Interesting (and long winded) start to a much loved series...

Cut & Run - Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban

So fitting for the relationship between Ty and Zane!

Not going to do a rehash of the plot...just want to clarify my thoughts about the book and to once again equivocate my feelings because this stupid three star review makes everyone think that I didn't like the book. That's really not the case, I promise! It's just that at the end of this book, I didn't put it down with a sense of satisfaction from a story well told, a case closed, a happy-ever-after. I put it down with a sense of anticipation for what's to come, and here's why:

Ty and Zane are such fascinating and complex characters! At any given point in the story, it would be hard to pick a thought out of this book and attribute it to one or the other. Which is, I think, completely opposite from what most people would think starting off reading this but eh... I guess I feel like I still don't know them very well.

"Are you...are you feeling this too?" Ty asked against his better instincts.
There was a hitch in Zane's movement that gave away his reaction to Ty's words, and his hand stayed jammed into his pocket as he shifted his weight and then his eyes returned to Ty. Zane searched the other man for some clue, some sign, as his mild apprehension was overwhelmed by want. Want for something of Ty he couldn't define. Zane didn't say yes...but he didn't say no."

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book. However, I get the feeling that this was written with a series in mind. I don't think I was supposed to know either Ty or Zane all that well. I guess I'm supposed to figure them out slowly, over the series, maybe? But for me...I've seen this tactic done better. It's not so much a mystery here as it is frustrating. I kept feeling like I was right on the verge of a breakthrough...just a fraction of a page away from having an "aha" moment. But it never came. And I still feel like it's coming, sometime within the next book, maybe? I hope so.

I do feel like expectations played a part in my lackluster rating. I expected a more lighthearted story, despite the somewhat heavy subject matter. When I thought of the banter between Ty and Zane, I thought of silly pokes, sexual innuendos and swapping insults interspersed with the occasional gravity filled conversation. However, for the most part, this was a serious book about two guys with LOADS and LOADS of issues between the two of them. And while I do think that they are good for each other, I also think that they bring out these issues in each other; bring them to the forefront for examination. And that always causes a stir. Although there really were a few moments of laugh out loud funny:

"Zane's good hand flashed out and smacked Ty upside the backside of the head.
"Ow! What the hell?" Ty cried as he rubbed his head and huffed. "You're lucky I repress the instakill for you," he muttered.

and other moments that were oddly...fascinatingly...tender.

"Ty," he said quietly. Ty glanced at him and frowned slightly. "My ass hurts too," Zane admitted quietly..."


"He used to think he'd be able to quit drinking once he'd had his fill. He was already scared to death it wouldn't work with Ty either."

Gay-for-you stories are some of my favorites because they are so titillating...the feeling of taboo, of forbidden love or lust is there and it's exciting! And this story took it one step forward, with one guy having experimented but sort of subdued his urges due to his military background, and the other guy going wild with his urges out of an odd sense of obligation to his dead wife. Basically, both men are bisexual, but it still retains that GFY feel.

One big problem I had with the story was how much dialogue there was. Holy bajeez, there was a lot of dialogue! And usually the amount of chatting doesn't bother me but this book was so inundated with it that I just about lost my ever loving mind! To be quite frank, their dialogue was tedious...because nothing ever came from it. They talked in circles, and even at the end, they could never just come out and say what they meant. This excessive amount of talking led to a decided lack of action. The serial murderer and his victims aspect of this book actually took a back seat to Ty and Zane's chit-chatting. I wanted more action, or at least more movement.

For the grammar Nazis out there, I have to mention that especially at the beginning of the book, there were quite a few oopsies. But it did seem to clear up later, and it wasn't really enough for me to be bothered with it. What DID bother me about the formatting of this book was the point of view switch that just about made me pass out from dizziness. We get both Ty and Zane's point of view, and it switches...often after one or two sentences, without warning, and you just have to read the whole thought before you understand who just HAD the thought or spoke the sentence or whatever. Confusing? Why yes, yes it was. And it made for slow reading at first. But after awhile, I got used to it and it didn't seem so blatant.

One of my favorite things about this book is how both Ty and Zane have flaws...MAJOR flaws...but these flaws make them real, make them human, in a way that you don't often get in romantic fiction. Their flaws aren't romanticized or glossed over. Example: Zane is an alcoholic, a recovering drug addict. The man is addicted to anything and everything that he tries. And it's a prevalent issue in this book.

"But I pick the bottle up the next weekend. The next day. maybe even that night," Zane said softly. "Just until I get my fill. Feels good, not hurting anybody. Once I've had enough, I'll stop. I won't drink too much this time."
Ty turned his head slightly, but didn't quite look back at Zane. "I understand what an addiction is," he said in a low, hard voice. "Not everyone is that weak."

It doesn't make him a bad person. It's not WHO he is, but it IS a part of him. A large part.

Now, I really did love both Ty and Zane. And I liked them together as well. They seem to just will be grumpy, the other will just automatically take over and put out these comforting vibes. At other times, they'd antagonize each other like nothing else, but even that would always lead somewhere good for them. It was interesting; honestly, I've never read anything like it. Will definitely continue the series. Hopefully there is a bit more action, a little less back and forth.

A huge thanks to all of my wonderful friends who encouraged me to read this.