Ali Vali used to be one of my go-to authors but I’ve been pretty disappointed with the last few I read. I got burned out on Cain, never connected to Remi, loved Sept but the romance part of Calling the Dead didn’t do it for me. And my last venture at a stand-alone romance, The Romance Vote left me unsatisfied with the rushed ending. But I can’t seem to stay away from Vali’s work and thought Double-Crossed sounded interesting.
I got into it pretty quickly and there was definitely the feel of early Cain Casey with the tough woman who seems to melt only for a beautiful damsel in distress – and if there’s a small child involved, all the better. I was happy and rolling along with the murdery goodness but not too far in, began feeling overwhelmed with so many characters. I didn’t realize this was going to be a series set in the same universe as Casey and the Jatibons. Honestly, I probably would have taken a pass had I known. One of the reasons I tend to stay away from long series/large ensemble universes is because it takes the attention off of the characters I’m trying to focus on and connect with and tries to give me snippets and updates on other couples that aren’t supposed to be front and center in the current book. I know this isn’t a problem for many other folks but it is for me and I felt my interest waning as the cast of characters and family intrigues began to mount.
There were some aspects that I loved about Double-Crossed: Vali is great with creating the feel of the gangster life though the language she uses. There were quite a few lines of dialogue that made me stop just to admire them. She also knows how to crank up the sexual heat. And speaking of sex, I was surprised to find some m/m action in this book. I certainly don’t mind it but I thought it was risky since I’ve seen plenty of upset from lesfic readers whenever a penis is introduced into a f/f romance. I’m not the biggest reader of f/f romance anymore but this was a first for me.
I think if you’re a die-hard Ali Vali/Cane Casey fan and read every book, you’ll be incredibly happy with this one and will be thrilled to find a new series to follow in the same universe. And if you’re like me and have taken a break from the author’s series books but are intrigued about this one, it’s well worth your time. I definitely liked Reed and Brinley. (I can’t not comment on Ms. Vali’s always interesting character name choices. Never a boring name for a main character.)
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this one.