Title: Dead Speak
Author: Pandora Pine
Narrator: Michael Pauley
Series: Cold Case Psychic #1
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: 6/22/2018
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Military / Law Enforcement, M/M Paranormal
Page Count: 214
Listening Length: 7 hours 32 minutes
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Narration Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Overall Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Demoted to the cold case squad after shooting a suspect in the line of duty, Detective Ronan O’Mara knows that his career with the Boston Police Department is hanging by a thread. His first assignment is the case of Michael Frye, a five-year-old boy who has been missing for seven years. With no new leads or witnesses to interview, Ronan has to start from scratch to solve this mystery. When he sees a handsome local psychic on television, Ronan figures he’s got nothing to lose in enlisting the man’s help to find Michael.
Psychic Tennyson Grimm is riding high after helping South Shore cops find a missing child. He’s even being courted by the Reality Show Network about a program showcasing his abilities. He has no idea that his midday appointment with a customer, who instead turns out to be a police detective, is going to change the course of his life and his career.
With the blessing of the BPD, which badly needs an image makeover, Ronan is allowed to bring Tennyson in to assist with the Frye case. Being thrown together in front of cameras is never easy, but add in an emotional missing-person investigation, a tight-lipped spirit, and a cop who’s a skeptic, and it definitely puts a strain on both men and their working relationship.
When the child’s body is found, the work to identify his killer begins. As Ronan and Tennyson get closer to solving the case, the initial attraction they feel for one another explodes into a passion neither man can contain.
Will working together to bring Michael’s killer to justice seal their fledgling bond, or will unexpected revelations in the case tear them apart forever?
Dead Speak and the entire Cold Case Psychic series caught my eye a few times, but when the audiobook released with a narrator I’ve listened to and enjoyed before, I decided to hesitate no longer. Overall, this was a good story with solid characters and an interesting enough case to hook me for more.
I have a soft spot for law enforcement romances and romantic suspense books and also love a good mystery or forensic crime novel. However, because I’ve read a lot within these tropes, I’m a bit picky. For me, Dead Speak fell a bit on the cutsey side of the genre. The case itself was a solid idea, but there really was no mystery as to the perpetrator, just how it all would work out. For the most part, I liked that aspect of it and there were a few surprises along the way, but the action scenes never had my pulse racing or frantically listening for the big reveal or apprehension. Instead, a lot of the police investigative work, and even some of the psychic aspects, felt a bit convenient and almost trite (e.g. repeatedly referencing TV police procedural dramas). That said, I did like Tennyson and Ronan as a couple and partnership. Their personalities conflicted just enough to promise some good banter and an interesting working relationship; and despite the insta-love romance, the pair made a cute couple. I wish we could have seen more of that emotional chemistry develop between these two in Dead Speak, but I’m hopeful that will be explored more in the subsequent books. I was also pretty confused regarding Ronan’s ex-husband. That connection and relationship really never made sense, and much like some of the psychic aspects, it was glazed over rather than explored adequately, making it hard to really accept and embrace.
In the end, I was back and forth about my feelings on Dead Speak. I liked it, but had some issues with it, and yet, I’m definitely considering revisiting the series. I do think the narrator brought a good bit of life to the story and delivered a solid performance. The reading was smooth and Mr. Pauley enunciated clearly while inserting the appropriate level of emotion for the scene. If you are considering this series, I would certainly recommend giving the audiobook version a try.