TITLE: Criminal Intentions, S1E2: Junk Shop Blues
AUTHOR: Cole McCade
AGE RANGE: Adult
A murdered night club mogul unlocks a web of infidelity and deceit. The most likely suspect? The daughter of the richest family in Baltimore, if only Detectives Malcolm Khalaji and Seong-Jae Yoon can piece the evidence together. The clues just aren’t lining up—but Malcolm can’t tell if he’s missing a piece of the puzzle or completely missing the mark. The McAllister case still haunts him. So many dead. So many he couldn’t save. It’s throwing him off his game.
Seong-Jae Yoon is struggling in his own way. He can’t solve the case when he can’t trust Malcolm, and he can’t trust Malcolm when the grizzled old wolf is growing increasingly erratic, increasingly dangerous. What disturbs Seong-Jae is how much he needs to trust Malcolm. He doesn’t get that close. He doesn’t get that involved. But he may have no choice, if they want to stop a powerful killer from slipping away.
He felt like he was all sharp edges, and he’d forgotten how to blunt himself.
Unsurprisingly, Junk Shop Blues was another flawless read from Cole McCade. I think I could gush about his writing forever, and I probably will, so bear with me, friends.
Feral. If anything the old wolf was beyond feral right now, on edge, ragged, on the verge of going rabid.
I’ve so quickly grown hopelessly attached to Malcolm and Seong-Jae, and now I feel like I can’t get enough of their interactions, watching the two of them fight this ridiculous chemistry between them so hard when I think we all can see it’s futile, even at this point in the series. While the progression between them is slow going, it’s so rewarding to watch it all unfold.
Cold, closed off, downright menacing. And fussy as hell about his coffee.
Of course, it’s not just about the romance slowly coming into play; the murder mystery was just as intriguing in this episode as it was in the first. I guessed the murderer quite a bit earlier than the characters did, but it was in a good way, where it had me sitting there fussing out loud at my kindle, “No! The other one!” (The first time this happened was the moment I realized how well Cole’s executed his goal of playing these books out like a television show, because it reminded me so much of watching CSI as a kid.)
Malcolm, he thought, was a stone shore that waves slammed against again and again. He might seem endless and immovable, but time and time again each dash of waves against rock eroded more and more of him away.
The last thing I want to touch on before I wrap this review up (so I can finally pick up episode 3!) is how well the mental health rep in this was. There’s a lot of time given to Malcolm’s issues with therapy and with the trauma both he and Seong-Jae suffer from, and the ways they find to cope.While my hopeless romantic heart was a little peeved with Malcolm’s coping at times (if you’ve read it, you probably know what I mean!), I love how flawed and genuine these characters feel and how carefully the topic is handled. Another 5-star title from Cole McCade, and nobody is surprised, least of all me.
Content warnings for murder, gore, body horror
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