Author: Edward Kendrick
Publisher: JMS Books
Pages/Word Count: 201 Pages
At a Glance: A very good read, indeed
Reviewed By: Janet
Blurb: Undercover cop Dan Hudson is framed for blackmail and kicked off the NOPD force. Enraged about that, and the fact that his lover refuses to stand by him, Dan moves to Denver, where he becomes Dirk Steele. He finds a job working for the Powells, who are pawnbrokers … and fences.
When he proposes to them than he put together a team to steal on demand for the Powells’ less than legitimate clients, a deal is struck and the team is formed. The team consists of Maverick, a thief; Tripp, a street kid who shoplifts to survive; and Fey, another street kid who is an excellent pickpocket and petty thief.
Now the question becomes, will the team succeed? And, equally important, will the attraction between Dirk, who has sworn off love, and Maverick — whose credo is only down and dirty sex — grow into something more? Or will they remain just ‘friends with benefits’?
Time will tell as the team takes on increasingly difficult jobs and a man from Dirk’s past shows up who could possibly throw a monkey wrench into the works.
Review: One of the facets of Edward Kendrick’s books that I enjoy immensely is his world building skills. In this story we meet dirk, a man was is disenchanted with his life and who wants to start all over. We watch as he moves across states and finds another city to live in, and watch him figure out how to make a living there. When that takes Dirk to the wrong side of the law, we are sympathetic towards him due to his past and his poor handling of the law prior. It is a very different take on starting over and is proof of Kendrick’s skill when he makes it so believable and draws us further into the story.
The characters that surround Dirk are selected with care. We see the possibilities as he does, and as they come together to form a crew, we can see that Dirk has built a family of sorts to grow with. The romance that develops between Dirk and Maverick does so slowly, allowing trust to be established between them, as they have both been betrayed before.
The first half of the book is Dirk reflecting back on the previous two years since he started over. The story moves to the present with the introduction of Al Galvez, a figure from Dirk’s past. The entire pace of the story increases with the shift in focus, and I found myself more engaged with the characters as a result. The threat that Al represents creates anxiety, and the response from the characters keeps the pages turning quickly. When they all decide to relocate it doesn’t feel like running, rather protecting their family and their future. This was a truly fascinating glimpse into the lives of a bunch of characters on the wrong side of the law that didn’t feel like the wrong side at all. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Dirk and Maverick grow into their HEA, and also seeing the hope they had for their future. The true strength of the book comes from the reality that Kendrick builds of the life of a thief. The tricks of the trade that he walks us through, how to research your target and how to use all the tools the characters will need, are described in such a realistic manner that you simply believe the world of the book. Dirk has the background as an undercover police officer to make this foray believable and that makes all the difference in this book. A very good read, indeed.
You can buy Wrong Side of the Law here: