ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Detective Malcolm Khalaji is at a loss.
For the second time in his life, he wasn't there when his lover needed him. And with Seong-Jae Yoon on leave pending an internal investigation, Malcolm doesn't know what to do with a shattered partner and boyfriend who's retreated from him into a dark and broken place. It's Gabrielle all over again...yet this time, Malcolm is determined to do this right. This time he's determined to be there no matter what Seong-Jae needs, even if it means taking time off from the pressures of their job to hold Seong-Jae through every moment of trauma, of guilt, of self-recrimination.
Until a frantic phone call from Seong-Jae's parents destroys any hope of peace.
Because Seong-Jae's younger sister is missing—and there's only one place she would go.
Yet even if the desperate search breaks Seong-Jae's numbness, it's the warmth of family that brings him back from a black and dangerous edge—and shows Malcolm a side to Seong-Jae he never could have imagined. But not even these idyllic moments of calm are safe, as the twisted machinations surrounding them continue. If each player in this game is a chess piece, then none other than Edmund Bishop is a pawn, sacrificed to save his queen. Yet is Lillienne Wellington really the one pulling the strings?
Or is someone else trying to eliminate Bishop for their own dire ends?
ABOUT THE SERIES
Baltimore homicide detective Malcolm Khalaji has his own way of doing things: quiet, methodical, logical, effective, not always particularly legal. He’s used to working alone—and the last thing he needs is a new partner ten years his junior.
Especially one like Seong-Jae Yoon.
Icy. Willful. Detached. Stubborn. Seong-Jae is all that and more, impossible to work with and headstrong enough to get them both killed…if they don’t kill each other first. Foxlike and sullen, Seong-Jae’s disdainful beauty conceals a smoldering and ferocious temper, and as he and Malcolm clash the sparks between them build until neither can tell the difference between loathing and desire.
But as bodies pile up at their feet a string of strange, seemingly unrelated murders takes a bizarre turn, leading them deeper and deeper into Baltimore’s criminal underworld. Every death carries a dangerous message, another in a trail of breadcrumbs that can only end in blood.
Malcolm and Seong-Jae must combine their wits against an unseen killer and trace the unsettling murders to their source. Together, they’ll descend the darkest pathways of a twisted mind—and discover just how deep the rabbit hole goes. And if they can’t learn to trust each other?
Neither will make it out alive.
'A Single Bright Candle's Flame' is the 9th episode in season 1 of Cole McCade's series 'Criminal Intentions' and so far this series has not failed to deliver. As Malcolm Khalaji and Soeng-Jae Yoon have gone from new police partners to friends and ultimately lovers solving crimes and fitting themselves into each other's lives it's been one hella' good roller coaster ride of emotions. Along with the self contained crime drama that each story delivers there have been hints and clues to an overlying story line that has kept up a steady pace and so far promises to be explosive in it's conclusion...whenever that might be because so far I'm not seeing an end in sight.
Thankfully here in the 9th story we get a bit of a break allowing the reader to catch their breath a bit and I have to confess that while I thought the last book was the most relationship focused book to date...well, all I can say now is "Oops, my bad...because this one puts it to shame." however, don't think that just because there's not a crime to be solved you're entirely off the hook here because you're not. There's still so much to be learned from this one and enjoyed...holy hell so much to be enjoyed and savored.
As Soeng-Jae works his way through the events from the last story, Mal is right there determined to be and give Yoon what he needs...he's not going to screw up this time...it's not going to be a repeat of Gabrielle not if he can help it. But Mal's also unsure what to do other than just being there which he'll happily do but he's missing the Soeng-Jae that he fell in love with and isn't sure what it'll take to get him back. Turns out that Mal's problem is going to be solved by a panicked phone call from his parents when his younger sister has runaway or more accurately she's running to something...her brother.
While this once again wasn't a long story it was still an awesome read. I loved all of it. Seeing the gentle and loving side of Mal as he cares for his lover and the new bit of vulnerability that Soeng-Jae showed to Mal, was just so...so...I don't even really think I have words for it to be honest...it was just so sweet and touching, yep, Karen melted a little right up there on that rooftop.
Plus we have Soeng-Jae being reunited with his sister which was just beyond delightful. I really hope we get to see more of her...she's feisty and the joy of her brother's life and I'm pretty sure she had Mal totally charmed by the time she returned home as well.
But there were also glimpses of things that will connect events of the past to events that have yet to happen and all indications are that we are still in for one hella' wild and interesting ride...so, while this one left me in a happy 'I love Mal & Soeng-Jae' puddle of glue I have the feeling that the next story is going to be filled with a lot of what-the-f*ck-moments! while the strength of Mal and Soeng-Jae's relationship will once again be tested, but I have faith in these two and am looking forward to whatever comes next.
*************************An ARC of 'A Single Bright Candle's Flame' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
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