Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “…I sort of felt like I was working less with a detective, and more with an undercover superhero or something. The dark, gritty, complete asshole kind of superhero. “
Detective Andreas Ruffner is a veteran cop whose unorthodox methods and suspicious behavior has garnered him a reputation in the department. A reputation that has IA breathing down his neck, looking for anything to bring him down. Having already gone through more partners than you can shake a stick at, he is not surprised when his Captain tells him he has a new victim lined up.
I was so sick and tired of Captain Hamilton assigning me partners under the guise of mentorship, making my investigations more efficient or whatever other excuse he came up with on any given day.
Newly minted Detective Darren Corliss comes from law enforcement family from his brother-a former DA, to his stepfather a newly retired police commissioner. Fresh off the street, being approached by IA to be their informant puts him on edge; especially after his first day of work with his new partner ends with a questionable bust.
“I answered his questions already. Now I want you to answer mine.”
Corliss and Ruffner soon find a middle ground and Ruffner lets Corliss in on his current assignment. As Corliss and Ruffner investigate a series of deaths that all seem to lead back to their case, a tense and unwelcome sexual attraction begins to bloom between them. Can Corliss and Ruffner keep things professional between them? Or will the heat between them get a little too hot to contain?
I picked up Risky Business after I read the blurb for book two and wanted to read it. I’m a sucker for police dramas; especially when there is an unwanted attraction and questionable behavior. Risky Business has all that and more. A strong police procedural with tantalizing hints of mystery, intrigue, and romance. Witt and Z. choosing to make the romance a pleasant side feature gives readers more time to appreciate the intricate nature of the storyline and the characters themselves. The first half starts out slow as our boys get to know one another but once they find their groove, the pacing and energy picks up considerably.
Witt and Z do an excellent job of characterizing Ruffner and Corliss, personally and professionally. Ruffner is an older cop; mid-40s, bi-sexual, currently single and the father to a passel of kids ranging from ages 24 to 4. He has been accused of being dirty and using drugs. A shite-stirrer of epic proportions, Ruffner has bad boy written all over him. Corliss is the direct opposite. In his 20s, gay, clean cut, and single, he is just starting to make his mark in the police department. Extremely close to his family. A bit of a rule follower; while he’s not one to tattle, he won’t hesitate to ask questions and demand answers. A bit impulsive at times, Corliss’s heart is in the right place. Though you definitely get the “good cop/bad cop” vibe from this setup…this is a partnership and Corliss makes sure Ruffner understands that.
“If we are going to be partners, we might as well be on a first name basis…”
Engaging dialogue, a personable auxiliary cast, and the dual narrative take readers directly into the heart of the story. I enjoyed getting down and dirty with the investigation and the sexual heat generated by these men only adds to its edgy appeal. Ruffner suspects almost everyone around him and plays things pretty close to the vest. Taking down a crime syndicate isn’t easy, especially when it appears to have its tentacles in every aspect of the city’s structure from the lowest street dealer to the highest political offices. Things aren’t what they seem though and the Machiavellian style plotting is genius. The highs and lows keep you firmly in its grip. A series of secondary plotlines spread out from the main arc to assure us this isn’t the last we have seen of this couple.
Though the romance isn’t a main building block of the story, it certainly adds a spiciness to the mix. I enjoyed the slow steady burn of Ruffner and Corliss’s attraction to one another. I was worried the May/December aspect of their age would become an issue but it doesn’t. They are both intelligent, hardworking adults and the organic nature of the situation made me far more comfortable with this relationship evolving.
We had rocketed right past hot and heavy into this hospital bed ain’t gonna survive what we’re about to do.
The ending leaves us comfortable with both Corliss and Ruffner’s professional and personal relationship. The HFN seems solid and mystery fans will love trying to solve this one before Ruffner and Corliss do.