Review: Cordelia Kingsbridge – Kill Game (Seven of Spades #1)

Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Summary:

Homicide detective Levi Abrams is barely holding his life together. He’s reeling from the fallout of a fatal shooting, and his relationship with his boyfriend is crumbling. The last thing he’s prepared for is a serial killer stalking the streets of Las Vegas. Or how he keeps getting thrown into the path of annoyingly charming bounty hunter Dominic Russo.

Dominic likes his life free of complications. That means no tangling with cops—especially prickly, uptight detectives. But when he stumbles across one of the Seven of Spades’s horrifying crime scenes, he can’t let go, despite Levi’s warnings to stay away.

The Seven of Spades is ruthless and always two moves ahead. Worst of all, they’ve taken a dangerously personal interest in Levi and Dominic. Forced to trust each other, the two men race to discover the killer’s identity, revealing hidden truths along the way and sparking a bond neither man expected. But that may not be enough to protect them.

This killer likes to play games, and the deck is not stacked in Levi and Dominic’s favor

Review:

As stated by others who have had the pleasure of reading this story—it’s simply phenomenal! Are there other words? You bet—outstanding, thrilling, mysterious, heartbreaking, frightening, and hopeful, among others. I am stunned by how beautifully the author presented this murder mystery and MM romance. Never having read one of her books before, I had no idea what to expect, but two days after completing it, I’m still in awe.

Levi Abrams is a detective with the Las Vegas Police Department. He’s also gay and lives with his lover of three years. Finding life with Stanton somewhat stifling due to the man’s constant interference with Levi’s personal decisions, he’s becoming disenchanted. After working all day at a murder scene, to have Stanton usurp his decision as to what to order at a restaurant, or to find out Stanton’s been speaking to his parents behind his back, infuriates Levi. Now, a new murder investigation leads Levi and his partner, Martine, to think they may be hunting a serial killer—a killer who leaves a Seven of Spades calling card.

Bounty hunter Dominic Russo had no intention of disrupting Levi’s peace of mind, but when the killer strikes as Dominic is hot on the trail of a bail jumper, Dominic inadvertently becomes involved and then stays involved as his interest is piqued. Dominic is a former soldier who couldn’t decide exactly what he wanted to do when he left the service and ultimately decided to be a bounty hunter—at least until he moves on from that. He and his companion German Shepherd enjoy their time together, both on and off the job, and at this point Dominic is living alone, having no desire for a long-term relationship and no intention of spending his nights with hookups.

Over time, as the case changes and more intriguing aspects are revealed, their personal lives begin to offer complications. After a final blowout with Stanton, who doesn’t want his partner in life and death situations and urges Levi to quit the force, Levi moves out. Levi also has to admit he’s finding Dominic attractive—not enough to cheat on Stanton, but nevertheless, there’s chemistry.

This story took quite some time to develop, but I honestly have to say that the pace was perfect. And the nice slow-burn romance that underlies the story is simply that—a secondary underlayment to an outstanding action/adventure/mystery thriller. Without giving away details, I can say that the character development, both main and secondary, was solid; the mystery was difficult to solve; and the ending, though not strictly a cliffhanger, was enough of a tease to make me salivate for the next story.

I’m looking forward to finding out more about the Seven of Spades, the elusive and clever killer, as well as to learning more about the relationship that seems to be building between Dominic and Levi. I suspect that by the time the series is complete, we’ll have solved the crimes and our guys will have their HEA. But given the fact that the author stumped me on this one, I could be totally off base. And that’s okay because the story itself is well-worth every moment I spent on my reading device. Kudos to Cordelia Kingsbridge. This one is amazing and I recommended it to everyone who loves an outstanding mystery.

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