Sticks & Stones

Madeleine Urban; Abigail Roux
Sticks & Stones
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Dreamspinner Press
Release Date
February 2010
Book 2 of Cut & Run
LGBTQ, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

Six months after nearly losing their lives to a serial killer in New York City, FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are suffering through something almost as frightening: the monotony of desk duty. When they're ordered to take a vacation for the good of everyone's sanity, Ty bites the bullet and takes Zane home with him to West Virginia, hoping the peace and quiet of the mountains will give them the chance to explore the explosive attraction they've so far been unable to reconcile with their professional partnership.

Ty and Zane, along with Ty's father and brother, head up into the Appalachian mountains for a nice, relaxing hike deep into the woods... where no one will hear them scream. They find themselves facing danger from all directions: unpredictable weather, the unrelenting mountains, wild animals, fellow hikers with nothing to lose, and the most terrifying challenge of all. Each other.

Book Review by BookAddict (reviewer)
Dec 24, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
160 people found the following review helpful
With a title like STICKS & STONES, I'm reminded of a little phrase I learned as a child. "Sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". I would like to know who came up with this little saying because I want to hit them with sticks and stones. I've found this phrase to be a lie. In this story, I believe my feelings are validated by what is said to Ty.

Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are back together again. Except these two special agents are benched until their psych evaluations pass muster. Ty and Zane go on a short vacation under duress to rest up. Ty invites Zane back to his family in West Virginia. Ty's family is just as zany as he is and the family resemblance is clear. Zane is brought into the fold to his surprise and it's rather sad to learn how big a contrast it is against the backdrop of his own family. We don't learn Zane's family issues but it's clear they are estranged.

The meat of this story comes through when Ty, his father, brother and Zane head off for a camping trip. This is a camping trip from hell. That is the best way I can describe it. What really shows through is Ty and Zane's team work and love for each other. Despite the dancing around their feelings, actions spoke quite loudly to me. Basically the four men come across some crazy treasure hunters that have no qualms in killing for their mythical treasure.

I'm impressed with Ms. Urban's attention to detail. The conflict in this story is so realistic and just pulls me into the story. Everything is plausible and her knowledge or research of hiking and being in the mountains is impressive to a city girl like me. Her description and how she shows us the story paints a clear picture for me. I feel as though I'm really there with the four guys.

This story is more than just a mystery thriller. There is also a deep character development, which is why I rated this story with five stars. We learn more about Ty and it just breaks my heart. The way his father treated him and the words he said cut me so deeply. For a person who has also had a father say cutting things to me, this just caused me painful agony in sympathy for Ty. Each piece I learn about how Ty has been shaped, the more my heart hurts for him. He is truly a man who wants to do good and has suffered so much. I fall a bit more in love with him each time I learn about what he had to live through.

This is only book two in the Cut & Run series. I can't wait to read the rest of this series. I read this book in one sitting. I highly recommend this book to people who love suspense with strong yet flawed male leads.
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