The Brothers Grime: Jack - Z.A. Maxfield 3 1/2 - 4 Hearts

Review written for MM Good Book Reviews

When Jack’s career as a firefighter comes to a crashing halt he makes a new career as a crime scene clean-up technician, he might not be in the thick of the action helping people anymore but he can still help the victims after the event. When he hears that his ex-lover Nick committed suicide he offers his services to Nick’s cousin Ryan, but it is a way for Jack to put his ghosts behind him. Ryan was trying to give his down on his luck cousin a hand and took him in, now he is facing the devastating clean-up of his suicide, being a nurse doesn’t prepare him for clean-up after a loved one and Ryan is grateful for Jack’s help. Ryan thought he knew what had happened between Nick and Jack all those years before, and has no qualms of embarking on a hopeful relationship. Jack’s secret comes out and Ryan doesn’t know how to handle it, Jack doesn’t want to look to the past anymore and Ryan doesn’t want to harbour anymore lost causes. Can the two men help each other look forward or will they always look to the past.

This is a great book that takes you to the grim side of life, to the people left behind by tragedy and the mess that is left to clear up. When Ryan and Jack meet the ice quickly thaws between them, Ryan remembers what his cousin, Nick, did to Jack although he doesn’t know the whole story. Jack and Ryan act on their attraction but then Jack is left wondering if he should confess what his real relationship with Nick was, his friends warn him again and again to come clean or to leave Ryan alone. Both Ryan and Jack have to face how Nick has affected them and Ryan has to work out how he feels about the truth.

I enjoyed this story with its crime scene clean-up theme, I liked it for showing such a strong character as Jack and I liked it for the conflicted emotions it shows. Ryan is just a typical character who is working through a loss, his getting together with Jack doesn’t faze him until he learns the truth from a third party. Jack doesn’t want to tell another person’s secret, but it is more his secret as well, does he really want to admit that he was hoodwinked and used for years before being betrayed to Ryan or anyone else? No, he would rather protect his heart by placing it in a steel box, encasing it in concrete and then wrapping it in razor wire.

The storyline is good and the characters are interesting, the romance is rocky because Jack doesn’t come clean but the sex fantastic. I was a bit unsure at first about this story because Jack had an arrangement with his friend, the closeted detective Dave, that was friends with benefits and at times Dave seems to care more than you would expect, but we discover that what Nick did all those years ago scarred more than just Jack. I also found that while Jack thought he was being loyal to his first love he was, in reality, still hiding the truth from himself, facing the truth is hard but letting Nick get away with what he did and not enacting on a little revenge by yelling the truth from the rooftops is just hard to fathom.

So I will recommend this to those that love budding romances, secrets emerging, great supportive family and friends, hot sex and a happy ending.