“When it seems like the world’s burning down around you, a little sense of normality can go a long way.” – Charlie Cochet
Title: Blood & Thunder (THIRDS: Book Two)
Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 240 Pages
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Blurb: When a series of bombs go off in a Therian youth center, injuring members of THIRDS Team Destructive Delta, and causing a rift between agents Dexter J. Daley and Sloane Brodie, peace seems unattainable. Especially when a new and frightening group, the Order of Adrasteia, appears to always be a step ahead. With panic and intolerance spreading and streets becoming littered with the Order’s propaganda, hostility between Humans and Therians grows daily. Dex and Sloane, along with the rest of the team, are determined to take down the Order and restore peace, not to mention settle a personal score. But the deeper the team investigates the bombings, the more they believe there’s a more sinister motive than a desire to shed blood and spread chaos.
Discovering the frightful truth behind the Order’s intent forces Sloane to confront secrets from a past he thought he’d left behind for good, a past that could not only destroy him and his career, but also the reputation of the organization that made him all he is today. Now more than ever, Dex and Sloane need each other, and, along with trust, the strength of their bond will mean the difference between justice and all-out war.
Review: Blood & Thunder, Act Two in this six act story arc—in which the relationship between Dexter Daley and his Therian partner, Sloane Brodie, just got complicated…er.
With much of the world building being accomplished in the series’ first book, Hell & High Water, Charlie Cochet gets right down to the business of the Destructive Delta team’s pursuit of Isaac Pearce, the fanatic who’s built himself an army of the like minded and is bent upon systematically dismantling the THIRDS, destroying the Therian race, and restoring Human superiority to his insane little corner of the world. Pearce has become a chillingly credible antagonist in this episode, as his extremism mirrors the conceit of both his distasteful belief system and his willingness to do whatever it takes to carry out his plot, which provides Blood & Thunder with a good source of suspense that complements the escalating relationship tension between Dex and Brodie.
Running parallel to the race to catch Pearce before he gets his hands on vital information that would guarantee his success in bring down Brodie, as well as upset the status quo, this installment of the series is a more deliberate exploration of the complicated romance between Dex and Brodie, lending it a much different but no less satisfying feel to Hell & High Water. There’s both external and internal conflict to draw the reader into Blood & Thunder, which invites an emotional participation that goes beyond the adrenaline rush of the first book and offers more than a few heart tugging moments between these two men as they attempt to navigate their relationship, and as is always the case with men like Brodie; men who have secrets to hide and hearts that have been broken; who don’t feel as if they deserve kindness, let alone to be loved; he has to take a few blindside hits along the way—one coming from Dex’s past—to help him realize what he could have, if he’s willing to take the risk, with the man who makes him crazy.
Dex’s cheekiness is proven not to have been a fluke in Hell & High Water, as it’s fully affirmed in Blood & Thunder and provided for some oustanding laugh-out-loud moments (He’s so awesome. Just sayin’.). He’s the perfect foil to Brodie’s serious side and troubled past. There’s not only revelation but acceptance of some obvious truths in this book—namely that Dexter J. Daley is irresistible, though that’s a more glaring truth to the reader than it is to Brodie for much of this novel’s pages, and gave the book more than a few touch and go moments. And then there was the not so obvious—namely that Sloane’s life as a First Gen holds some dreadful memories, things he’s going to have to come clean about if he and Dex are ever going to be more than friends with bennies.
As in Hell & High Water, the rest of Destructive Delta’s team members return and are as engaging as ever, four in particular—Calvin and Hobbs, and Ash and Cael—who appear to be getting a set up for their own feature novels within the series, and I for one can’t wait for those books. As much as I love Dex and Sloane, Hobbs and Ash have done nothing but grow more interesting as leading men candidates, Hobbs in particular, even as they remain somewhat enigmatic as role-players. There’s some story to reveal here, and it promises to be good.
Wisely, Charlie Cochet ties up some of the storyline from book one rather than carrying it over into the third book of the series, but not before leaving a wake of destruction behind, and by no means does it bring a decisive end to the problems facing the THIRDS. There’s a Human/Therian battle brewing, which gives fans of this series plenty of action and mayhem to look forward to in the remaining four books.
Blood & Thunder has all the elements of a great page-turner of a novel—romance, danger, suspense, humor, conflict, all built around two heroes who, it’s quite clear, are a little bit perfect for each other. These books have brought a splash of excitement to our summer reading fare, with the promise to propel us headlong into a thrilling autumn.