Perfect. This is the perfect book for me and it was written perfectly and everything happened the way I wanted to, etc. I was particularly pleased because this is one of those romance serials where every story is a different couple, is usually shorter than average, and the general goal is to get to the HEA of true-love. In these books, the plot is often just a way to get the romance from point A to point Z.
The plot is typical for a mystery thriller, but it's still interesting and meshes well with the romance. Both are necessary to make the book. (The romance wouldn't work well without the plot, either.) The pacing is perfect. There's the right amount of action, dialogue, and description. It's shorter than I'd like but it's just the right length for the story. The climax is well done and maybe I'm an idiot but I didn't figure it out what was going on until shortly before the characters do. The romantic conflict wasn't black and white and everyone's behavior made sense to me.
There's the right amount of fear, suspense, danger, etc. No one is too stupid to live. The only dumb move is made by a trained cop whose choice is sort of reasonable and definitely believable under the circumstances. They look at all leads and clues. They do what they need to do to solve the case, even when they don't like it.
The characters are believable to me and their motivations and actions follow their personalities. Tony's struggle with his feelings felt more real to me than the typical rushed GFY cop coming out. This isn't instalove, it's an established, albeit closeted, relationship. And the sex was hot.
Ryan's needs, wants and desires are conflicting. At times I couldn't understand why he stayed with Tony but at other times it made sense. Tony's partner knows about Ryan because he figured it out, which I think is believable. I loved all of the characters except the ones I'm not supposed to like.
But the best part? Something that I've wanted in an M/M romance forever but sadly is never there: When Tony becomes too jealous and during sex he insists that Ryan belongs to him, no one else, Ryan is freaked out. He says that jealousy never leads to good things. So we get the intense emotions from knowing a character is jealous while acknowledging that a possessive lover is dangerous. For that reason alone I want to give the book six stars.
I will definitely be reading more of Kersten's work.
6 stars rounded down because of technological limitations.