Grime and Punishment by Z.A. Maxfield

August 16, 2013 Review 0 ★★★

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Grime and Punishment by Z.A. MaxfieldGrime and Punishment by Z.A. Maxfield
Series: The Brothers Grime #1
Published by Loose ID on May 7, 2013
Genres: LGBTQ, Romance
Pages: 176
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
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The Brothers Grime is Jack Masterson's way of helping people in crisis after disability ends his career as a firefighter. Jack's people get to a scene long after the physical trauma ends. They don't solve crime or rescue the victims. They help people move on. The new job is all Jack wants or needs, until he gets the call about old flame Nick Foasberg's suicide.

Ryan Halloran's cousin Nick has been on a downhill slide for a long time. Despite that, Ryan does everything he knows to help. Ryan only understands part of what happened between Nick and Jack in high school, but after Nick's suicide, Ryan agrees both he and Jack need closure. They work together to clean the scene and despite the situation, heat flares between them.

Jack is keeping a painful secret and fighting his attraction to Nick's lookalike cousin, Ryan. Ryan calls himself a magnet for lost causes and worries Jack might be the next in a long line of losers. Despite his misgivings, despite the past and the mistakes they've both made, Jack gives Ryan something to look forward to, and Ryan gives Jack a reason to stop looking back, in Grime And Punishment.

This was an okay book to read, but what struck me most was that the characters didn’t have glamorous jobs. This made them feel a little more down to earth. Instead of them being police officers, or movie stars, they are crime scene cleaners and a nurse. Jack is a crime scene cleanup technician. Or at least he runs the operation because after an accident, Jack hasn’t been the same physically. He has a friend on the police force, Dave, who he’s been sleeping with, and one night he gets hold of Jack to warn him about an old crush’s suicide.

When Jack shows up to bid for the place he runs into Nick’s cousin, Ryan (who looks a lot like Nick). At first Ryan refuses any help in cleaning up, after all, as a health care professional he’s used to blood, and he thinks he can handle it. But when he realises that it’s about more than just the money for Jack, that Jack needs the closure just as much as he does, they decide to work together. And of course they somehow manage to fall into bed together (this would not be my ideal way of falling in love or whatever, but hey).

There is a lot of tension over the fact that Ryan knows Jack used to have a thing for his cousin, and so Jack needs to prove that he cares about Ryan as a person, not just as a link to his ex. Meanwhile, there should probably be a quick warning to some grey areas regarding cheating. Because while Jack wasn’t actually dating Dave, he was sleeping with him. So whether that could be considered cheating or not is up to the reader, I suppose, but the warning is there regardless!

There were a lot of moments in this book that had a very sad undertone, and the back story between Jack and Nick is heartbreaking. Jack, Nick, and Dave all went to school together and there is a history there that wasn’t made public to most people. And while Jack has carried that torch, the truth is that Nick hurt Jack and then things didn’t work out well for either of them.

As this is the first in this series, I’m holding out hope that Dave gets a boyfriend in the future. Even if Jack and him were only sleeping together I felt bad for him, and how he kind of lost that relationship because he didn’t feel he could be out as a police officer. It’s a sad, sad truth in our world that people still judge others for something like this, and I like that Z.A. Maxfield didn’t try to cover that up. I just really want Dave to have his happy ending!

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