Release Day Review: Friendly Fire by Cari Z

friendly-fireFriendly Fire by Cari Z
Genre: M/M Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: October 17th, 2016
Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Elliot McKenzie is the king of reinvention. Five years after losing his job and his lover and almost going to prison, his self-help program, Charmed Life, is more successful than he’d ever dreamed. He thinks he’s put his sordid past firmly behind him, until he starts receiving cryptic threats . . . and realizes it might not be as over as he’d hoped.

Security expert Lennox West has been lost since a deadly skirmish in Afghanistan led to his forced retirement from the Army. His PTSD makes helping his ex raise their daughter a challenge. When his ex’s sister asks him to set her boss up with a security system, Lennox isn’t expecting anyone like Elliot McKenzie—a man who captures his attention and makes him feel relaxed for the first time since leaving the service.

But Elliott is dangerously stubborn. Even as the threats against him escalate, he refuses to involve the police, and Lennox fears that stubbornness could kill him. A battle of wills ensues that brings them closer to each other than either man expected. But if the threats turn real, they might not live long enough to get their future together.

Wendy’s Review

Obviously there was something intriguing about Friendly Fire or I wouldn’t have requested it, but I was also prepared for disappointment.  (Isn’t that the way it always is?)  I loved the premise of second chances, and reinventing ourselves after our lives plummet, but I think I’ve also been burned one too many times by similar books.  The ‘trained professional’ trope is popular, and easily goes south.  Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up liking Friendly Fire.

Starting with what was good: I really enjoyed the fact that Lennox was formerly from the army and well trained, but that he wasn’t a superhero sniper with the training of a lethal assassin.  Where he was after leaving the army felt far more believable than what we normally get with this trope.  He was a man who was trying to heal and spend time with his family and daughter.  He didn’t want to work as a mercenary.  He wanted peace and quiet.  He also wasn’t always ‘the best’ at everything.  Not to beat a dead horse, but he was realistic.  I thought that was refreshing.

Elliot was the character that was more over the top, with his schmoozing and charismatic personality.  There were times Elliot felt a little overdone, for some reason I kept picturing Tom Cruise with that fake overly wide smile, but for the most part I thought he was sweet.  (I loved that he wore a fedora with his suits!)  I also liked the history of Elliot, particularly with Willy.

Now, to break it down a little more, it was the pairing of Elliot and Lennox that felt slightly bland.  The sex was hot, the chemistry and romance was only okay.  It wasn’t horrible, because I’ve read horrible.  It just wasn’t amazing.  It was fine, okay, decent.  They did have a good amount of cute banter, but I don’t think their actually relationship will stick with me.  Lennox alone might stick with me, same with Elliot.  Them together, probably not.

I was also bothered that all this time was spent talking about Willy, and about her fast connection to Elliot.  (2 weeks at a rehab facility and she’s deeding him her house after her death, intriguing!)  We were introduced to a lot of information about their friendship, and it was interesting.  Then, it was forgotten about.  It became irrelevant, in which case why was it included at all.  Willy could have just as easily been an eccentric aunt of Elliots that left him her house.  If it wasn’t going to matter it should have been on the chopping block.

So, I guess the bottom line is that I loved half of the story and was disappointed by half, which is why this book only gets 3 stars.

Thank you to Riptide Publishing, via NetGalley, for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 Stars = C

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