Cut & Run by Abigail Roux

Cut & Run #1

A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case.

Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He's cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he's paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it's hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliche: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer.

Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer's knife.

Um. There comes a time when you read a book that has excellent ratings, reviews and other kudos from friends...but then read it and wonder what the hell everyone is talking about.

I don't get the appeal. At first I was interested because the story-line started strong enough. A serial killer picks people at random to slay, doesn't stick to methodology of killing them, and is hard to track. Two complete opposites are paired together from the FBI and sent to investigate when the killer takes even higher priority when he starts offing FBI agents on his case.

At first I thought, cool. You have an uptight and clean Zane who wants to approach the case methodically with lots of brainpower, with the sarcastic and rough-edged Ty who brings a military edge and favors brawn. They are paired together against their will when they are both on downs of their career, and they have to solve the crime while falling in love, or whatever. Instead the mystery takes a major backseat when they get into town and do a few preliminary interviews. The main setting of this novel? The hotel room. They sit in there for days talking, griping, and eventually screwing, but then when they leave the hotel one is hurt, making them have to stay at the hotel room again. Seriously, it gets so redundant.

I get they are not supermen or superpowered, but when you keep having characters taking turns getting hurt every other chapter they just come across as freaking fragile. The first time it's an explosion with a computer monitor of all things, then it's being too close to a car explosion, then it's...well, no point keeping count. They are constantly nursing each other back to help, with Zane meanwhile going into PTSD spots because of his tragic past. The angst isn't welcome on top of the bad health and isolation of the hotel. The author shows how alike they are when he realizes being clean and stiff is counterproductive and starts becoming late, slovenly and unshaven later to match Ty. This is supposed to be shown as a good thing but I didn't fully get it.

The two have chemistry of sorts but I found the steam small. I couldn't get into the characters and their relationship. Ty is the sleep and leave them type and indulges in one night stands when they hit town before the two hook up. Their bond is a more respectable partner, which is cool in a way, but you can't carry the weight of a book with that alone. And it's hard to get behind their solving the case when they are laid up in bed hurt most of the time. 

The mystery is uneven and not realistic. Due to diminished chemistry, overdoses of hurt and angst, and how unrealistic the politics were (they couldn't hide that easy in the hotel, why all the suspicion?, etc.), I found Cut and Run to be more boring than interesting. The main thing flying through my mind when reading this thriller was hoping it would end soon. 

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