Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Albert Sterne, forensics expert with the FBI, is so obnoxious on the surface that no-one bothers digging deeper. When he's sent to Colorado to investigate what turns out to be the work of a serial killer he encounters Special Agent Fletcher Ash and they end up reluctantly joining forces to unravel the case. It's only a matter of duty, though; it can't be more, because Albert doesn't do friendship - and he certainly doesn't do love!
Publisher: Manifold Press
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Criminals & Outlaws, Friends to Lovers
Word Count: 171000
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
“You looking to party?” the young man asked.
When Albert drew off his dark glasses, his com panion politely followed suit, tucking his own into the back pocket of his jeans. Albert considered the figure before him, stepping to one side for the full effect of the late-setting sun’s illumination: male, of primarily Hispanic background; eighteen or perhaps nineteen, which was getting old to be on the game; one-seventy, an inch taller than Albert; light brown and dark brown. Further than that: undernourished, and had been for months if not years; clothes old and torn, though fairly clean and assembled with a harmony of color; eyes too bright; demeanor anxious, assessing. Some might have considered the haunted expression romantic, those who thought fey meant something more whimsical than the tragedy of ‘fated to die’. But Albert was instead drawn by the spark of intelligent curiosity.READ MORE
“If party is a euphemism for having sex,” Albert said, “then, yes, I do want to. Frankly, I have no idea why else I’d be approaching you.”
“Well, I don’t do cops.” Though he continued to hold Albert’s gaze in what seemed a challenge, rather than turn away.
“I’m not a cop, I’m federal, so the petty crime of prostitution is somewhat below my jurisdiction. Apart from which, I’m off-duty.”
The young man laughed humorlessly. “So you’re the first cop I’ve met who didn’t take the job home with him every night.”
“Are you interested in earning your drug money or not?”
The too-bright eyes sharpened. “Is that an accu sation?”
Albert heaved a sigh and feigned patience. “The Drug Enforcement Administration has jurisdiction over narcotics violations. I assure you I simply want to … party.”
After a long moment of parried stares, the younger man quirked a weary smile. “Then, G-man, I’m your boy.”
“Hardly. As opposed to most of your colleagues who would not have reached the age of consent in the most liberal of states.”
The smile turned to a frown, more deeply felt. “That a problem for you? Me being older, I mean.”
“Quite the opposite.”
“Fine. So where are we going?”
“I have a room at the Oberon.”
“Obviously a man of style.”
“Amazing,” Albert commented as he turned to walk beside the youngster. “A two-bit street brat capable of irony.”
“You think we’re all too stupid?”
“Whoring is hardly the career choice of an intel ligent person.”
“Yeah, well, that goes both ways – slumming it with the likes of me is hardly the most intelligent way of getting laid. But you enjoy the dirty end of town, huh?”
“Unfortunately, that rather depends on you.”
“That so,” the kid said flatly. He paced along at Albert’s side for a few minutes, silent, arms folded and shoulders huddled. The swift twilight descend ed, and the city seemed to breathe easier.
Now that he had the briefest chance to reflect, Albert found himself glad this was a man he was about to have sex with. He had considered himself bisexual ever since he was old enough to think the issue through, to realize all the implications of his sometimes wayward urges – but somehow it was reassuring right now that this was someone of his own gender.
When they reached the hotel entrance, the younger man came to an abrupt halt and cast a defiant glance at Albert. “Let’s talk money, princess.”COLLAPSE
Sirius on Dear Author wrote:
… it's not its length that will 'disturb' you, but the ability of the author to give deepness to every character, even the less important ones, like Ricardo, the hustler, or the more unlikely, like the villain. … I'm not sure this book by Julie Bozza is good for everyone, the most squirming reader will probably want to avoid it. But if you want a very good psychological thriller, of the old fashioned type, I can fully recommend this one.
Rosa on My Fiction Nook wrote:
Albert Sterne is without any doubt one of the most memorable characters I have ever “met” in the genre of mm romance … I recommend this book very highly, especially if you love snarky, complex heroes and if detailed descriptions of murder with torture do not scare you.
That’s what I love about Julie Bozza; each of her books is so different. She’s eclectic and it shows. … I think this is a love it or hate kind of book. It’s a bit dry in the beginning, but once you push though that and kind of go with the flow of the novel, it’s awesome and singularly different from other MM books. … I highly recommend it. I want to hug it. … (If you read and like this book, please read Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect, which is also fantastic.)
The paperback edition of the novel incorporates the stories first published separately in the ebook Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect.
Equal third in the category Best LGBT Mystery / Thriller, in the Rainbow Awards 2011.