Dana reviews Police Brutality (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 2) by Gregory Ashe (Published by Hodgkin and Blount, January 31, 2020. 397 pages. Audiobook released May 07 2020. Narrated by Tristan James. 11 hours 57 minutes in length.)
Why I listened to this: I am a fan of these characters and the mysteries that the author creates.
To read my review of The Rational Faculty (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 1) click here.
For the first time in a long while, Emery Hazard’s life is good. His new business as a private detective is taking off. Things are good at home. He loves his boyfriend, John-Henry Somerset; he loves their daughter. He might even love the new friends they’ve found. There’s only one problem: Somers has been talking about marriage.
When a former colleague, Walter Hoffmeister, comes to Hazard and hires him to look into a series of anonymous death threats, Hazard eagerly jumps on the distraction. Hoffmeister might be a jerk, but he’s a paying jerk, and Hazard isn’t convinced the threats are serious.
Until, that is, Hoffmeister is almost gunned down on Hazard’s doorstep. As Hazard investigates more deeply, he learns that more than one person in Wahredua has a reason to wish Hoffmeister dead. His search takes him to the Ozark Volunteers, reincarnated as the Bright Lights movement, but it also leads him into a sanctuary of radical Christianity. Meanwhile, an antifa activist has arrived in town, calling for Hoffmeister’s death and threatening total war with the Bright Lights.
As Hazard continues to look for answers, he becomes a target, too – and not just because he’s helping Hoffmeister. The Keeper of Bees is still at large, and the killer hasn’t lost interest in Emery Hazard. Not yet. Not, Hazard begins to suspect, until the Keeper has taken everything Hazard holds dear.
For as emotionally heavy as the last story was, this one felt like a fresh breath of air. That is to say, as much of a fresh breath of air trying to figure out who is trying to scare/hurt a police officer is; as much of a fresh breath of air is for a couple ready to move on to the next level while one seems commitment-phobic.
Hazard and Somerset definitely made strides into the problems they were having as a couple and individually in the last book. Hazard is continuing to work as a private investigator and the work definitely seems to help him with his depression. He has an added sense of guilt in regards to a former client who had been held by a serial killer. The mysterious entity calling himself the Keeper of Bees doesn’t seem to be actively trying to terrorize Hazard in this book, but his guilt over his client and worry over what the killer might do over the future is affecting Hazard in a big way. His feelings for Somerset are strong but can Hazard risk making him a possible future target? I definitely can understand how he feels, but again with the men and their dislike for talking about feelings. Overall, I feel like the two men are at a good place in their relationship and on the precipice of being even closer even with their worries.
The cases that Hazard and Somerset and his new partner are investigating in this book aren’t as tense to me as the previous book either. Though to be perfectly honest, Hazard’s new client and the title of the book should make it feel like it is. The police officer that hired Hazard to look into threats into his life has engaged in excessive force while on duty. The things that are happening in these books are very relevant to what is happening in the world now. I know this book was written months ago, but really the issues of systemic racism and police brutality have been going on forever and thanks to social media have really been brought to light the last few years. It isn’t quite a light subject, but the anti-facist protesters and the white supremacist hate group Bright Lights seem to be taking a little break in this book and it notched down the tension for me.
There are plenty of suspicious characters in this book though. Somerset’s new partner comes off as young and kind of shallow. I was concerned about some of his behavior in this book, but I am waiting to see how things proceed with him before judging to harshly. The new pastor of the local church is also acting in strange ways and has a lot of hostility for Hazard and for the police department. I do believe we will see more drama from the situation in the future.
I thought this was a really good mystery and I did enjoy that the tension was a little less in this book. Not that I am against the angst and pressure and worry that I felt listening to the first book, but I am positive that there will be more in the future books, perhaps even the next one. I needed a moment to breathe between the strained situations so I don’t feel on edge the whole time. I would definitely recommend listening to the books in order because so much of what these characters have been through have made them who they are in this book. However if you picked up this book without listening or reading any of the previous ones, I feel like the author does a good job of explaining their history while telling their new story. Either way, I definitely recommend the story and the narrator. Tristan James does a great job with this series.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
I’m a long-time Midwesterner. I’ve lived in Chicago, Bloomington (IN), and Saint Louis, my current home. Aside from reading and writing (which take up a lot of my time), I’m an educator.