Friday, February 13, 2015

ARC Review: The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool #1) by Lisa Henry

The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool, #1)
Blurb: Mischief, thou art afoot.

Special Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness is having a rough week. Not only is he on a new diet, but he’s also been tasked with keeping Henry Page—the world’s most irritating witness—alive. Which is tough when Mac’s a breath away from killing the Shakespeare-quoting, ethically-challenged, egg-obsessed Henry himself. Unless killing isn’t really what Mac wants to do to him.

Con man Henry Page prefers to keep his distance from the law . . . though he wouldn’t mind getting a little closer to uptight, handsome Agent McGuinness. As the sole witness to a mob hit, Henry’s a valuable asset to the FBI. But he’s got his own agenda, and it doesn’t involve testifying.

When evidence surfaces of a mole in the FBI office, Mac and Henry are forced to go into hiding. Holed up in a fishing cabin, they’re surprised to discover that their feelings run more than skin deep. But as the mob closes in, Henry has to make his escape. And Mac has to decide how far he’s willing to go to keep Henry by his side.

Rosa's Rating:

An enjoyable start to a new series. I loved Henry and Mac's conversations--their snappy dialogue reminded me of a fast talking 40s movie in some parts. Such as this scene where Henry yet again gives Mac some super helpful diet advice:
"You know what you should try?" Henry tossed a couple of candies into his mouth.
"No advice necessary."
"Have you ever had it?"
Mac sighed. "No."
"It's good. It's a pseudocereal."
"That means nothing to me."
"All the grains look like little sperms when you cook them."
"Good," Mac said. "Because I want to feel like I'm eating little sperm. The only thing that could make this god-awful diet better is if it included something that looked like sperm."
I applaud Mac's patience, because if Henry had tried that conversational topic with me he would've found himself on the ground with all his candy missing. Quinoa, my ass.

I must admit I was a bit distracted by all the Shakespeare references. My brain kept nattering away--Sebastian and Viola, huh? Is this based on Twelfth Night? Wait, is that yet another name from yet another play? Which play? (Probably all the damn plays.) What am I missing? Dammit, I need to stop filling my brain with reruns of Morse and Midsomer Murders and pics of Dylan O'Brien. But that may be more of an issue with the voices in my head than this particular book.

My only real complaint is that Two Gentlemen feels more like a first act than a complete novel. I like it when there are some plotlines left hanging, gives me something to mull over when I'm looking forward to the next book, but it felt rather like everything was left hanging at the end of this one. Luckily, the rest of the series (The Merchant of Death and Tempest) should be out shortly.

** An ARC was provided by the publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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