Review: Sue Brown – Alpha Chef (J.T’s Bar #2)

Author: Sue Brown
Reviewer: Natalie
Publisher: One Hat Press
Genre: MM

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summary: When Greg Mitchelson’s home is torched and his employer killed, Greg fears it’s retribution for his past testimony against a notorious drug gang. Alone, with no money and only the clothes on his back, Greg turns to Colm Riordan, the Deputy US Marshall who’s protected Greg for the last 3 years. But Riordan doesn’t return Greg’s phone calls, and the local Marshal’s office refuses to help him.
In desperation, Greg goes on the run to Wyoming to find his brother, Mitch, whom he hasn’t seen in over a decade. As he reconnects with his brother, Riordan appears, searching for his missing witness. But Greg needs the answers to a lot of questions before he’ll trust Riordan again. Why didn’t he return Greg’s call? Is Riordan there to help Greg – or kill him?

Review: This was an entertaining action story, adding new characters to the group from book one, “Alpha Barman”. Greg is Mitch’s long-lost brother, on the run since his WITSEC identity was discovered, not knowing if he could trust the US Marshals, including his contact, Colm Riordan. There is a lot that happens in the story with Mitch and Greg, and Jake and Mitch’s old black ops team, but mostly with Riordan, who has more than a professional interest in Greg. They’re also being chased down by criminals and there’s a mole in the Marshals service.

Characterization was kind of minimal, but a large part of the narrative concerns Mitch and Greg reconnecting, so that did add to it. Mitch was unaware of why Greg left home and what had happened with their parents. The dialogue is occasionally choppy, jumping from one subject and character, into a side discussion and back again. There was some banter and sibling snark, plus Moose and Howie, who worked in the bar, added some humorous moments. The action plot was straightforward and had a couple of tense action scenes. I can’t say I felt strongly about the romance aspect, as there was almost no buildup shown. Some previous attraction was mentioned, a few looks were exchanged, then they’re falling into bed and into love. It was in the midst of a crisis and they did have some history, so I took it at face value.

It was a clearly written, easy read, and held my attention, wanting to find out what might happen to Greg and why he and Mitch were apart for so long. Finding out later how Greg and Riordan could be together, made the epilogue worthwhile. If you want a decent, light, entertaining read, with suspense and action sequences, this may work well for you.

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