Review: Heloise West – His Dark Reflection (Heart and Haven #3)

Author: Heloise West
Reviewer: Natalie
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: MM

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Summary: Disgraced FBI agent Nick Truman has failed to save his sister, held hostage by a drug cartel until he could give them Alex Crow, who eluded him. His epic downfall lands him in witness protection, where he plays by the rules and keeps to himself. But the murder of his neighbor brings danger to his door. He unexpectedly finds himself the champion of innocents and helplessly attracted to the homicide detective in charge of the case.

This can’t end well.

Homicide Detective Hank Axelrod is good at digging out secrets, maybe because he hides a big one of his own. He also suspects his husband has one foot out of the door of their marriage and the specter of single life looms unpleasantly on the horizon.

A murder resembling another brings Nick into his world, a man who claims to be a mystery writer looking for a real life resource. Hank’s instincts say he’s more than that, and he’s rarely wrong.

Torn between the errant soon-to-be-ex husband and the distracting, sexy stranger, Hank needs to focus all his attention on his murder case before he becomes the next victim.

Review: What a gratifying addition to this series! Nick was irredeemable in book one, barely redeemed in book two, but Heloise West made me feel for him so hard in this story. If you plan on reading this book, you really should read the first two before this one. Nick is really not living, only moving through his life, trying to stay numb, detached and connected to no one. Events bring him to the attention of Hank, a police officer and Nick is immediately attracted to him plus he’s concerned if Hank checks his background. He’s also reminded of the career he lost so cruelly and misses so much. The mystery and suspense is quite gripping and there’s a somber and gritty feel to the narrative. I really liked the action scenes, even when they were a touch gory. I followed the slow growing attraction between Nick and Hank eagerly, the pull and push between them, due to the dying gasps of Hank’s marriage and Nick’s many reasons not to become attached to anyone. Let me reassure people, there’s no actual cheating.

I nearly rated this book as a 4 star but changed my mind because it stemmed from a personal prejudice. Nick has Native American heritage and Hank comes from rural West Virginia, and they grew up with belief in things like premonition, second sight and dreaming, all of which play a substantial part in solving the case. I have a very hard time buying into that sort of thing and disliked seeing it used as a plot device. However, the author may have a strong belief in it, as I’m sure many readers do, so I have to discount my own views in judging the overall story. Still, it made reading a little less enjoyable, personally. Certainly not enough to prevent me from appreciating all the other nuances of the story. The ending was a rather tentative HFN, so I’m choosing to believe in another book for this couple. I really want to see a future for Hank and Nick, perhaps with another case for them to solve together. I highly recommend the series, although the first ones are about Hunter and Alex, Nick is a major character in both and they’re entertaining, suspenseful and well worth reading.

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