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Download All or Nothing (Taking the Odds) epub

by James Buchanan

Blundering his way forward in his relationship with Nevada Agent Nick O'Malley, Riverside Detective Brandon Carr brings his daughter, Shayna, to Las Vegas to meet Nick. Nick has his own reasons for pushing Brandon toward a deeper commitment. But when the unthinkable happens, what every cop knows ends in tragedy, can Brandon hold it together long enough to solve the crime? As Brandon spirals into the hell of being a cop and a distraught parent will his love of Nick, and Nick's love for him, be enough to see them through? It's all or nothing and they can't afford to lose.
Download All or Nothing (Taking the Odds) epub
ISBN: 1608201473
ISBN13: 978-1608201471
Category: Gay and Lesbian
Subcategory: Mystery & Thrillers
Author: James Buchanan
Language: English
Publisher: MLR Press (April 20, 2010)
Pages: 348 pages
ePUB size: 1261 kb
FB2 size: 1479 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 911
Other Formats: rtf lrf mobi azw

All or Nothing the final book in the Taking The Odds trilogy was hard to rate. Nicky did grow on me and didn’t aggravate me nearly as much as he did in the 2nd installment Inland Empire. I’m still not sold on him in the toppy/dom department but whatever he and Brandon have going on – it seems to work for them. He didn’t exactly start off on the right foot with me, when Brandon arrived with his daughter Shayna for a visit – there were a couple of moments where it actually looked like Nick was jealous of a 9 year old and about to throw a hissy but luckily he reigned it in. (And then later on when everything hit the fan – he truly did rise to the occasion).

Brandon, at Nicky’s urging actually; is making an effort to re-connect with his daughter and deal with his commitment issues and move forward with Nicky. His ex. Wife having an impromptu week long training and needing an on the spot baby sitter presents the perfect opportunity for Brandon to spend some quality time with his daughter – and what better time to head out to Las Vegas and take the next step in his relationship – by letting her get to know Nicky. The beginning – with Nicky, Brandon and Shayna spending time together was OK – like 3 ½ stars OK. Nicky and Brandon do get their share of sexy times throughout the story. I’m not sure how I feel about the bondage aspect. I think I could warm up to it – but I’m sort of a "wham-bam" girl – so the lead up was kind of “For the Love of God, Get on with it already”!! I won’t lie though, Nicky calling Brandon “Witch” during sex was hot. (and obviously substitute a B for the W).

Then the unthinkable happens – which isn’t a spoiler because it’s referenced in the official blurb as “ the crime every cop knows ends in tragedy” and further queries if Brandon “the distraught parent” will “hold it together long enough to solve the crime". So in other words, Shayna gets snatched. This would have been hard for me to read if I had children, or probably any sort of maternal instinct towards human children. Since I don’t – it stayed at the 3 ½ stars level of interest with low angst. ( I will say the scenario around the snatching served to remind me of why I don’t allow anyone to watch my dog.) Shayna’s abduction sets the stage for Brandon’s ex. Wife Dian and his step mother Edith (sweet, strong, wonderful character) to descend upon Nicky’s home.

As the hours drag on and turn into days, and we spend a lot of time talking about the getting through the basics of day to day life; the food that the Jewish Community Center sent home with the family, whether we want to have chili-cornbread casserole or cheese kugel or ziti, the fact that Edith can clearly tell that Nick is more than “just a friend” - and all the while it really isn’t clear to anyone that Brandon is slowly unraveling. Until he finally does unravel at 62%, and when he does…he does it spectacularly! And then things pick up and the remainder of the book was a definite 4 ½ stars for me. Part of me suspects because there is something heart wrenching-ly sexy about a completely tortured and broken Brandon (but that actually sounds a little sick) so I’m going with the fact that the plot picks up and things seem to start moving quicker from that point on.

The ending is very satisfying. Brandon deals with his closet-case issues, and his commitment issues, the mystery is solved (wasn’t hard to figure, there really only could have been 1 perp), everybody’s happy (except for Brandon’s father who’s a bit of an ass) and my boys got their HEA. Nicky however did get points deducted for clearly not being a dog lover.
James Buchanan is a new author for me...recommended by a friend on AfterElton. Self-defined as a "she" in the notes on this series of three novels, apparently James is genderqueer (I can't really define that, I trust the term implicitly) and sometimes goes by "he," thereby avoiding the opprobrium of hiding behind a false gender to sell books. Of course, James chose the pen name because of our notoriously effeminate and probably gay president from the 1850s. But that's another story.

The two main characters in the "Taking the Odds" series are Nicholas O'Malley, known as Nick or Dracula to his friends, and Nicky to those who love him. (More of that anon.) In spite of his name, he is half Native American, and goth, and into bondage. Eek.

The other part of the duo is Brandon Carr, who in spite of the name is Jewish (I did wonder why no Jewish names for the Jewish characters - and why these Jews all act like my WASP family - but that's merely a distraction). The core story that drives these three novels, which are technically police mysteries, but are really BDSM love stories, is the complex personalities and even more complex relationship of Nick and Brandon.

Brandon is a closeted cop and a tattooed biker who fights vice in Riverside, CA; Nicky is an out gay member of the west coast goth scene, who makes sure that the slot machines that steal our money in Nevada are doing so honestly. They approach, they avoid, they tie each other up; they learn what love is and what commitment means and how dangerous messing with criminals can be.

Also core to these books is the idea of being in the closet, and in the end about how impossible it is to live any sort of emotional life fully while still caught up in the self-dislike that being in the closet can exacerbate.

Overall, I loved this series. Buchanan is not quite the writer Josh Lanyon or Neil Plakcy are. There are moments of slightly repetitious dialogue; and (editors, please!) far more inexcusable grammatical errors than should be allowed in any genre. But Buchanan is a powerful story-teller, and this author's pointed use of sex to amplify and move the story along (and not just provide titillation for us vanilla wafers) is really really good. The leather/goth/bdsm stuff is all about these men and why their relationship is both difficult and, ultimately, essential to their futures.
I loved "Cheating Chance," and "Inland Empire," and I loved this one. The plots in all three of them are great, the lovemaking sizzling, and the angst sometimes gutwrenching. In "All or Nothing" I thought in the beginning that Brandon's kid was a dispicable little brat, which was a good twist, and the villian in this story was a very imaginative creation. I liked that Nick finally grew some balls and put his foot down with Brandon, and of course I loved the ending. I will never read a book if I know it has an unhappy ending. My happy ending books I read over and over again. I love most of James Buchanan's books. One of my very favorites is The Good Thief, and I wish she would write another book about Nathan Reilly and Caesar Serrano (who is to die for) if it wouldn't be anti-climatic. Erastes is an exceptional writer, and Standish was incredible, but had an absolutely awful ending, so I will never read it again. I only got halfway through The Front Runner, and put it down when it became obvious that it wasn't a happy book.
Let me just start by saying what a great series this is; each installment delving a bit deeper into Nicky and Brandon's relationship. The story is solid and action packed. The dynamics between Nicky and Brandon are terrific. I find myself sucked right into these books, always anxious to see where the story will go next. While I have read several other books by this author and enjoyed each and every one of them, the "Taking the Odds" series is my favorite - I just have a soft spot for Nicky and Brandon and can't help rooting for them as they face the challenges life throws at them. I highly recommend this book - but make sure you read Cheating Chance and Inland Empire as well so you have the whole story! Can't wait to see what's in store next in this series.