copy of all the footage with our man on it. I want the original destroyed, Mr. Goff. If a frame of this makes it to the press I will come after you for interfering with a police investigation.”
“Yes, sir.” He was terrified of me and that assured me he would do what I commanded.
I patted Theo’s shoulder. “I’ll make sure this footage doesn’t show up on the internet somewhere.”
“Thanks, detective, I appreciate it.”
“I’m gonna get some DNA of you, then you can go. I’ll need your number, but I’ll be discrete. I have lots of experience at that. Stay here. I’ll be right back.”
Brunson and I stepped outside and I filled him in.
“The thief had oral sex with our witness just before robbing the place?” Brunson rubbed his forehead then chuckled. “What an idiot.”
“I can get DNA samples off Genovese but chances are it’ll take at least a week to get results back. I think we’ll have a better chance of matching his picture, that’s if he has a record.”
“What about the fingerprint?”
“You got a print?”
Brunson palmed his face. “I forgot to tell you. The guy wasn’t wearing gloves and he put his hand on the glass counter. I got a clean print.”
“Provided the guy has a record the print will ID him. The DNA and video footage will make the case. Why don’t you return to the station and put the print in the system while I finish up here?”
“Sounds good. See you in a few.”
I retrieved a DNA kit from my car and returned to the office. I swabbed Theo’s mouth, figuring I’d get his DNA and hopefully the thief’s as well. I scraped some of the dried come from his shirt into an evidence bag and sealed it.
“I still need your shirt.”
“I can’t go home half-naked. My wife would definitely suspect something.”
Eyeing Goff, I said, “You have a T-shirt on underneath your shirt?”
“Give it to Mr. Genovese.”
He started to argue again but a scowl from me stopped it. He carefully unbuttoned his shirt.
“It’s white,” I said, “will the wife notice the color?”
Theo shook his head. “Probably not. If she does I can play it off.”
Goff pulled off the T-shirt and handed it to Theo. I got Theo’s contact info and let him go. He shook my hand, thanking me profusely for understanding. Goff handed me a flash drive and a color picture of the robber.
“It’s all on there.”
“And the original footage?”
“All deleted, I promise.”
I squeezed his shoulder, making him wince. “It better be. Or I’ll be back.” Without another word I returned to the station.
“We already got a hit,” Brunson said as soon as I walked in.
The next chapter will be at http://heartsonfirereviews.com/
I was very excited to read Flesh & Blood after having read and reviewed In the Flesh earlier this year. In this book, I saw a very different Cristian Flesh than he had been in book 1. The man who wanted no attachments was pretty stuck on Colby, his boyfriend and the lawyer who defended him when he was framed for murder. He was also closer to his partner in the Reno police department, Lex, a tough woman who can give as good as she gets. An informant from the first book also makes an appearance that has become good friends with him.
There was a lot of romance in the book. I loved the relationship between Colby and Cristian. There was a lot of heat and sweetness. Cristian had a very strict set of rules that he had followed most of his life and he seemed to breaking most of them as the two men grew closer. Because the rules were designed to keep distance in his relationships, I was glad to see them go. There was also a lot of mystery and murder as well. The story wasn’t overly long, but there was a lot of content, and I feel like there were three distinct parts in the telling.
When a casino owner is almost killed, and an underage rent boy is blamed, a prostitution ring is exposed, and Cristian is brought face to face with his past. It effects him very strongly and I was surprised how quickly he started spilling some of the secrets even as he kept saying he wasn’t ready to tell them. While I felt bad for Cristian, the vulnerability the case brought out in him was appealing. It’s nice to see him less reserved. At the same time his defenses kicked in and he tried to sabotage his own happiness at times. The corruption surrounding this ring was further reaching than I expected, and I was surprised by who was running the operation, and had actually suspected someone different. There were no actual rape scenes or underage scenes so while what had been happening was sad, it was not difficult to read.
This could have been a story all on it’s own, but in the spirit of facing all the ghosts of his past, Cristian goes to the place where his youth was corrupted. Home. It was hard to see the darkness that Cristian had to deal with as a kid. His mother’s refusal to see what happened in the past, and to see that the vile behavior was still occurring. It wasn’t just a trip home to confront his abuser. When his father is shot and his brother blamed, there is yet another mystery to solve. The resolution came quick and there was a sense of relief and contentment for Cristian, his brother, and his mother before he left to go home with Colby, secret-free.
So thinking we’ve had our happy ending I was unprepared for the third part of the story. An attack on one of the few friends that Cristian had allowed close. I was ready to scream. It’s hard to see something unfair happen to someone who has finally found happiness after years of sadness covered by apathy. It might have affected my rating on the book, but wait, there’s a note. Perhaps all was not as it seemed. I was really dragged into the story, I loved the main characters. and some of the side characters. I also mourned a few, and hated a few. They mystery of whodunnit did keep me guessing and there is an excellent lead in to the next book. I can’t wait for it to come out.
Ethan Stone is an out and proud gay man. Which is fairly new in his life, the out part, not the gay part. He’s been queer his whole life, though he tried to deny it for years with a wonderful woman. The years in denial weren’t all bad, he has two amazing kids out of it. His son is a teenager and his daughter has made him a grandfather, three times over. A way too young grandfather.
Ethan has returned to Oregon after almost a decade in Nevada. He no longer has a day job and is doing his best to make a living at this writing thing. If he can’t make a living, he at least wants to support his Mt. Dew and beef jerky addictions.
Readers can find Ethan online.
In addition to the Rafflecopter Giveaway the author is giving away one ebook copy of Flesh & Blood. Please comment on this post in order to be entered to win. Contest will end June 18th, 2015, at 11:59 PM EDT
Void where prohibited. Must be 18 to participate in giveaway.