Title: Fair Game
Author: Josh Lanyon
Series: All’s Fair #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 8/1/2010
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Thriller/Suspense Romance, M/M Military / Law Enforcement
Page Count: 270
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
A crippling knee injury forced Elliot Mills to trade in his FBI badge for dusty chalkboards and bored college students. Now a history professor at Puget Sound university, the former agent has put his old life behind him—but it seems his old life isn’t finished with him.
A young man has gone missing from campus—and as a favor to a family friend, Elliot agrees to do a little sniffing around. His investigations bring him face-to-face with his former lover, Tucker Lance, the special agent handling the case.
Things ended badly with Tucker, and neither man is ready to back down on the fight that drove them apart. But they have to figure out a way to move beyond their past and work together as more men go missing and Elliot becomes the target in a killer’s obsessive game…
Great blend of crime investigation and romance
Fair Game is an exciting law enforcement mystery with a romance element. Briskly paced throughout the book, it follows a former FBI agent turned college professor as he gets pulled into an investigation surrounding missing students. My previous genre of choice was forensic crime novels and mysteries, so this was a perfect blend of my past and current reading preferences.
Narrated in third person, the book is told exclusively from Elliot’s point of view. This lent mystery to some elements, especially regarding his relationship with the other main character. The writing itself was fantastic. Detailed but punchy, it kept me engaged throughout the story. I liked the natural conflict created by Elliot still coming to terms with a career ending injury. The adjustment included a well of physical and emotional pain he had to wade through and the author did an excellent job weaving these aspects into the storyline. The investigation also reconnects Elliot with his former lover, Tucker, who still is an FBI agent. Not only did the connection give substance to Elliot’s involvement and knowledge of the details from an active case, but it also gave root to a second chance romance of sort. There was a lot of tension between Tucker and Elliot given their sudden split following Elliot’s injury and it made for good dialogue while revealing a substantial amount about both characters. The residual hurt and anger came through clearly, and the relationship progression felt natural given the characters’ personalities. I liked that the romance never took away from the mystery and crime investigation arc. Rather it lent character development while advancing the plotline as the two main characters discussed theories or evidence.
Though the characters and romance were well developed, what really captured my attention was the cat and mouse game. The author masterfully creates tension and suspense that left me holding my breath at key moments. The breakthrough in the case came rather unexpectedly, but the investigation still took a pragmatic approach that fit with the characters’ backgrounds. I’m definitely hooked on this couple and eager to see how their relationship progresses and what trouble they are immersed in next.