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I'm a hopeful cynic.

Cut & Run (Cut & Run Series)

Cut & Run  - Madeleine Urban, Abigail Roux I should start by clarifying that I really liked this book. Mainly because of the two main characters, Ty and Zane. They were mostly successfully portrayed and the chemistry between them was more than intense. The overall story was well-delivered and it kept me interested the entire time. And I absolutely loved the last pages of the book, right after they discovered who the serial killer was.I always rate my reads based on my overall impression, regardless of any details that may have bothered me a little along the way. And in the case of Cut & Run, the heroes have stayed with me; I catch myself thinking about them and wanting to know more about them and, for me, that says something about the book. So I already know I want to read the next installment in the series.But since the journey is as important as the destination itself, I would like to express some of the thoughts that crossed my mind while I went through this story.• I started reading this knowing it’s an m/m story but I didn’t get any gay vibes from either character until I was about 30% into the book, when both of them admit to themselves they are attracted to each other. I understand that both of them kind of swing both ways and that maybe, at first, they didn’t notice the attraction between them for what it was because they disliked each other so much, but I would have liked the buildup to be more smooth, less abrupt since in their case the attraction was anything but instant. I felt like they shifted from first gear to overdrive in no time.• The “dinner with Serena Scott” situation. We learn that she and Ty have unresolved issues, they don’t like each other (he considers her a “raging bitch” and she thinks “he’s trouble”) and they don’t care to hide it, insulting one another through dinner. Zane, however, is supposed to like her; at least he doesn’t have anything against her. She’s even flirting with him at first. It is clear that Zane trusts her opinion and that he believes she can help them with the case. Also, it’s been a mere couple of days since he paired up with Ty, his dislike of the other agent still very much intact. And what does he do? He unexpectedly insults Serena exhibiting uncalled-for rudeness just because she’s picking a fight with the partner he himself considers a nuisance. I found that behaviour at least weird.• I’m not sure if this was an exercise in style but the constant change of POV confused me and, at first, it didn’t allow me to get invested in the story. But I got used to it after a while.• Again, with regard to style: I understand that Ty didn’t like Zane one little bit at first but his constant “shut-ups” made him look like a kindergarten kid. And he kept using the expression throughout the book. He even told that old man in the NY bookstore to shut up while he waited for Zane. Maybe it’s me but I don’t consider the use of “shut up” in conversations between adults very cool. Also, Ty kept licking his lips throughout the book: he licked his lips thoughtfully, he licked his lips and tilted his head, he raised his chin and licked his lips, he licked his lips and lowered his head, he licked his lips as he hesitated, he blinked at the doorway and licked his lips, he sat opposite and licked his lips slowly, he took a step back and liked his lips nervously, he just licked his lips, he lowered his head and licked his lips slowly, he looked down at the toes of his socks briefly before licking his lips and nodding, he licked his lips and watched Zane for another second, he licked his lips and grinned slowly, he shook his head and licked his lips, he licked his lips uncertainly, he licked his lips nervously and shrugged, he licked his lips in anticipation, he licked his lips and looked away, he licked his dry lips, he licked his lips and opened his mouth to speak, he agreed then licked his lips.An awful lot of lip-licking.• There were a few arbitrary elements in the book that didn’t seem to contribute anything to the story, like that conversation Ty had on his cell with someone in a Middle-Eastern language that sounded like Farsi to Zane. • Strangely, the authors were very careful not to mention certain terms during the first major sex scene between the characters. No reference to “lube” or “lubricant” only to “supplies”; no “opening up” (with fingers) but an “intimate touch”, no “hole” or anything similar but “where he hoped to soon bury himself.” I can’t see the reason why they chose to avoid this terminology. It’s not like such terms are considered taboo in m/m romance novels…• I didn’t exactly get why they kept endangering each other’s lives by not receiving proper medical care when they got hurt. I understand that the scene where Ty takes all that shrapnel out of Zane’s back helps toward the bonding of the characters but Ty’s concussion was much more serious and he could have sustained permanent damage in those 24-odd hours he spent away from the hospital. Then again, maybe their commitment to the case and their resolve not to get yanked off of it come hell or high water was reason enough.• Ty answering that telephone call during the second major sex scene was something I could have done without. It was demeaning both for the woman (all right, she should have taken the message and not have called, plus she was being a bitch but still) and for Ty. I get it. She was a casual fuck while he tried to get over Zane. But that doesn’t mean he should behave like an ass afterward, having her rant away while he screwed Zane into the mattress. Then again, no one said finesse is Ty’s forte or that he has this kind of sensibilities.• My general impression was that the text could have benefited from some additional editing since there were a few inconsistencies in the time line or in the characters’ actions. E.g. Zane lighting a cigarette and “blowing the smoke away from the door” and then, after a couple of lines, “sticking the unlit cigarette behind his ear.”But anyway. Like I said at the beginning of this review, I liked this book. A lot. And it was exactly because of that, because I truly grew to care about the characters, that I took the time to record all the aforementioned details. I don’t notice so many things and invest so much time in books that don’t have anything to tell me.Dreamspinner Press kindly provided me with an electronic copy of this book through NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review