I keep wanting to be able to five star a Cal Leandros book. And every one fails to deliver that special whatever that takes a book from good to great.
I suspect this one was slightly disappointing because the twist was pretty damn obvious. The slow reveal was just annoying. There's a risk in keeping secrets from your reader and your main characters at the same time, because if your reader figures it out too early, your main characters just look stupid. Thurman didn't sell this one well enough - Niko just looked stupid and gullible and I was offended on his behalf.
Thurman has held up the tradition of treating her female characters like whores or threats. Delilah is the only one that comes close to a well rounded person and she's been relegated to a glorified booty call. I'm not one of George's fans so I thoroughly enjoyed Niko's disenchantment with that situation.
This book plays with point of view - swapping between Cal and Nik, and I'm not convinced. Again,it was a risky thing to do this far through an established series, and I suspect most readers would say that the rug scene was worth the effort. I'm not convinced. I was reading something the other day that suggested a reason for the popularity of certain heroes in certain types of erotic romance is precisely because their inner thoughts are completely inaccessible to the reader and to the heroine. I feel the same way about Niko. I didn't need to know what was going on in Nik's head because he is so straight up honourable. Niko was the ultimate in show, don't tell. And then Thurman flinched. It's a pity - I enjoyed the subtlety of Nik's character development and resented having it neon-signed to me during this book.
Still, the story is pacey and fun and Cal still has some good snarky lines. Even with the flaws this was an easy four stars and I will definitely be reading on.