Author: Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 205 Pages
At a Glance: Merchant of Death is a masterful second story in an outstanding series.
Blurb: All’s fair in love and war.
There’s something rotten in the state of Indiana. When con man Henry Page takes it upon himself to investigate the death of an elderly patient at a care facility, he does so in true Shakespearean tradition: dressed as a girl.
FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness has more to worry about than Henry’s latest crazy idea. Someone is trying to send him a message—via a corpse with a couple of bullets in it. He needs to figure out who’s trying to set him up before he gets arrested, and he really doesn’t have time for Henry’s shenanigans. Then again, he’d probably be able to focus better if Henry didn’t look so damn distracting in a babydoll dress and a wig.
But when Mac discovers that Henry has been keeping a secret that connects the cases, he has to find a way to live on the right side of the law when he just might be in love with the wrong sort of man.
Review: Mac and Henry (Sebastian) are back—and oh my golly, they are even a tad bit better than before!! In Merchant of Death, the second installment of Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock’s Playing The Fool series, the tables are turned and Mac finds himself being targeted by a former drug kingpin he put behind bars. And by former I mean dead, and how is it exactly that a dead con is managing to make Mac’s life a living hell? Merchant of Death has so many delicious twists and turns that I nearly clapped my hands in glee as I read this fast paced, gritty and sexy novel.
For those familiar with book one, Two Gentlemen of Altona, you will recall that novel ended with Henry once more running out on Mac to go find and help the mysterious sister named Viola. When Henry finds her, we finally get the back-story of these two wounded twins and their drug addicted mother. As the story unfolds, we are made aware of exactly what happened in Henry and Viola’s past when Henry went by his real name, Sebastian. Without giving too much of this rich plot away, suffice it to say that Vi is now living in a mental care facility and gives her twin brother the story that a “bad angel” has killed her friend, the elderly Mr. Crowley. Henry disguises himself as his twin and gets inside the facility, only to uncover a plot to milk elderly terminal patients out of their money and then help them meet an untimely death.
Once again Henry is in the thick of it, and this time Mac will be the hero who rescues the damsel in distress. However, things are not going well back at the office for Mac. Still on medical leave from the bullet he took protecting Henry at the cabin, Mac has discovered that a team has been sent to investigate the shooting. While seemingly routine, they are actually investigating the death of an informant who has stated that Mac was buying cocaine from him and threatening him. I know—can this plot get any thicker? But, here is the genius of this team of authors: never once was I lost or confused in this story—every step down the rabbit hole was clear and neatly tied together and by novel’s end, I was breathless with anticipation for the next installment in this magnificent series.
Mac and Henry, er, Sebastian are simply magical together. Clever dialogue punctuated with smoldering glances and stolen hot kisses means these two manage to heat up every page of this novel. The journey they are on where they try to avoid falling in love with each other, only to discover they have already lost that battle, is part whimsy, part hard-core mystery and part romantic comedy. Somehow all these pieces weave together to work with stunning resolve. Lisa Henry and J. A. Rock have always been top-notch authors in my book but collaboratively, they are publishing gold!
Merchant of Death is a masterful second story in an outstanding series. I am hanging on by my fingertips for the third installment to this incredible series.
You can buy Merchant of Death (Playing the Fool: Book Two) here: