Bethany reviews ‘Fish Out Of Water’ by Amy Lane. Published by Dreamspinner Press on July 29th, 2016, 270 pgs.
Why I read this book: Um, it’s Amy Lane!!!!!!! Oh and it’s Mystery week so I thought this would be a perfect one to review.
Note: We were provided a copy of this in exchange for a honest review.
PI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets of Del Paso Heights—and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and his family safe.
Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his depth—and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares reach—and deep into Jackson’s troubled past.
Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s spiraled out of control.
Amy Lane has done it again. When the blurb for this came out on the DSP website and said that it was a mystery, my first thought was “really, Amy Lane writing Mystery?” She is the queen of angst and tears; she makes you want to throw a temper tantrum when things get angsty. You know going into one of her books you will need tissues, chocolate and booze. Lots and lots of booze. So I will fully admit that I was somewhat nervous about reading a mystery by her. I mean, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? That thought right there? Put it out of your head and get this book, like yesterday. Because Amy Lane and mystery? Yeah she takes that, throws in a dab of her classic angst and creates brilliance.
There are some books that you can read without really thinking too hard. One that you can finish in one sitting, that leaves a smile on your face and a love song in your heart. This is NOT that book. Wait…don’t be scared, let me explain. When I read an Amy book I take notes. Lots of them. Because they are detailed and complex and there is a lot going on. A lot of emotions, feelings, plot twist and turns. And that right there is what makes this book so amazing. There is a LOT going on, but oh dear goodness it is so beautifully heartbreaking that you will finish it and be left with one hell of a book hangover.
I started this and within 2% I was crying, because well, it’s Amy Lane and I truly believe she feeds on our tears. But in all honesty this one hit home for me. My cousin is a cop and while I do know that there are bad ones out there, not all of them are dirty. So yeah, I needed to put on my big girl panties and power through and see it from the other side. This book is gritty, it makes you stop and think. It forces you to see that there is bad out there, and it happens all the time. But while it does that it makes you see there are Captain Americas out there also, people who want to do good, cops that want to catch the bad guys and not look the other way.
Jackson was one of those cops, he wanted to do good, make a difference. Even growing up knowing cops would look the other way if someone lived on the other side of the tracks. He wanted to make a change, pay it forward just like his family did for him all those years ago. But I’m not talking about his blood family, no I’m talking about the family he chose, the one that feed him when his own mother couldn’t be bothered. The one that means the entire world to him, because to Jackson family is EVERYTHING, nothing else matters as long as he has them. So when one of them is threatened, they all are.
Ellery is Jackson’s polar opposite. A lawyer from the “right” side of the tracks, with more money than God. And he wants Jackson, he has for six years now. But you see, Jackson is like a feral cat, afraid to get close, on the defensive, not trusting anyone but his family. It has been ingrained in him from a young age not to trust. Trust leads to disappointment, which leads to being hurt. But Ellery knows that given enough time, if he keeps feeding that feral cat, sooner or later he will be able to pet him. Jackson needs that, needs to know that the food will be there no matter what, to trust Ellory will always be there to feed him. To comfort him, to take care of him.
This book is not your typical Amy Lane, it’s not angst filled followed by true love romance. It’s gritty and dirty, it’s painful and heartbreaking. It’s filled with moments that will make you want to scream at the injustice of our society. It WILL make you open your eyes and question things, it will leave you broken and when she finally does decide it’s time to put you back together she won’t make you whole. Hell she won’t even try to make you whole, but she will leave you wanting more, begging for one more scrap of these people. Not just Jackson and Ellery, but all of Jackson’s mismatched family and Ellery’s perfectly coiffed mother. Gawd I loved that woman, she is who you want in your corner.
This book is going to leave you satisfied but not entirely sated. I won’t call this a cliffhanger because we WILL be seeing more of them in the future. But I will promise you this, you WILL be left with one hell of a book hangover. And that is why that it really shouldn’t surprise me that even when Amy steps out of her norm and writes something different, it is no less brilliant that everything else she creates. Oh and the icing on this beautifully tragic tale? She references ASSBABIES. That is all people, that is all.
Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.