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Risky Behavior - Cari Z., L.A. Witt

It’s day one of Darren Corliss’s career as a detective, and not only has he been assigned a notoriously difficult partner, but the guy might also be a pill-popping dirty cop. Internal Affairs needs proof, and Darren gets to be their eyes and ears whether he wants to or not. Detective Andreas Ruffner doesn’t play by the rules, and he doesn’t play well with others. With bodies piling up and a list of suspects who are way above his pay grade, the last thing he needs is a wet-behind-the-ears kid for a partner. Or babysitter. Not even if that partner is easy on the eyes. As Darren gains Andreas’s hard-won trust, they both realize there’s more than just mutual suspicion simmering beneath the surface. But their investigation is heating up as quickly as their relationship, and Darren has no choice but to go along with Andreas’s unorthodox — and borderline unethical — methods. As IA puts the squeeze on Darren to give up the man he’s falling for, he has to wonder—is Andreas the only cop left in this town who isn’t dirty?

Review:

Dear L.A. Witt and Cari Z,

I enjoy the books packed with action, I am happy to read them even if they don’t have gay romance in it, but of course romantic storyline is always a nice bonus to me so I was unable to resist clicking on your book.

The blurb mostly gives you the correct set up. After doing several years as beat cop twenty eight year old Darren ( I think he is twenty eight, even though certain paragraph made me wonder if he is in his early thirties, but that was probably just a mistake, because there was another reference to Darren being in his late twenties later on) is ready to start his Detective career and he is assigned to be a partner to Andreas, who had been on the force for twenty years, who seemingly cannot (and does not want to) keep the partner to save his life and whom Internal Affairs suspect of being a dirty cop, had suspected him of being a dirty cop for years but could not find nothing on him. Internal Affairs guy pretty much asks Darren to report anything suspicious about Andreas, actually demanding is the more appropriate word than asking. And Darren and Andreas’ Boss pretty much powerless to stop this arrangement or just goes along with it.

The book is narrated by both Andreas and Darren and we learn very quickly that Andreas’ previous partners were also asked to spy on him and that was a big reason why he prefers to work alone now if he can help it.

After a rough start (and of course attraction, but really I thought attraction part was well done, both men seemed to assess each other , found each other attractive but their brains did not switch from their jobs to constantly thinking about each other. If we are to have the attraction from the first site, that’s how I would have liked it done. Andreas still does not trust Darren and Darren is just not sure what to think.

Then the men have their first I guess assignment together and lo and behold Andreas does something that blurb would probably call “borderline unethical” and I would call illegal ( planting heroin in the apartment of low level drug dealer) as it turns out because Andreas wanted him to become an informant and then put him in the witness protection.

Surprisingly Darren decides to trust his partner and not report what happened during the raid. I say surprisingly because he seems to brush it off and buy Andreas’ explanation that he is not dirty, he is trying to catch really corrupted people and correct methods were not working. All right then.

Andreas was indeed speaking the truth. Some time ago he stumbled on unimaginable corruption which included some city officials, judges, cops, you name it, people who were supposed to protect and serve were involved and apparently he decided that for the good, noble purpose some breaking of the rules was justified because otherwise he would not catch these people.

I really liked the twisty action part of the plot – the guys were investigating, their mind was primarily on the job and the corruption amongst the people of power went very deep and very high. I was entertained. But I have to once again note this and please, I am not lowering my grade because of that since I feel that within the story the characterization was believable and made sense, but I feel that it is fair to state how much I disliked Andreas’ “borderline unethical methods”.

As I said elsewhere, I feel that the writer of the blurb was getting cute with this description – Andreas’ methods were not “borderline unethical”, they were very much illegal. For the good purpose everything goes, really? Okay fine, this case was really unusual in a sense of what Andreas and his partner were up against, it is REALLY tempting to think that in this case his “ bending of the rules” ( bending of the law, once again let’s be honest here) was justified. But why the heck would he decide to go back to not planting the evidence in his suspect’s house or not “roughing up” his suspects if it worked? Why if he is so convinced that legal methods were not working?

I just feel that the writers really missed the chance here with his characterization of portraying somebody really complex who is reflective enough and knew that for the sake of catching Big Fish and Smaller Fish he became like them in his methods and maybe decided to do better next time around even if the purpose was achieved. Of course I realize that in the previous sentence I am talking about the story that was not written and this had no bearing on my grade, but I was just really disappointed in the character. The ultimate irony was that Internal Affairs guy was at the end completely on his side (as he should have, because his targets were involved in the horrible activities), but we know that Andreas has plenty of reasons to get his ass terminated and he knows it himself.

 

"Darren’s eyebrow rose. “‘ Informal interrogations’?” “Sometimes the end justifies the means.” “Right.” He drew back slightly, and the uneasiness in his eyes was palpable. I sighed. “Listen, no matter what IA or anyone else has told you, I’m not a dirty cop. Yes, I’ve done some things that could get my ass terminated, if not shot in a back alley. I’ve roughed up suspects when no one could hear us. I’ve threatened people. I’ve—” “Bought heroin from kids so you could arrest someone on false pretenses.” “Yeah. But do you understand now why I did that?” He stared down at his hands as he tugged a stray thread on his sleeve. “I get it. But goddamn, Andreas. There’s lines, you know?” “There are. And I tried to walk those lines for a long, long time.” I paused. “I’m not a dirty cop. You’ve got to believe me, Darren.” “You need me to trust you.” I swallowed. “Yes. I need you to trust me.”"

 

Romantic storyline was secondary, as I said getting into bed with each other was not on their minds all the time and there was not much sex in the book and it made perfect sense to me because their investigation was their top priority. I liked how it was handled.

Now, I do realize that the book says book one on the cover, so it could be that Andreas will do some growth in the next book BUT I have no idea if the second book is even going to be about them or a completely different couple and for that reason I am presuming that this is the end of their story if that’s not true I will reevaluate later on.

Grade: B