I like Amy Lane’s work and Dex in Blue is very much more of the same. I think it’s slightly too similar to previous books though and so I had trouble connecting to the characters. Dex in Blue is a companion piece to Chase in Shadows and the same events happen in both books, although from different perspectives. I think it’s almost better not reading CiS first because the repetitive events and changing characters. However that said, DiB has the same feel but is definitely lighter. There is not the same level of angst and emotional brutality as the first book and there is a pretty big bow tied on everyone at the end – everyone gets babies, jobs, money, houses, love, and security! It’s a bit much no doubt but Lane puts her characters through the emotional ringer so the big splashy happy ending is the payoff.
This book focuses on Dex, Tommy’s best friend from book one, and Kane, a young stud working in porn because that’s all he’s good at and he needs the money. The events initially jump back and forth catching the reader up on past events that happened in the last book and showing where exactly Dex and Kane fit into that mess. This beginning is very choppy and disorientating. Time leaps forward in big chunks, sometimes years at a time, to coincide with Tommy/Chase problems while trying to establish Dex and Kane’s backgrounds. There is so much information thrown in at the beginning it can be overwhelming. I kept trying to reconcile what I knew from the previous book to the events of this one. I really wish the book hadn’t taken this route and instead wrote how these two came together on their own without the need to tie them in so completely with the previous couple.
Due to this, Kane and Dex never really emerged for me as their own separate couple. Instead they feel like pawns and caricatures. Both men have these wild emotions in response to very manipulated events. In CiS, there is a lot of emotional turmoil but the characters, their responses, and the situations felt very organic and natural. Here the situations feel artificial and forced. They exist to force the couple to face something specific in their relationship. A lot of this is due to the repetition of events from the first book but even circumstances specific to this book feel manipulated. There seem to be certain popular elements that come into play – irresponsible/bitchy women, unwanted babies, evil families, almost angelic men forced to hurt themselves and their loved ones for the greater good – that feel too familiar.
I did like how Kane and Dex’s relationship grew and matured, as it’s one of the best parts of the book. This feels natural and understandable. It’s easy and there’s some minor tension and drama before the big I love you’s, but nothing emotionally torturing. These two feel like friends turned lovers who are happy. Of course everything happens really, really fast. In a few months they’re sleeping together then getting married with a kid but it’s romance and that’s almost expected in big happy endings. Even though the story likes to throw more and more over the top situations at the characters, I liked that they handled it together and never really let that connection waiver nor were they unable to function without the other person. They maintained some assemblage of independence while acting as a couple too.
For the most part I liked Dex in Blue, though not as much as the first book. I really like how much lighter this story is and how it focuses on the happy moments rather then dark angst. It’s an easy book to read, especially with numerous sex scenes. I simply couldn’t connect with Dex and Kane very well and the ending feels way too easy. It’s sweet, sure, but too syrupy for me. I’ll be interested to see if the next book in the series can offer either characters or situations that step out of the box and offer something different or fresh. Lane is an exceptional writer that can build emotion and drama to a fever pitch, but I’d love to see a fresh character that totally steps out of the mold in this world.