Blurb:Note from the author: By Degrees is an ensemble serial with continuing story lines. Six Degrees of Separation is the second installment, and it must be read after Six Degrees of Lust. Thanks.
In the sequel to Six Degrees of Lust, F.B.I. team leader Samuel Shaughnessy and bar manager Machlan O’Bannon are exploring a new phase in their non-relationship. The intention is to take it slowly but power plays are still their favorite activity, and it isn’t long before lines begin blurring. After ending their friends with benefits agreement no rules are left in place to guide them, and soon enough the only thing that’s clear is that neither man is fighting hard enough to reestablish the boundaries.
Their particular situations haven’t improved in the three months since their first encounter. Sam is still focused on his immediate family issues, and everything indicates Mac will have to go to war with his own family before he can reclaim his freedom. The last thing they need is additional complications.
But when the opening of a night club brings Mac to New York City and a break in the Leviticus investigation leads Sam to Houston, they discover how closely their worlds have been connected from the very beginning. Hiding from the life-altering collision is not an option. Will they take the easier road and go their separate ways, or will they come to terms with their past and take a chance on each other?
Before I get into the meat of my review, do be aware that Six Degrees of Separation is part of a serial that starts with Six Degrees of Lust. This book cannot be read as a stand-alone, and if you haven't read book one, do be aware that there might be some spoilers regarding book 1 in my review below. I'll try to keep that to a minimum, but I can't promise there will be none. Also we get another cliffhanger at the end of Six Degrees of Separation. So, please, Ms. Donovan, don't keep us waiting too long for book 3!!
Six Degrees of Separation was an awesome follow-up to Six Degrees of Lust. Loved. It picks up right where book 1 left off and I've gotta say, Sam is so screwed. He is in so deep, when it comes to Mac, but he's still got a touch of denial going on. Don't worry, though, he makes progress.
The story line runs for just under 3 weeks. And though there is a lot to keep up with in those 3 weeks, the overall story doesn't really progress that much. I'm glad for that because there seemed to be enough to keep up with as it was. Progress is made on all primary and secondary plots.
The suspense plot continues and though it isn't terribly believable, I liked it anyway. The killer is seriously crazy pants and I don't believe for a second that he really wouldn't be leaving any DNA or other evidence. Even the smallest thing? Nah, I can't believe that and still keep my belief that Sam and his team are any good at their jobs. Thankfully, though, the suspense plot isn't why I'm reading this series, so I'll forgive that, for sure.
There is also the large cast of characters and tons of threads that connect them to each other and the killer, and I enjoyed that quite a lot. I love trying to guess where things are going and how it's all going to play out. I am happy to say it looks like the killer is exactly who I thought it was -- sort of -- and I can't say more than that or I will give stuff away that you should simply read and experience. I loved the twist that Taylor Donovan put in the story regarding the killer's identity. It didn't play out at all like I thought it would, and I love that!
So not only do we have some psycho killer offing gay men in New York and Houston (among other places), we've got Mac and his, very complicated, family situation back in Texas along with Sam and his complicated family situation in New York, as well as drama with his ex-wife, Gabi. The secondary characters also have their stories going on, so there will be plenty to keep you busy while reading this series.
Niggle -- Gabi, whom I liked at first in book 1 (and less and less as that book went on), seriously got on my nerves in this book. My tolerance for her went right down the drain as the story continued. Girlfriend needs to get a grip and stop playing the martyr. In fact, my biggest complaint with this series, so far, is that most of the women are raging bitches. Gabi, Amy, Mac's mom… Sam's mom is awesome, but that's about it. It would be nice if the women weren't (nearly) all portrayed so negatively. Just a thought.
Overall, though, I loved this installment and I loved the progress we get with Mac's relationship with Sam (and Mac's birthday present to Sam made my heart melt). Sam comes so far and by the end of the book, he is fully committed to Mac. So, at least their relationship isn't left in limbo. The cliffie is all about the suspense piece. I am looking forward to book 3, and I hope our wait won't be too long.
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