Title: Hacked Up
Author: Ethan Stone
Publisher: Stone Publishing
Release Date: 2/6/2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Military / Law Enforcement
Page Count: 264
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Seattle is being plagued by a string of gruesome murders. For Detective Peter Tao, it’s a career-making case, but he’s struggling to find a lead. How is the killer choosing his victims? What is he trying to prove?
With a long list of suspects and nothing to connect them, Peter is more determined than ever to apprehend the murderer. Then Peter gets the one vital piece of evidence that ties everything together. Now he’ll have to look beyond the obvious to identify the killer before anyone else is murdered.
Solve the mystery in this fast-moving crime thriller by Ethan Stone
2.5 stars- The twists kept me reading
I’ve been reading a lot of investigative and mystery based m/m romance lately, so Hacked Up sounded right up my alley. I’d definitely consider this novel primarily a law enforcement/ crime solving novel that includes a bit of a romance on the side. While the murder scene and initial chapter captured my interest, I struggled to stay engaged throughout the book. I try not to compare novels against one another, but when you read a lot of a specific trope it’s inevitable. In comparison to the other books I’ve recently read, Hacked Up fell flat.
The story immediately launches into the investigation, revealing elements of the main character’s personality and history along the way. Hacked Up concentrates on Peter Tao and is exclusively told from his point of view. Detective Tao and his partner quickly determine they’re dealing with a serial killer and I eagerly jumped on board, hoping for a fast-paced police procedural story that delivered some twists. The twists were decidedly my favorite aspect of the book. Even when I figured out one component of the crimes, new evidence arose that led down a different path. I enjoyed the premise of the murder spree. It was a different spin and gave a believable link between victims.
The other details simply never came together to hook me. The pacing felt disjointed, the writing didn’t flow smoothly, and I struggled with Detective Tao. Although I liked Peter for the most part, his interactions with secondary characters left me conflicted. I was never convinced he was the gruff, confident police detective originally presented and his character never developed enough to explain the discrepancies. I hoped the romance would help in that respect, but it never fully took off. I wanted to be drawn into the story, but I found myself a bit disinterested overall. I wanted suspense and intrigue, but the emotion was never palpable. So despite having a good murder mystery and unforeseen twists, the execution of Hacked Up left me wanting.