5 Stars, Genre Romance, J.A. Rock, Lisa Henry, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Sammy, Riptide Publishing

Review: The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool: Book One) by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

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Title: The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool: Book One)

Author: Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 215 Pages

At a Glance: Sign me up for the next one in the queue because this one was simply fantastic!

Blurb: Special Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness is having a rough week. Not only is he on a new diet, but he’s also been tasked with keeping Henry Page—the world’s most irritating witness—alive. Which is tough when Mac’s a breath away from killing the Shakespeare-quoting, ethically-challenged, egg-obsessed Henry himself. Unless killing isn’t really what Mac wants to do to him.

Con man Henry Page prefers to keep his distance from the law . . . though he wouldn’t mind getting a little closer to uptight, handsome Agent McGuinness. As the sole witness to a mob hit, Henry’s a valuable asset to the FBI. But he’s got his own agenda, and it doesn’t involve testifying.

When evidence surfaces of a mole in the FBI office, Mac and Henry are forced to go into hiding. Holed up in a fishing cabin, they’re surprised to discover that their feelings run more than skin deep. But as the mob closes in, Henry has to make his escape. And Mac has to decide how far he’s willing to go to keep Henry by his side.


Review: Oh, ladies, what have you done? Now I am going to have to sit on my thumbs for book number two, wondering what is going to happen to my beloved Henry, and whether or not Mac is going to go after him. The torture!

How lovely it is that the collaborative genius of Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock has spun yet another deliciously twisted tale of mayhem and insanity for us to enjoy. The Two Gentleman of Altona dances across the page like a slightly neurotic racecar, hell bent on following a path of destruction yet pulling itself back again and again with witty dialogue, smoking hot sexual innuendo, and a mysterious past—and all this just from the character of Henry Page. Meanwhile, the stoic, diet challenged Ryan “Mac” McGuinness tries to hold onto what little sanity he has left after spending just mere hours with the sweet little con artist who has slowly wrapped himself around Mac’s heartstrings. The two men could not be more diametrically opposite and more totally suited for each other!

The story is this: Henry, while running a con on an old woman, witnesses a murder in her kitchen. The murderer in question just happens to be someone Special Agent McGuinness has been trying to nab for quite a while. But Henry is a slippery one and manages to disguise himself and sneak past Mac before he can be hauled in to give his statement. Mac, however, is tenacious and good at his job, so it doesn’t take him long to track Henry down and, once again, attempt to get his cooperation. But Henry has been on the run for a while—from what or who is unclear, but whatever it is that has Henry scared, he won’t be stopping long enough to play nice with the FBI. Mac has other ideas and before long, the two men find themselves holed up in a remote cabin, hiding not only from the mobster intent on murdering them but from a potential mole in the FBI office as well. Being alone with Henry is a very bad idea for Mac, for he can’t seem to keep his mind on the job and not on Henry himself.

Oh golly, where to begin. You are either going to love Henry Page or want to murder him and for either, you will have to get in line behind Mac and wait your turn. Hyperactive, keen as a whip, and barely able to keep from spinning a lie or shoplifting some candy, Henry is a walking disaster who desperately needs someone to want him—to care for him—to want to come back to him at the end of the day. Mac has recently questioned his sexuality, only to decide he wants a nice, calm, standard guy who likes football, certainly not someone as erratic or frustrating as Henry. No sir, no way… So why does can’t Mac seem to keep his eyes off of Henry and on the job?

Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock create amazing characters. Mac and Henry are real, flesh and blood type guys whose dance is captivating and deliciously fun. The foil, which Mac’s solid, curmudgeonly personality creates for the whirling dervish that is Henry Page, is just genius. Quick and witty interchanges keep this novel alive, making its pacing near breathless and the sexual tension between the two men almost palpable. However, the real stroke of genius here is Henry’s shady past. The mysterious Viola and the cadre of “friends” or fellow con artists he hangs out with when in town all lurk in the shadows where Henry religiously keeps them protected, even from Mac.

The Two Gentlemen of Altona is the first in a three part series called Playing the Fool. If this first installment is any indication of the ride we are set to take with this collection of novels, sign me up for the next one in the queue because this one was simply fantastic!

You can buy The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool: Book One) here:

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