Jack Cade is skeptical of the new criminal profiler he’s using. Michael seems so absent-minded and too neurotic to be effective. But he is brilliant and hot and Cade finds himself falling hard and fast, both in lust and in love. The attraction is mutual, although Michael’s past demons haunt him, keeping him from getting too close. Together, they begin to unravel Michael’s emotional knots even as they close in on a killer, another brilliant, wily person whose sights are now set on Michael.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I occasionally like this author’s writing and her flair for using Asian culture and sexy men in her stories. They always feel exotic, well researched and interesting. Acts of Passion has all of that when profiler Michael meets sexy homicide cop Jack Cade on a murder case. Michael has extensive knowledge of Japanese rituals and the murder seems to be employing these in rather graphic and painful ways. As Jack and Michael search for clues to the killer’s identity, their sexual chemistry brings them closer. Yet Michael seems to be pining for his ex-lover and Jack’s not sure he wants to get his heart broken again.
The mystery plot is pretty interesting with a lot of clear, careful research. There are several scenes describing the various Japanese rituals as well as articles involved and they are both fascinating and never overwhelming. The whodunit with the murder is obvious immediately when the culprit is introduced so no one will be surprised there. However the steps and information offered remains rather compelling. I found myself enjoying the story as the details are laid out and various threads are pulled. I knew where it was all going but I still enjoyed it anyway.
There are some over used clichés and way too many conveniences thrown in though. Such as Michael just happens to be the profiler chosen and he just happens to be an expert in the ritualized suicide. Also Michael seems to work very little at his actual job and the passage of time in the book leaps in awkward segments. It’s convenient and easy but if the story is going to do a murder mystery, I don’t think it’s asking a lot to introduce the various characters and elements in more subtle, complex ways than taking the easy way since it’s just a romance. That aside, I still liked a good portion of the mystery and since that drives the plot it works well.
The romance between Jack and Michael is decent and interesting, although Michael’s ex Toshi is a huge presence in the book. Toshi is actually a character from –another- book that took some work figuring out. The white samurai series features Toshi and his new boyfriend/partner so for those that care, you can head to that two book series to read more. Here Toshi and Michael have been apart for a dozen years but Michael still calls out his name in his sleep and says he loves him. This is the basis for the tension between Jack and Michael and it’s never really resolved. There is a one sentence declaration at the end that Michael is just magically over Toshi so all is well. Very weak and ends the book abruptly without much satisfaction.
For the most part though, Acts of Passion is an easy, undemanding read with a pretty interesting mystery angle. I’d recommend it for those looking for something light with a different twist but don’t expect too much. The research and details of the Japanese culture are really the best aspects.
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