“So much of history is mystery. We don’t know what is lost forever, what will surface again.” ― Amy Tan
Title: Cross & Crown
Author: Abigail Roux
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 248 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: When Nick O’Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time.
Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide. The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity.
Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.
Review: Cross & Crown is the second book in the Sidewinder series, a spin-off of Abi Roux’s chart topping Cut & Run series. It details the adventures of Nick O’Flaherty and his boyfriend Kelly ‘Doc’ Abbott. C&C finds us in Boston, Nick’s hometown, and takes us on a hunt for national treasure, two hundred years in the making.
At the opening of the book, we find Kelly traveling to spend two weeks with his boyfriend, Nick. The two have been an item for a while now, have confessed their feelings and said they’re in it for the long haul, but as of yet have not decided whether they’ll move to Nick’s yacht in Boston Harbor or Kelly’s cabin in Colorado. Of course, this is an Abi Roux book, so nothing goes as planned. Two dead bodies, a robbery, and a man with amnesia later, and Nick has his hands full with a case that makes less than zero sense. The more Nick digs and uncovers, the deeper we’re all immersed in a two hundred year old conspiracy theory.
I’ll be the first to admit that after Ball & Chain (re: Scooby Doo mystery), I was a little…apprehensive when I saw that Cross & Crown was delving into historical mysteries, but I was pleasantly surprised. I’m a history nerd, so the Revolutionary War era Masonic lure was perfect for me.
The writing seemed to fall a bit flat in places, but overall was on point. The dialogue was perfect, with much of the witty humor provided courtesy of Kelly. We catch a glimpse of Nick’s history with the Irish mob, and that’s an avenue I really hope Abi pursues in future books. I was pleased to see that the adventure/mystery didn’t take center stage over Nick and Kelly’s relationship in this book.
Julian Cross stars in Cross & Crown, and that character owns every page he’s written onto. Seeing the relationship and respect develop between him and Nick, and him and Kelly, was superb. Up to this point he’s always been a very mysterious character, but in Cross & Crown we see him frazzled and at his wits end trying to rescue his husband, Cameron. His dry humor and sharp wit was on point and made his character a little more…human…in my eyes.
Overall, I was impressed with this book and would rate it a solid 4 stars. The characterization, writing, and plot all came together to form a great book. I look forward to seeing what’s next in this series.
You can buy Cross & Crown here: