This book just rocketed the Magpie Rhyme series into super stardom as far as I’m concerned. Everything I felt was missing from the first book was addressed here. Romeo’s point of view, the romantic connection between the main characters, the happy ending… I got everything my heart desired and more. Just be warned, this review will include spoilers for the first book. So, we begin this second story with Romeo securely locked away in a maximum-security prison, having been arrested for murdering four people in the first book. Even though Chad fell for the serial killer in One for Sorrow, he couldn’t let Romeo kill another person and, in the end, he did the right thing and summoned the police. But Chad isn’t coping well with his lover being locked up. And Romeo lives in his cell, counting down the days, hours and minutes until he sees Chad for his one visit per week. When a copycat killer starts his own countdown, Chad finds himself an outcast from his detective friends, and targeted by the new killer. The only person who believes in him and stands by him is Romeo, who is inconveniently locked in prison. While I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this book what I loved most was the chance to see the story unfold through Romeo’s perspective. I loved the way the author made his mind work, either a lot of thought went into this man or the author is simply naturally skilled at creating her characters. The backstory of Romeo’s childhood was a definite plus, as the reader struggles to understand the relationship he had with his parents. I loved the fact that he was always aware that he didn’t love his parents, but he recognized that their love for each other and for him was a special thing and he didn’t want to ruin that for them. I thought the fact that he waited for both of them to die (of natural causes), before he began killing people was actually really beautiful in such a strange way. I also loved the way the author justified his connection to Chad considering Romeo knows that he’s unable to love. Overall, I’d say this was a very smartly written book, that I found absolutely absorbing. I truly hope that the author continues this series to cover every line of the Magpie Rhyme from which she draws her book titles.
Locked up in a maximum-security prison, Romeo’s highlight each week is a visit from Chad. Despite his friends, colleagues, and therapist all telling Chad to stop, he can’t, and he becomes the only joy in Romeo’s boring, bleak life.
More than his need to kill, he needs Chad to live, but a Copycat killer has other ideas.
At first flattered, Romeo relishes the new killer's triumphs, but as he countdown his victims, Romeo realizes the danger Chad’s in, not only from the killer, but from his colleagues, and even more alarmingly, himself.
Romeo must do something drastic to reunite the Monster and the Magpie, but the Copycat is closing in on Chad fast, and he’s intent on doing the one thing Romeo couldn’t, concluding his countdown, and claiming number one…
Be Warned: m/m sex
Book One: One for Sorrow
Book Two: Two for Joy
The hot bubble of anger rose up in Romeo’s stomach. He could only look at Chad’s eye, the purple eye, the swollen flesh. It looked as if he had tried to dab concealer onto the bruise, but it hadn’t helped. It looked like someone had stuck a plum to his eye, then squashed it.
“It looks worse than it is.”
“Who the hell did that?”
Chad exhaled through his nose. “Gareth…”
“He punched you in the face?”
Chad gave him a grim smile. “Yeah.”
“Well, I’ve now picked my number one…”
“Don’t even joke about it.”
“For once, I’m not joking, Chad.”
“Look, I deserved it. I hit him first.”
Romeo leaned as far as he could over the table. “And I hope he’s got an equally messed up eye.”
“Split his lip actually.”
Romeo’s bottom lip tingled. He remembered Chad’s mean right hook.
“Splitting lips a specialty of yours?”
“It’s on my CV and everything.”
“What was the fight about?”
“I wouldn’t call it a fight.”
Chad gave him a pointed look, then whispered, “You … kinda. This—this whole situation.”
“And you hit him first?”
“He wanted me to stop visiting.”
“They all do, don’t they?”
“Yeah, but Gareth… It’s been building for months, and we came to blows yesterday.”
“He thinks he’s looking out for your best interests … he’s worried about you. People do odd things when they’re worried.”
Chad snorted, shaking his head. “You know it started out like that, worry, concern, but then it turned to fear. People fear what they don’t understand. It unsettles them, riles them up, frustrates them, and frustration builds into irritation, then anger. He made a comment, and I snapped.”
“What did he say that made you hit him?”
Chad looked at Fred, then Paul, then the camera. He couldn’t tell Romeo what their argument had been about, and that was enough of an answer. They’d come to blows over the copycat case.
Once Romeo could see beyond Chad’s sore eye, he did a double take at what he was wearing. Not his shirt and tie like he’d driven straight there after work, but a loose grey hoodie, and sat with his hands under the table.
“Why aren’t you in your suit?”
Chad shook his head and spoke as if Romeo hadn’t said anything. “I knew that people wouldn’t understand why I like visiting you, but I never knew it would be this hard. Walking into work, the hostile atmosphere, the whispers, the looks. It’s just—it’s shit.”
“You’ve got me, you know that, right? I get you.”
“But you’re in here, Romeo. I’m on my own out there, and it feels like the walls are closing in on me. I’m trying to hold it together, but why? What’s the point? Why do I even get up in the morning, why do I even go to work?”
“Because you’re a bloody good detective.”
“A detective that fell for a serial killer. A detective whose only reason for living is to see him once a week through a sheet of plastic. A detective who just got…”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“You’re under a lot of stress at the moment, things will get better.”
“They’re only gonna get worse as the weeks go by.”
“Stop talking like this.”
Paul cleared his throat. “No, better than that, stop visiting him.”
“Shut up,” Romeo growled at Paul behind him.
“But it’s true. You want your life to go back to normal, you want your colleagues to respect you again, you want the looks and whispers to stop. You want the public to trust you, then all you’ve got to do is admit you’re ill, and stop coming to this prison.”
“Ill?” Chad said.
“Yeah, this is some fucked up Stockholm syndrome.”
“I’m not ill.”
“Visiting a serial killer, one that almost murdered you. The only reason he didn’t was because your colleagues saved you. They got to that farmhouse and got him off of you.”
“That’s not how it was.”
“Maybe it’s not just Romeo who needs to be locked up.”
Romeo turned around. “I’m gonna headbutt you in a minute.”
“That a threat?”
“It’s a promise.”
Paul stepped forward, but Fred pressed a palm to his chest to stop him. Romeo gave him a very obvious death glare, then turned back to Chad.
“I don’t agree with what you did.” Chad said to Romeo. “Killing those people … its unforgiveable. I’m not okay with it like people think. I think of you as two people just to handle it, the countdown killer, and Romeo.”
“I wish you hadn’t done it.” He looked up blinking back tears. “Why do you have to be a killer, Romeo?”
“I told you, it’s in my head, my biology.”
“Yeah, but why?”
“I don’t know. The universe wanted to play its biggest joke.”
“I can’t stop visiting, because if I do, then I’d have nothing. I don’t feel alone when I’m with you … and it was so easy to shut down the killer part of you, ignore it was there, all until this case.” Chad stopped and shook his head.
“You’re tired, you’re hurt, stressed—”
“Sometimes I wish you killed me in that farmhouse.”
Romeo’s mind blanked, he gawped, his eyes started to burn. He didn’t know what the emotion was, but he didn’t like it. His heartrate soared, his chest tightened, and his stomach cramped until he was nauseated.
“Don’t say that. You being alive means everything to me.”
“This isn’t living, though. It feels like waiting, but I have no idea what I’m waiting for…” He paused, then whispered. “I need you.”
Romeo couldn’t tear his eyes from Chad. He saw the plea, the desperation. The detective was gone, and it was Chad begging for him to get out of there. To escape. Tears welled in his eyes, and his lip wobbled, and Romeo wanted to reach for him so badly, but couldn’t.
“Hang in there, Chad.”
This book is the definition of a dark read. It is twisted in all sorts of ways but at the same time, it is a read about good and evil. Can a serial killer with no heart find one? What happens if the person who helps him find his heart is on the opposite side of the law? In many ways I would describe one of the main characters having Stockholm syndrome but at the same time, I am honestly not sure if that is accurate or not. Romeo is a serial killer. After being caught and not being able to finish what he started, in some ways it has stayed with him and left him questioning if he should have killed his fifth and final victim or if leaving him alive was the right thing to do. Chad is the one who got away. He should have been Romeo’s final victim but something happened in that time he was with Romeo. Being a detective has made what happened that much more screwed up. Somewhere along the way, Chad fell in love with Romeo. And even though Romeo never said that he cares for him, Chad knows he does because he had he opportunity to finish what he set out to do but instead these two men found something else in each other before Romeo was caught. With Romeo in prison, that should have put a stop to whatever it is that happened between the two – but it hasn’t. Now Chad makes sure to visit each week. Romeo knows it is strange but with Chad around the monster in his head is not as loud and does not demand that Romeo kill someone. When a copycat serial killer decides to reinact Romeo’s killing spree, Romeo is impressed and a little thrilled at first. Then things start to take a turn for the worse when it seems that the new killer has his sights on the only person that Romeo has ever liked and even had feelings for. How is Romeo going to help Chad when everyone believes that Chad is the new killer and how is he supposed to save the man that has somehow made his heart start feeling? This is definitely a twisted read but I have to say that I was certainly in pressed with how well it was written and how it drew me in. If dark reads are not your thing then this one will not be for you but if they are, then I definitely recommend this story.
Romeo and Chad Standing ovation here!! This author belongs high in my top favorites, the author has a masterly way of writing dark, suspenseful, passionate stories, with the most intriguing complicated characters. After this said! What a surprise, I didn’t expect a sequel, I just respected the end. I picked up back to the end of One for Sorrow and I remembered one of the last sentences ha! Crosswords! Every week Chad visits Romeo in prison. His love, his man, his addiction. After been kidnapped by him they had a bond. Read book #1 and be amazed! It’s quite complex, it requires full attention! Romeo knows every physical expression of Chad. His complexion, eyes, brows, shoulders, hands, his whole appearance. When he noticed Chad it too stressed and in a downward spiral, Romeo wants to get out. There’s a case, with similarities, and inside information, a killer, all eyes are on one person and it’s driving Romeo nuts. He thinks Chad is in danger and afraid he’s someone else’s number one. What can he do being locked up in a high-security prison. “Two wrongs definitely made a right.” My goodness, it was so suspenseful, I was sitting on the edge of my chair. The story starts with an easy pace, but be aware, it builds up from a breeze into a tornado. When everything fell apart, it was chaos. So much anxiety I couldn’t read fast enough. An amazingly, ingenuity and intelligent plot, a knot of story unraveled. A constantly sift through complicated minds, more than excellently done. After finishing I wanted to applaud, more like I started this review, a standing ovation!
Worth the wait. I really hope this isn't the last book.