Book: Red Fish, Dead Fish
Series: Fish Out Of Water #2
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publication date: August 4, 2017
Length: 330 pages
Reviewed by Erin
They must work together to stop a psychopath—and save each other.
Two months ago Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the triggerman remains at large—and the body count is mounting.
Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens’s time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.
Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted—and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her—Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.
I know before the release of Fish Out of Water Amy Lane stated she was nervous, wondering if she'd be able to pull off romantic suspense. After reading the second book in the Fish Out of Water series, Red Fish, Dead Fish, I can unequivocally say that she has absolutely NOTHING to worry about! I'm here to tell you that she can write the HELL out of it, no lie. Red Fish, Dead Fish is action packed, suspenseful, a little gruesome, a lot swoony (though maybe in a little bit different way) and totally fantastic. You can't read Red Fish, Dead Fish without reading Fish Out of Water first. It's a continuation of the investigation of serial killer, Tim Owens, and Jackson and Ellery are still reeling from injuries and trauma from the things that happened in Fish Out of Water.
Be prepared. Red Fish, Dead Fish is a much grittier, a much more emotionally charged book than book one. The relationship between Jackson and Ellery is still fragile, but both are all in and fully committed to making things work. I have to say, as emotionally scarred as Jackson is, as damaged and guarded and prickly as he can be, Ellery is the one that really gets me in the heart. His faith, his unconditional love, his fierceness when it comes to protecting Jackson—whether it's from bad guys, his past, or himself—is some pretty spectacular stuff. Jackson for all his sarcasm and bite really can't resist Ellery's earnestness and honesty. Nor should he. Jackson really gets put through the ringer in Red Fish. Amy doesn't spare him anything. He gets bloody and bruised, he has to face his horrific past in regards to his mother and mostly horrible father figure, he's being stalked by a psychotic serial killer, and on top of all of that, his walls regarding Ellery are crumbling faster than he can build them back up. He struggles, a lot, and it'll break your heart.
The suspense part of Red Fish is done brilliantly. It's bloody, it's pretty chilling, and it’s dangerous. You feel it all and are on the edge of your seat. Sure, you know Jackson and Ellery are going to be okay in the end (after all, there IS a book 3!) but that doesn't mean you don't have moments of "oh, shit, that was CLOSE!" This just makes for more heart stopping moments and really adds to the overall feeling of danger just around every corner. At the end, where Jackson is in the hospital, again, you realize just how much Jackson has been through.
"I'm okay," Jackson said, because God forbid he not.
"I'm not," Ellery admitted—one of them had to say it. "Jade said she watched you die once. That's twice now, Jackson. How many lives do you think you have?"
"One where you and me get a little peace," Jackson said, closing his eyes. "That would be nice."
If there are ever two people who need a little peace, it's Jackson and Ellery! But, with there being a book 3, I don't think that peace is coming any time soon. There's still one more bad guy to track down, and boy is this one going to be fun! For fans of Ace and Sonny from Racing for the Sun, get ready to squee because those boys are going to be back in a big way, I think. We've already gotten a surprise connection in Red Fish, Dead Fish, one which Amy Lane does with her usual brilliance, and I can NOT wait to see how things all play out. There's also another new character introduced, AJ, and I'm hoping beyond hope he's in the next one. Jade, Mike, Ellery's mom, Taylor, Kryzynski, and of course Bob the Cat all make appearances and it was so great to see them all again. I do wish we would have gotten some Kaden and Jackson time, but maybe in the next one, Amy?
There are promises made between Ellery and Jackson, and some incredibly vulnerable, painful, and achingly tender moments between them. I sighed, a lot, and my heart both hurt and warmed at these two loving one another. The "I love yous" are especially poignant and I'll admit to having my doubts about these two in the first book, but not anymore. They're the real deal and each other's biggest strengths. Ellery really, this guy. I adore him. You might think he's the weaker of the two of them since he's the lawyer (shark though he is) not the ex-cop and big, burly PI guy, but man, Ellery is made of steel. I suppose you'd have to be to put up with the things Jackson makes him go through, but still. And Jackson opening up, showing his fears, will completely melt your heart.
Red Fish, Dead Fish was a roller coaster of a ride and I can't wait to see what the next one brings!
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