“There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed.” ~ Gautama Buddha
One of the most dangerous situations law enforcement officers face is domestic violence. Going in, officers know they're at a disadvantage and dealing with people who either love or hate each other or both, and may turn on the officer in a second due to their of their conflicting emotions. When Russ Morgan takes a case in which the culprit is someone in the client's family, he knows it's risky, but still decides to accept the assignment. When Russ gets to the family ranch and experiences the degree of animosity the family members feel for each other, he has second thoughts; but Russ doesn't give up easily and forges ahead, determined to solve the case.
Russ finally gives in to Colin's charms and they began spending time together. The longer they are with each other, the harder it is to be apart. Russ still has serious concerns about their age difference, but Colin calls him on it, asking Russ if that's just an excuse and not the real reason for his hesitation. Russ wants to be able to love Colin the way he deserves to be loved but fears he can't. Despite the difference in their ages, they find they have a lot in common. Russ opens up, telling Colin about the lover he lost due to his alcoholism. Colin listens patiently, then reminds Russ he's no longer that man and their relationship is a completely different situation. While he's away, Russ finds he misses Colin more than he thought he would. Especially with all the venom surrounding him, it makes him long for a quiet, comfortable night together.
Discovering who trashed Sarah's marijuana crop proves to be a difficult job. Wading through the evidence and abundance of emotion, Russ's limits are tested, but fortunately, through his experience and training, he can cope effectively. His gift for reading auras comes in quite handy, telling him when the suspects are thinking and feeling something different than they say they are. With so much strong emotion flying around, Russ takes his firearm with him, fearing he may need it. He's expecting some kind of confrontation at any minute. When tragedy strikes, Russ is extremely relieved he heeded his own advice.
This is a complex mystery, which had me considering that everyone may have committed the crime. I tried to follow the clues as Russ laid them out, but kept running down the wrong path, but it wasn't frustrating; it was exhilarating. I was on the edge of my chair for most of the book. Russ had me suspecting everyone! I even wondered if “the butler”—which in this case would be the cook—could have been responsible. I was delighted to see Colin made an appearance and happy to see that they are making progress. I come from a very close family, so the dysfunction of this family was sad and disturbing, but Lloyd did a fantastic job of defining the characters with their many flaws and warped thinking. If you like a book about dysfunctional families, both physical and emotional destruction, private detectives, hot cops, and beautiful law clerks, then this may be the story for you. Thank you, Lloyd, for making me feel and think.