Review: "Ball & Chain" by Abigail Roux


Le sigh. I'm feeling a tad sad. This is the last review for the Cut & Run series until the ninth and reportedly final book is released on 30 March 2015 (according to the publisher's website). I don't even want to think about there being a final book...that would be way too depressing. I've still got the Cross & Crown review after this but that's about a different series...so...I'm still sad. I guess I shall have to make myself feel better by re-reading all the books (and ficlets!). Can you spell "obsessed"? ^.^

Ball & Chain is the eighth book in the Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux and after all the heartbreaking drama and action in Touch & Geaux, this installment was supposed to be bring back a smile to my face. I wanted FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett to go back to their snarky but sweet back-and-forth, and while there is some of that in this book, I was...wait for it...slightly disappointed with Ball & Chain. *pause for shocked silence* Don't get me wrong; I still enjoyed the book as a whole but I wanted it to be about Ty and Zane, not Ty and Zane plus Nick O'Flaherty and Kelly Abbott. I mean, come on, that's what the Sidewinder series is for! >.< 

After Ty and the rest of the Sidewinder team, minus Kelly, return from their six-month deployment, they're noticeably battle weary but it's obvious that returning to duty as Marines took its toll most on best friends Ty and Nick. Add to that Ty needing to make a life changing decision when he returns to the office and the poor guy is off-kilter. They aren't any closer to figuring who the mole in the office is and who's been handing over information to Zane's enemies and now he has to adjust to life back on home soil.

A phone call from his brother Deacon, aka Deuce, asking Ty to be best man at his wedding in Scotland and Zane to be a groomsman and including a member of Sidewinder because of threats being made to his soon-to-be father-in-law's business gets Ty's attention and, naturally, he calls best bud Nick, who, in turn, brings Kelly as his plus one. Once they get to the island that Deuce's father-in-law owns, things start to go awry and bodies start piling up around them. Stuck with no form of escape or calling for help, the four guys try to figure out what's going on before more people die.

There is one particular murder that was quite sad, mostly because of who the victim was and his connection to one of the guys. The thing was, the enormity of what happened was glossed over and not really given the significance it should have received. Maybe that's just me but I would have preferred less of the Nick and Kelly interactions if it meant this specific murder was treated as the event it was rather than just one among the others.

Ty and Nick have had their issues in the past and it seems that Nick has been keeping his true feelings of how he views his friendship with Ty buried deep...until he gets to Scotland. Even the death of their Sidewinder teammate, Eli Sanchez, who was killed in the first book, is mentioned, meaning that Nick's been pissed for a while now. While Ty and Nick do have their moments here (not THOSE kinds of moments, people...get your minds out of the gutter), when I read Cross & Crown, the second book in the Sidewinder series, I was once again confused about the state of their friendship...but I'll save that for my next review. ^.^

There's also the return of Liam Bell. Is this guy good or bad? What he does in the book is also weird because it doesn't even come into play in the second Sidewinder book. So, I couldn't help but wonder why the heck he was even included in this Cut & Run book since he was already featured in the previous installment and his ties to Ty and Zane were no longer of much significance. Again, I say, it should have been saved for a Sidewinder book!

As I mentioned earlier, my biggest issue with this installment had to do with Ty and Zane sharing the attention with Nick and Kelly. Yes, Nick and Kelly may have been essential to the story but I don't think they had to have equal billing here because that's what it felt like to me. This is a Cut & Run book, not a Sidewinder book, so I was a bit peeved by Nick and Kelly stealing the spotlight from the actual lead characters. Naturally, there's nothing much I can do but bitch and moan about it but I just felt as if Ty and Zane were already being slowly pushed aside since the series is ending in favor of Nick and Kelly. *sniffle, sniffle* 

The positives? 1. Figuring out what the heck was going on and then finding out just how determined the mastermind of the whole plan was to make the person he was after suffer. 2. Nick's family drama...but I still wish that had been saved for a Sidewinder book instead of it being brought to light here. 3. Ty and Zane, Ty's persistence (you'll get what I mean when you read the book), and Ty's grand gesture at the end of the book. It was just...perfect and so Ty and Zane. ♥

So, now we get to the rating...  I was torn deciding what to finally give it. I LOVE this series and, based on my past reviews, you know that I've been giving each book (and ficlet), at least five stars. My loyalty to Ty and Zane made me want to give this book the same rating or, at the very least, a 4.5, but I have to go with my personal feelings and stick with what the rating I feel it deserves. Ball & Chain gets four stars out of five...and that was more painful for me to put into words than you can imagine. >.< But I'm still a Ty and Zane fangirl and always will be. ♥

Date read: 26 August 2014

Learn more about the awesomeness that is Abigail Roux here.

Grab a copy of Ball & Chain and Ms. Roux's other books on Amazon | Barnes & Noble.

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