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Pre-release REVIEW: “The Two Gentlemen of Altona” by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock



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.


Dang, I HATED this book.

It gave me the most awful donut cravings. So I couldn’t resist sneaking into a bakery. One donut didn’t make the trip home.

A second one didn’t survive me snapping a pic.

And do I really have to confess that the last two were gone before I finished The Two Gentlemen of Altona? Grmbl.

So the Two Gentlemen of Altona is nothing like the Henry & Rock collaborations I’ve read before. And you know what?  In my opinion that’s a good thing! In this book, there are no tragically damaged characters to unabashedly manipulate you into shedding big emo tears. It’s a remarkably lighthearted and amusing ride instead!

Special agent Mac is a donut loving cranky bald guy. He’s also a little chubby. So ever since he started a diet the donuts are off-limit. Hence the cranky part. Then there’s his non-existing love life… but hey, at least he’s good at his job! That is, until he manages to let an important witness to a murder disappear from right underneath his nose. Said witness, the young and charming con man Henry Page, soon discovers that fooling a sugar-deprived FBI cop was perhaps not his best idea, as he tries to outrun both Mac and the murderer’s hit men…

There’s a lot to love about these authors’ promising first book in a brand new series, that vaguely reminds me of a M/M version of Janet Evanovich’ bestselling Stephanie Plum series. It’s fast-paced, uncomplicated and pretty damn funny. Whereas the chemistry between the MCs doesn’t convince me entirely, any lack thereof is made up for by their snicker-worthy dynamics. And I applaud the authors for making Mac bald and giving him a bit of a paunch. It’s always a relief when I don’t have to read ongoing twaddle about MCs resembling six-packed Ken dolls.

“I know what I’m not good at.”
“Let’s start there. What aren’t you good at? Besides running.”
Mac opened his mouth. “Running?”
“Yeah. You run with your arms kind of flapping.”
Was this little shit seriously criticizing the way he ran? “May I remind you that when you saw me, I was running after the guy who’d just tried to kill you.”
“And maybe you’d’ve caught him if your arms weren’t flapping.”

If you enjoy solving crimes along with your well-developed MCs, this book will possibly leave you with an empty stomach though. It’s the equivalent of junk food — of a fresh donut with chocolate sprinkles on top — after all. The focus is on the banter between the guys, resulting in a sadly neglected crime plot. The MCs may find themselves in life-threatening situations, there’s no sense of real danger to really keep you on the edge of your seat. It isn’t until the last quarter that the character development turns serious, with the first hints of drama kicking in (more like what you’d expect from Henry & Rock). It feels like a departure from the preceding cheekier tone and I wonder if it’s partly to blame for the ending that just seems… to fizzle out?

Also be forewarned that the ending will leave you hanging due to both a cliffhanger and numerous failed attempts at the ‘insertion of tab A into slot B’ due to a persistent case of force majeure. The sequel is expected to be published in February 2015 though, so luckily it’s not that long a wait!



22439645Title: The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool #1)
Author: Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 215 pages
Release Date: December 29th 2014
Purchase Links: Amazon

5 comments on “Pre-release REVIEW: “The Two Gentlemen of Altona” by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

  1. llesarlorraine
    November 14, 2014

    Hate cliffhangers especially if I have to wait until February!


  2. TracyTG
    November 14, 2014

    How much of a cliff is this cliffhanger? I hate them, but this sounds rad. Is it *really* bad? (If so, I’ll wait!)


  3. katinka
    November 16, 2014

    Hello guys! I wouldn’t worry too much about that cliffhanger. The actual crime-plot is solved in this first book, but there’s a new ‘shocking’ twist introduced at the end of the story, that will be the focus of book 2. More frustrating to me was that when it comes to the MCs, this book ends on a low rather than a high. There’s definitely ‘unresolved business’ between these guys.

    Sorry if I’m not making much sense, trying to steer clear of spoilers here.;)


  4. Marlobo
    November 16, 2014

    I want the book… and the donuts!! Thanks…? Kat. ;D


    • katinka
      November 18, 2014

      You’re welcome. And may you have more willpower than I had!;D

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 14, 2014 by in Contemporary, Cops / Cowboys / Military, Reviewer: Katinka and tagged , , , , .

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