Title: The Agency
Author: Edward Kendrick
Publisher: JMS Books
Length: 120 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Murder Mystery
At a Glance: Though the romance fell a little flat for me, the sleuthing of the story kept me engaged, and I found I really enjoyed their journey to uncovering the decade-old murder.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: When runaway Kip Faulkner was seventeen, he witnessed two men commit a murder. Fear kept him from telling Sheriff Long the truth about what he’d seen. Guilt made him turn his life around. Eleven years later, he’s the owner of a reputable private investigation agency in Denver.
John Rigby looks like a typical biker, tattoos and all. But Kip discovers he’s the antithesis of that stereotype when he hires John to work for his agency.
When Kip learns about a recent killing exactly like the one he witnessed and recognizes one of the killers in a blurry photo on the news, he vows to find out how the two murders are connected … and if there have been more.
With John’s help, can he learn the truth behind the murders while the two men fight their mutual attraction? Or will Kip become the next victim?
Review: Kip and John’s journey to uncovering a decade-old murder Kip witnessed, when he finds out the same killer is a person of interest in a new murder, was totally engaging on the sleuthing side. Though the romantic portion of the story fell a little flat for my personal tastes, I still was still interested in what happened all those years ago and how it would all play out.
One thing I appreciated, which admittedly is something others might not, is their investigation wasn’t all hitting the ground running. Instead, the truth is uncovered through a lot of research and tossing ideas and theories back and forth, while still living their day to day lives and working on other cases. In a lot of mysteries there is non-stop action as the super-sleuth is out interviewing people and stirring the pot (which, to be fair, I also quite enjoy), but that wasn’t the case here and it set this story apart. Kip witnessed the murder a decade before, never knew the original person killed, and didn’t know the actual killers. There was no one, other than himself, deciding to pursue the investigation quietly. All he had was a face and how the men died as a starting point. There is also the little snag that coming forward now could cause problems for keeping what he saw a secret, so he couldn’t really go to the police. He spends his time researching parameters of the murders and trying to piece together some sort of theory. He finally comes clean with his new investigator, John, who jumps into digging up the truth with Kip.
There was action, though it was fairly minimal—no real stirring up the pot and having the bad guys focus on them until the end, as they decide how best to draw out the killers and figure out who is ultimately responsible. There is tension and fear as they begin to execute their plan. What will happen? Will they take the bait? They try to control the narrative to the best of their abilities, but no plan is foolproof, and that fear lingers in Kip’s and John’s minds. The end of the investigation was done in a way that makes sense, and Kip and John make the best choice for them in the end. It finishes nicely with an HEA and everything wrapped up via a concise summary of life after, and what happened to the two in the intervening years.
While their efforts in uncovering the truth behind the murders had my attention, the romance did not. It was more of a tell not show situation. It was slow-burn, which usually is my preference in order to truly connect to the characters, individually and as a couple, but in this case their relationship was almost an afterthought. Mostly because the time they spent together solo, getting to know the little things about one another, was often skipped over or summed up in a couple paragraphs, until something new happened with the investigation. I didn’t really feel them or what they felt for each other and so whether or not they ended up together was inconsequential for me. Usually the lack of connection to the main characters and their relationship can throw me right out of a book, especially if it’s one I got for the romantic plot…but for some reason that didn’t happen here. I think I would have enjoyed the story more with a bit more focus on their fledgling relationship and giving it more depth, but it didn’t completely break me out of the mystery and of the murder Kip witnessed.
The other thing you will find here is a couple situations where the yeah right factor comes into play. You know those situations; the ones where law enforcement and/or investigative techniques are totally blown, or someone does something that most certainly would never be allowed and breaks all sorts of protocols but is portrayed like no big deal—when it most certainly is a bid deal. It happened a few times, mostly at the end. But, it’s so common and at this point I don’t really knock those parts of stories. I go in knowing there is going to be a couple and just ride with it and enjoy the journey for what it is.
If you are looking for a romance book with a nice little murder mystery to go along with it, you may want to give this one a pass. But if you don’t mind the romance taking a back seat and want a little whodunnit in your life, you may just enjoy The Agency.
You can buy The Agency here:
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