Summary: Warning: This book contains scenes of graphic violence and rape and may not be suitable for all readers. Discretion advised.
Cole, what’s wrong?
Former detective Gavin DeGrassi likes his new life and his job as a university professor, molding the minds of the next generation of law enforcement. It keeps him in the field he loves, but out of the media and out of the danger he seems to draw. He’s settled and happy with his partner and Dom, Ben Haverson.
Until a middle of the night phone call from his brother, Cole, whose desperation and fear yank him back into the world of criminals and countdowns. Only this time, the stakes are much higher.
Detective Myah Hayes, Gavin’s sister-in-law and former partner, has a past of her own, one that has returned to claim her. With only their instincts and the help of a rogue CSI, Gavin, Ben, and Cole will do whatever it takes to find Myah, following a flimsy trail of evidence to Chicago, where all is not what it seems—dirty cops, moral pimps, and a nest of snakes who call themselves businessmen.
They’re on a collision course with the worst of humanity, and more than Myah’s life is caught in the vortex. Can they find her, and if they do, will there be anything left to save?
Review: ** spoiler alert **
This story is the third book of the Power Exchange series by AJ Rose. It alternates from Gavin’s to a third person’s POV.
Gavin is no longer a police officer. He’s a university professor now and still in a domination/submission relationship with Ben.
The novel begins with Myah’s disappearance. She is Gavin’s former colleague and Cole’s wife. As you know, Cole is Gavin’s brother. This story is also about the kidnapping of teens who prostituted on Boystown’s streets. Gavin suspects dirty cops who forced Myah to leave Chicago by accusing her of forging false evidences concerning the same investigation on a juvenile prostitution ring.
As Gavin is no longer a police officer, he must show cunning and seek help from friends, still in the police, to have access to some records for him to pursue his parallel investigation.
The story therefore alternates between Cole’s, Gavin’s and Ben’s hotel rooms –where the three men are trying to find in Myah’s old records useful information to find her– and the warehouse (or whorehouse) where Myah is kept prisoner by criminals called Kevin and the Boss, who the author said little about.
A big part of the investigation conducted mainly by Gavin, with Ben’s and Cole’s help is pretty boring because Gavin can’t really be directly involved in the police investigation and he’s basically trying to find information in old police reports. As for Cole, he is too directly concerned by his wife’s disappearance to be really useful and Gavin has so much trouble to convince him to stay at the hotel that it becomes fast annoying to read about their confrontations. Ben’s presence, except at the very end when he tries to “buy” boys to help dismantle the prostitution ring, is primarily used to fuel the novel’s erotic BDSM part. I admit that the appetizer scene with Blond Guy and the ménage with McKnight were pretty hot (chapter 17). But I found Ben too perfect to be true in the first book of this series; I didn’t change my mind here. And all Ben’s rubbing circles on Gavin’s back each time Gavin got tense ended up grating my nerves (“Not again!” I thought each time).
Besides, I think the author is trying too hard to make McKnight look like a good pimp. He said that he takes care of his boys, but he’s still a pimp making them work as prostitutes. His boys are also at risk of ending up like those who were abducted or killed. Sorry, Ms. Rose, but there’s no nice pimp! I don’t like the beautiful image that you want to give us for this character. This encourages the idea that kids’ prostitution could be okay.
As for the part about Myah, we see her being tortured and raped by criminals trying to get more information to see if anyone would know too much about them and maybe denounce them. Myah tries to say just enough to satisfy them and thus be able to stay alive a little longer. She also tries to help a boy in the same captivity place as her.
Said by Myah to Marshall
I personally am not a fan of stories of torture and rape. I don’t even understand that we can take pleasure in describing such scenes or in reading them. Moreover, the true lovers of this kind of scenes may be disappointed because the author was not very “graphic” in her descriptions of torture and rapes. All she says is that an Xth hand landed on Myah and twisted her breast, for example. We know that Myah moans or cries sometimes, but that’s all we learn of what she feels. The author stays too far away of her character’s feelings and emotions for the readers to be really interested by all that.
In fact, I was much more struck by the idea of these kids probably tortured and raped in the same way, but we hardly hear about what happens to them, except for Marshall and Brady, that Myah tries to help. I find preposterous that everything Gavin and Co. want is to find Myah. For me, finding her was secondary. What mattered most was to get the kidnapped kids and stop the traffic and prostitution of innocent young gay men kept prisoners to meet pedophiles’ or Ephebophiles’ desires. I hoped throughout the novel that the story would conclude by dismantling this network. That’s the only thing that kept me interested.
Of course, as expected at the beginning of the novel, Myah and the boys are found and the ring dismantled. Then she can go back to her daughter and get her life with Cole back. The author wrote in the social networks that she “broke” Myah. And it’s certainly true. So I find this ending very fairy-tale style, because how could Myah continue making love with Cole without being disturbed by the memory of all she had gone through and what she did to survive?
I don’t really like the thriller/BDSM mixture, because for a casual reader, there could be confusion of genres: the reader thinking that the thriller’s scenes of violence are also BDSM scenes in disguise. They might not understand that they are two totally different things.
But the story is quite well written and Myah is a heroin as we seldom see. The threesome scene was quite good. And okay, the author managed to make me cry at the end. For these four reasons, especially for Myah’s strength, I give this story three and a half hearts.