Friday, May 15, 2015

Every Breath (Every #1) by Ellie Marney

Published: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Tundra Books
Purchase: Amazon / Book Depository / Barnes & Noble
When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft's numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft's passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn't right--and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.

While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he's busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den--literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again...

I had been eyeing this book from a distance for quite some time until I finally had the courage to splurge and purchase it. It promised a murder mystery and sleuthing fuss with the added splash of teen romance that I never seemed to find in a good mystery book. Which put frankly, is a book made for the likes of me. The blurb on the cover said it all: what if Sherlock Holmes was the boy next door?

James Mycroft and Rachel Watts, our Holmes-Watson pair, are fabulous characters. They are teenagers, with just the right amount of snark and banter in them (i.e. a tad too much to be healthy), and were a delight to read about. For some reason, I have a fondness for boys who call girls by their last names, and vice-versa, which this book gave to me in both manners, a fact that I fondly took note of.

But before I get sidetracked with these two charmers, let's get into what this book is. It's part murder mystery and part romance, a combination that worked beautifully in this case, with just the right amount of swoony chemistry but didn't skimp on the gory details. Because if you've seen enough crime shows the way I have, the details that pack a punch give you that grimy taste of a crime scene.

Rachel, or Watts, is the responsible girl. She has a solid head on her shoulders, and she's caring and loyal as well. She's a country girl forced to live in the city, where she met Mycroft, her next door neighbor and a crime solver in the making. She feels real and has palpable worries, ones that I could relate to, from the family dynamic to the financial straits she was in. It is all too easy for fictional characters to lose their heads when involved in something like crime and an attractive boy, but Watts thankfully did not lose herself and for that I was thankful.

Mycroft is great, a genuinely interesting guy to read about. He's curious, and methodical, having that inquisitive  and sharp nature that we all associate with the illustrious Holmes, but with the added warmth of a teenage boy who has that oblivious side to him that I found quite endearing. But alas, not everything is crystal clear with him, and his backstory is one that piqued my heart. Needless to say, it involves his family, a juvenile record, and a drive to figure stuff out. Hopefully, the sequels will reveal more about him, but for now, I quite like who he is as is.
Does being an eccentric genius excuse any kind of behavior, no matter how antisocial or self-destructive?
What surprised me in a good way was that when the book starts, you're in the midst of Watts and Mycroft's friendship. They have a camaraderie and bond that's close enough to warrant friendship, maybe something more. It sets the stage for the dynamic they have together. Moving on to their relationship, or lack thereof, I was very pleased with. You can feel the unspoken tension and chemistry between Watts and Mycroft in brief flickers since the very beginning. It's one of those slow burn ones, where you keep rooting the characters on until that inevitable moment occurs. And when it does, it was well worth the wait of two characters tiptoeing around the attraction they share.
Everything inside me is suddenly reduced to feeling. That's all there is, just pure sensation.
As for the murder mystery, I give props to Marney for crafting a believable and well-crafted case. It was intriguing, and had everything I could hope for, including dysfunctional tragedies and a touch of madness. The sleuthing, of course, is the best part of any mystery, and while I enjoy my fair share of confounding twists and turns, it was nice to be able to sit back and enjoy the characters and their chemistry as much as the actual mystery, without having my head hurt trying to figure out the case.

With such a promising start, I am very much looking forward to the rest of this series and cannot wait to catch up with Watts and Mycroft soon.

My Rating: ★★★★ (4.5 stars)

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