Title : Attachment Strings
Author : Chris T. Kat
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY IT HERE)
Genre : Mystery, Suspense
Length : 244 pages (e-book)
Published : June 17, 2013
Detective Jeff Woods and his partner have a new case. Someone has been making threatening phone calls to the mayor’s daughter, vowing to kill her disabled child. Though there have been accidents at the girl’s school—enough to take the threats seriously—the facts are few, and leads are sparse.
Needing a breather from the burden of the case, Jeff heads to a bar, where he meets Alex Fisher. Alex isn’t his type, but he’s young and cocky and perfect for a one-night stand. Or two. Soon Jeff starts thinking about how difficult and lonely it is being a cop, and that maybe Alex could fill a void in his life. But Alex has his own obligations: a disabled brother who is the target of threatening letters.
Jeff isn’t sure he’s ready to play house or overcome his prejudices, but he begins to think Alex might be worth it. Caught between his growing affection and his inner demons, Jeff struggles to focus on the case and protect Alex and his brother as the danger builds.
Usually it’s a challenge finding something to read coming down from an-extraordinary-book high. It’s even worse when the reader is nearing the end of a series and has to put the final instalment aside to read something else. I was afraid Attachment Strings was going to fall victim to this common condition, afraid that no matter how hard I tried, it was going loose out to the epic story and larger-than-life characters I’ve had playing havoc in my head for weeks. I was a few pages in and realized my fear was unfounded. There was nothing to worry about. I was hooked. Surprisingly, I didn’t once long for the rival book. I also didn’t get a darn thing done all day, not until I was finished reading Chris T. Kat’s newest arrival.
Jeff Woods, a detective with the Atlantic City Police, and his partner Trenkins are called out to a homicide – a forty-seven year old disabled male beaten to death in an alley. The victim’s walker is a twisted heap of metal. No clues, no leads, no forensics. After a long gruelling day of interviews and paperwork, Jeff figures a night out at The Lion’s Den is what he needs to get his mind off the case. He scopes out the merchandise on display at the meat market and after a few beers settles on a couple of options, big brawny guys that won’t break if he gets a little rough with either of them. But before he can even slide off the barstool to make his approach, he’s stopped by a hand on his arm and a guy offering to buy him a beer.
Alex is young, waaay too young. Barely legal, Jeff reckons. The kid’s fair and slender, a pushy, arrogant, breakable flirt, not at all what Jeff has in mind for rough-n’-tumble no strings-attached sex. But Alex has decided, after careful consideration, that Jeff is the guy he wants for the night and he’s not going to take ‘no thanks, you’re not my type’ for an answer. Jeff finally agrees to take Alex up on his offer and from that moment on Jeff doesn’t stand a chance against his one-night-stand. They head out to a nearby motel for what turns out to be a few hours of toe-curling, fantastic, unforgettable sex.
Jeff tries to forget. Tries real hard to forget how right it felt being with Alex. And, if he tells himself about a million times that once meant nothing he might actually believe it. Two weeks go by and Jeff’s in such a foul mood he’s about ready to rip Trenkins’ head off. Trenkins isn’t averse to tormenting his partner, not since he’s figured out Jeff’s gay. Bickering, the two cops are summoned to their captain’s office and are given an assignment neither one wants. It seems someone is threatening to kill the mayor’s granddaughter because the little girl is severely disabled and the sick twisted perp doesn’t think she deserves to live.
Jeff and Trenkins aren’t convinced there’s a case, but they discover there’s been several recent deaths at the girl’s school that were attributed to unfortunate accidents. They’re not so sure about that now and start questioning teachers, support staff and the parents of the disabled children that go to the school. Jeff is forced to face a prejudice he didn’t know he had; confronted by the malformed, needy and burdensome children, he can’t keep the look of disgust off his face and secretly agrees that yeah, maybe it would have been better for all if these children had died at birth. He’s ashamed and angry with himself, but it is what it is and he can’t help the way he feels. I think this is when I really started liking Jeff, not for his prejudice but because he was honest with himself. He struggles with his feelings and though he doesn’t always get it right, in the end he learns there is so much to these children than just their disabilities. He’s flawed, three-dimensional, admittedly human, not a stereotypical hero-cop-romance-protagonist. Anyway, nearing the end of the day, Jeff and Trenkins head to the home of the last kid on the list the principal of the school has given them, a six year old boy named Samuel Sean Fisher.
And yes, you know it. The blurb completely ruins one of those priceless “Whoa, didn’t see that one coming” moments because it already tells us, Alex is the little boy’s guardian/brother. Of course there’s a whole lot more going on that I wouldn’t dream of ruining for the reader.
I loved the back and forth banter between Alex and Jeff, their not talking after sex conversations and of course, the incredible sex. These two guys really connected and it was easy to get caught up in their romance. Alex tries to hide how scared he is for his brother, he’s tough and strong and doesn’t need Jeff interfering in his life. While Jeff’s subconscious keeps tripping him up; he refuses to admit he’s falling in love, panics, runs away, can’t stay away and hates himself for wishing Alex’s kid brother wasn’t in the picture.
Jeff and Trenkins work great together as a team. They’re abrasive, crude, arrogant cops with a ‘mine’s bigger than yours’ attitude that made me laugh out loud. I especially loved the way they blustered and bullshited each other. The investigation itself was a bit disappointing. Nothing comes of the homicide at the beginning of the story, unless there’s a connection that I missed by a mile. I’m a sucker for cops questioning suspects and victims, I like trying to figure out the whodunit before anyone else, but sadly, it was a no-brainer figuring out who was murdering the children.
I don’t always pay attention to covers, but the cover on this one caught my eye. It’s haunting and actually has something to do with the story. It also says that Attachment Strings is A Jeff Woods Mystery. Which leads me to believe there’s more in the works for Jeff, Alex and Alex’s brother, not to mention Trenkins and *spoilers* coming our way in the future. I sure hope so ‘cos I really enjoyed this story and I. Want. More.
Rated 4 stars by Syd