Book Reviews

Sticks & Stones (Cut & Run 2) by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Military/Former Military / Agents/Spies / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller / Action/Adventure
Reviewed by Barb Manning on 22-March-2011

Book Blurb

Six months after nearly losing their lives to a serial killer in New York City, FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are suffering through something almost as frightening: the monotony of desk duty. When they're ordered to take a vacation for the good of everyone's sanity, Ty bites the bullet and takes Zane home with him to West Virginia, hoping the peace and quiet of the mountains will give them the chance to explore the explosive attraction they’ve so far been unable to reconcile with their professional partnership.

Ty and Zane, along with Ty’s father and brother, head up into the Appalachian mountains for a nice, relaxing hike deep into the woods... where no one will hear them scream. They find themselves facing danger from all directions: unpredictable weather, the unrelenting mountains, wild animals, fellow hikers with nothing to lose, and the most terrifying challenge of all. Each other.


Book Review

'Sticks & Stones' brings Ty Grady and Zane Garrett back together after the climactic ending of the first book. The Bureau separated Ty and Zane for six months after their last assignment. The FBI dropped Zane back into a meat-grinder of an assignment in New Mexico and Ty spent much of his time recovering from their last encounter. When their boss, Dick Burns, calls them into his office to give them the negative results on their latest unofficial psych evals, he makes it clear that they're out if they don't get their heads straight. Burns orders them both to go on an immediate vacation. Ty, in particular, he instructs to go home and visit his family in West Virginia.

Urban and Roux’s familiarity with the two characters makes for an intense and dramatic read. As Ty interacts with his father Earl, his mother Mara, and his brother Deuce, I got to see a different side of his character. With Earl, Ty is someone who follows orders without question. His tendency to obey his father even against his own better judgment has horrendous consequences for the entire group during their “relaxing” hike into the mountains. His mother and father are unaware that Ty is gay, so he spends much of his time trying to control his sexual attraction to Zane.

Zane believes the reason he’s making the trip to West Virginia with Ty is so that he can act as a smoke screen or buffer between Ty and his family. In reality, Ty’s brother Deuce is a psychiatrist. Ty wants his brother’s opinion on the soundness of Zane’s sanity. Zane has put aside his drug and alcohol use, but he’s chain-smoking and not sleeping. When he does manage to sleep, nightmares trouble his rest unless he’s sharing a bed with Ty, something that’s a little hard to do in a household where almost no one knows he’s gay.

Still, Ty and Zane are real partners. Each has protected the other’s life. Each has risked his own life to save the other. Crazed treasure hunters and wild predators notwithstanding, Ty and Zane will do almost anything for each other. Ty follows Earl Grady up the mountain on a trek that may cost lives and Zane follows Ty. During this harrowing vacation, Zane learns just how much Ty is afraid of letting down people he cares about. He can’t let Deuce down, or his father, Earl.

In 'Sticks & Stones', Ty and Zane come closer to admitting the strength of their feelings for each other. Ty takes the brunt of the physical trauma this time in a story full of violence and death, but also warmth and tenderness. The third installment in this great series promises to be just as fine a read.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 322 pages/101880 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 25-January-2010
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
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