As the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.
Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties.
Every series, if it’s longer than a couple books, has that one book that lacks something. For me, Against the Grain was that book. Ash and Cael run the show in this story and it just felt…elongated. There are always two storylines in THIRDS books, the relationship and the drama, and in this book, it felt like instead of both storylines running simultaneous, the relationship took up the first 60% and that’s where it met its HFN and we got the drama storyline the last 40%. It was like getting 2 novellas instead of a novel.
For me, while Ash makes a good secondary character, as a main character, he doesn’t live up to it. It is like he becomes a whole different character entirely. Cael seems more 1 dimensional in this story whereas in previous books he had true depth.
It is a must read, as there are things you learn about in Against the Grain that you do need to know in the next book(s). But I bought it when it first came out a year ago and just finished it. And I had to force myself to do so. Once I got to 60%, I was able to get through the rest easily.
The audio was difficult to listen to. Mark Westfield has narrated each of the THIRDS series and he does a fantastic job. I’ve loved the other books in audio. However, the leads in this story were different than in the past. And Ash has a whiny voice that was too much as a major character. And maybe that’s why I noticed that Westfield ended every sentence on an upswing as though it was a question. It grated on my nerves.
3 stars all the way around.
Story Rating: 3 stars
Audio Rating: 3 stars
Overall rating: 3 stars