Contemporary · mental health · MM romance · mystery

REVIEW: Variable Onset by Layla Reyne

The Official Description: To catch a killer, a special agent and his former student will need to get close—to their target, and each other. Layla Reyne returns with a stand-alone romantic mystery.

When the serial killer known as Dr. Fear seemingly reemerges after a cooling-off period, Special Agent Lincoln Monroe wants on the case. He knows his research on the calculating criminal, who targets couples and uses their worst fears to kill them, could prove invaluable. But nothing can prepare Lincoln for the agent waiting for him in Apex, Virginia: a brash and cocky former student. Carter Warren is everything Lincoln is not, and somehow everything he wants. And they’ll be going undercover. As newlyweds.

For Carter, seeing Lincoln again—and flustered to boot—pokes his raging bear of a crush something fierce. He thinks posing as lovers will provide the perfect bait for Dr. Fear. But pretending to be married forces them to confront fears of their own…like giving in to the very real chemistry between them.

With evidence pointing to the possibility of a copycat killer, Lincoln and Carter will have to race to separate truth from fiction. But when another couple goes missing, finding the killer will test every ounce of their training, skills and the strength of their bond like never before.

This book is approximately 72,000 words

Just the facts: M/M

An exciting chase after a serial killer made better by the chemistry between the two agents involved! – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit: I love me a good serial killer mystery… and it’s made even better when there’s a bit of a complicated relationship between the lead investigators. Special Agent Lincoln Monroe is teaching at Quantico when he’s called back into action.

This is a contemporary thriller. There is a serial killer, aptly named, Dr. Fear. He kills people by way of their main fear! What a horrible thought! It works well in the story, probably because we all have fears that we wouldn’t want to have to face.

So, Lincoln is called to action to go undercover with another agent. What he doesn’t know until he arrives on location that is that he will be working with Carter Warren. Carter was a student of Lincoln’s in the past and there was chemistry… of course of the kind that a Professor doesn’t act on. And, the two men are supposed to pose as a newly married couple!

This book follows the case through the time that Lincoln becomes involved until the plot comes to  a conclusion! It’s a great story that is well thought out and I loved the amount of detail that was put into the process of how an investigation may work! I was quite intrigued by some of the genetic information and evidence processing that happened.

I think Lincoln was my favorite character. He is devoted to his wife and daughter and comfortable with his bisexuality in addition to being a kick-ass profiler. I loved the way that his sexuality wasn’t a huge part of the story… it’s just a small part of who his character is. LOVED that a lot actually! His thought processes were quite intriguing. The author did a great job of letting the evidence and mystery unfold consistently with little bursts of excitement!

There’s a lot of chemistry between the two main characters but I definitely enjoyed the way that they were a bit confused or conflicted about what was happening. After all, how do you know if what you’re feeling is real when you’re “pretending” to be a married couple. It may not be a particularly new concept for characters to become a muddle in a relationship like this but I really enjoyed the way that it was written in this story.

Definitely enjoyable!!! I would recommend this if you like mysteries… in particular if you like stories about serial killers.

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) Vivid

Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel.

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I received an ARC of Variable Onset by Layla Reyne via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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