Six Degrees of Separation
Title : Six Degrees of Separation
Series : By Degrees, Book #2
Author : Taylor V. Donovan
Purchasing Links : TBA
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 267 pages (e-book)
Published : August 30, 2013
Rating : ★★★★★
*WARNING FROM THE AUTHOR:
By Degrees is an ensemble serial with continuing story lines. Six Degrees of Separation is the second installment, and it must be read after Six Degrees of Lust. Thanks.
In the sequel to Six Degrees of Lust, F.B.I. team leader Samuel Shaughnessy and bar manager Machlan O’Bannon are exploring a new phase in their non-relationship. The intention is to take it slowly but power plays are still their favorite activity, and it isn’t long before lines begin blurring. After ending their friends with benefits agreement no rules are left in place to guide them, and soon enough the only thing that’s clear is that neither man is fighting hard enough to reestablish the boundaries.
Their particular situations haven’t improved in the three months since their first encounter. Sam is still focused on his immediate family issues, and everything indicates Mac will have to go to war with his own family before he can reclaim his freedom. The last thing they need is additional complications.
But when the opening of a night club brings Mac to New York City and a break in the Leviticus investigation leads Sam to Houston, they discover how closely their worlds have been connected from the very beginning. Hiding from the life-altering collision is not an option. Will they take the easier road and go their separate ways, or will they come to terms with their past and take a chance on each other?
We were thrilled and incredibly lucky to receive an arc of “Six Degrees of Separation” in return for an honest review. The book was amazing! As soon as it goes live on August 30th we will update the purchase links.
Sam and Mac are back! It’s been almost two years since Taylor V. Donovan left our heroes in a hotel room in South Beach working on a new phase in their relationship. She also left a serial killer out and about killing young gay men in New York and possibly in Houston. “Six Degrees of Separation” starts mere seconds after we left Sam and Mac, still holding each other and leaning against the hotel door. I sighed. Anyway, both guys are pretty terrified of everything that had just transpired even though they’re also secretly thrilled about it. Unfortunately, their life isn’t all about South Beach and being wrapped up in each other. Sam has a sister with severe battered woman syndrome and a 12 year old nephew to raise on top of tracking down the serial killer, Leviticus. Mac has a job and his friend Amy’s children, who he dearly loves.
These stories have an ensemble cast and we have the point of view of several characters other than Sam and Mac. Logan, Sam’s best friend and coworker, finds himself dealing with Sasha, the young Russian boy he’s trying to help. Logan also finds himself dealing with Det. Eric Callahan of the Houston PD. Okay, he kind of feels he’s an ass to Det. Callahan. He sort of is, but he has good reason. Callahan is surrounded by people who really don’t care that gay people are being murdered and had no reason to fulfill evidence requests from the FBI. As it turns out the murders in Texas are eerily similar to the murders in New York except they appear to be much more vicious. Once the FBI is able to see all the similarities they take the case and are able to piece together more and more of the story. Also in the story are Remy and Chris, friend’s of Mac’s from Texas. To make matters complicated Chris is also best friends with Gabi, Sam’s ex wife. Gabi is not my favorite character of the series. She feels justified in her rage over the demise of her marriage with Sam and the death of her daughter. Sam knows it’s time to move on and he wants to with Mac. He has a talk with Gabi.
So, Chris and Remy finally see each other again and don’t really know how to handle it. Chris broke up with his boyfriend, Julian Michels, so he’s technically free to see Remy but is afraid to get his heart broken. Remy is just afraid.
Against that backdrop we have Mac and Sam inexorably inching closer and closer to a real and lasting relationship. Sam finds he’s okay with that. He’s more terrified of not having the relationship than having it! As a result of all his rules there are some things Mac has never been able to explain to Sam. Suddenly, they’re horribly exposed. I’m really trying to not hate Gabi. Seriously! Mac’s problem had context and maybe Gabi has some context I don’t know about yet. I’m willing to reserve judgment.
This book was incredible! I was so tense, this tense. I kept expecting terrible things to happen, but Mac and Sam get their HEA. They still have issues aplenty with which to deal, but they’re doing it together. But, like I said, many plot strings are not resolved. Just like at the end of “Six Degrees of Lust” we suspect who he may be, but given we’ve had multiple suspects all along we don’t actually know anything and it’s frustrating! And there’s a new character, Corinne, who had me beautifully confused. That was so well done! I’m incredibly impressed Taylor V. Donovan has given us so many perspectives and so much information without actually giving us any information. 😛 Repeatedly, while reading I was convinced I was a super, crime solving genius to only pages later realize I was just as in the dark as the investigators in the story. I was absolutely on the edge of my seat.
At the end of “Six Degrees of Separation” some new relationships have been set up. Det. Eric Callahan of the Houston PD seems to be striking up a friendship with SA Logan Brandenburg. I think they’ll be meeting face to face not long after the beginning of the next book to compare crime notes. I suspect they’ll compare more than crime notes. We also have the continuing and frustrating relationship between Chris and Remy that was started in “Southern Winterland” and continued in “Six Degrees of Lust”. I’m not going to mention the other relationships so as not to spoiler. Given how much is left up in the air at the end of the book there is a surprisingly large amount of information to spoiler.
In the first two books Gabi, Sandy, and Amy are the most important women in the series. They affect the lives of multiple characters with their actions and words. Arguments could be made that they’re all also raging bitches. In the case of Gabi and Sandy arguments could also be made in their defense. Sandy is herself a victim of violence. The number of abuse victims who themselves become some kind of abuser is staggering. Gabi can only make decisions based on information she has. Amy is just a horrible gold digger. Or at least she appears to be at this point. I don’t necessarily want more time or explanation dedicated to these women. I only want a series that doesn’t have women cast overwhelmingly in negative roles. There are multiple positive female characters and Sandy and Gabi are in no way unreservedly evil. They are complex characters who, like most humans, fall somewhere in a shade of grey. At this point Amy seems to pretty much just be black. Anyway, we have four books to go and a host of other characters to meet.
Rated 5 stars by Faye