Smoke & Mirrors

Smoke & Mirrors - Charlie Cochet Review originally posted at Sinfully.

4.5 stars

If you’ve read this far in the THIRDS series, I’m not going to need to convince you to pick this book up. This is a series that must be read in order however, so if you’re new to the THIRDS world, please start with Book 1, Hell & High Water. While the story is really focused on Dex and Sloane, there is a lot that goes on in this seventh installment. Old questions are finally answered as new ones are raised and there are plenty of relationship issues, both old and new that arise and need to be addressed.

It starts off right where Catch a Tiger by the Tail left off. Dex has been abducted from his home and is in the hands of a new player to the series, the dangerous yet charming Wolf. Let me tell you, the tension in this scene leapt off the page, but it was definitely hard to take as Dex is interrogated and tortured. I was squirming in my seat with some of what he endured. This is only the start of the story however, and what follows as Dex and the team look into his parents’ deaths all those years ago is like pulling one thread on a sweater that starts to unravel threads you didn’t realize were even connected.

Dex isn’t the only one who suffers from the strain and emotional fallout of the investigation. Dex and Sloane’s relationship is really tested in this book. As much as they love each other and learned how the other deals with difficult situations, the ups and downs are huge and old habits still die hard. At one point I was so disappointed in Sloane’s actions, it was almost like he had regressed back to the first book and my heart hurt for Dex (let me put it this way, Ash was the relationship voice of reason here). But of course this would not be THIRDS without Dex and Sloane and in the end we are left with no question that they are it for each other through the good and the bad and the different. If you’ve been paying attention in the last few books you probably have your theory as to what the different is, and rest assured Charlie Cochet will reveal whether you are right or wrong.

It’s not all upheaval and excitement and death (yes I said death). Dex is traumatized and Sloane and his family step up and really support him. There is a lot of quiet, comfort time along with the sexy times between Dex and Sloane. Ash, Cael and Hudson play a big part in Dex’s recovery as well and everyone else we’ve met along the way is represented. I love the family bond between Dex, Cael and Tony, who is having his own difficulties with what is being revealed and what has been kept from him. It’s all the ways that the men and team have formed a family unit that is the real strength of these books.

This book was a turning point in more than one story arc and although I now have more information and background, I still don’t like or trust Sparks or TIN’s questionable behaviors. The more the team seems to find out, the more questions are raised. We were teased that “change is coming” and it does here in more than one way. Things do change both personally and professionally for Dex and Sloane. I’m not going to spoil anything here beyond the already scheduled remaining THIRDS books so if you’re interested in where the future of the THIRDS world is headed beyond that (Seb &Hudson are up next then more Dex & Sloane!), check out Charlie Cochet’s website.

This was another fabulous entry in the series, which in my opinion has not had a misstep yet. It has everything I’ve come to expect from the series; romance, suspense, action, secrets, heartache, bar fights and wiseass remarks. THIRDS fans will devour it and discuss it as the dreaded wait begins once again. Unlike the last book, there is no cliffhanger, yet 2017 feels so far away right now.