Unspeakable Words

Unspeakable Words - Sarah Madison Review originally posted at Sinfully.

The story is told from Jerry’s POV. Jerry is an FBI agent with an eidetic memory, and an almost compulsive need for order and control of his surroundings. He feels he is stalled at work, where his memory skills keep him behind the scenes instead of out in the field. He has created a lonely life for himself that revolves around work with the remainder of his time mostly spent in his apartment with his cat. He has a love of literature and cooking and spends plenty of time watching DVDs of his favorite TV series. All of this helps him turn off his mind. The same mind which never forgets the details of the cases he works on.

Flynn, an agent from Washington DC, is in town to interview a witness who claims to have information about a serial killer case. Jerry is paired up with Flynn and while he immediately appreciates Flynn’s good looks and charm, Flynn annoys him. In fact, he sees Flynn as everything he isn’t. When Flynn winds up crashing on Jerry’s couch it throws Jerry’s routine life all out of order. We know this not just by his actions but by the constant narrative of entertaining thoughts we are given that run from snarky to jealous to lusting. Flynn has issues though too, many of which result from an unsolved crime in his past that haunts him. What should be a routine interview turns into a life altering event for Flynn and all their plans go out the window. Flynn now must learn to deal with a new extra sensory ability that he doesn’t want while trying to track down a killer.

This book is all story with little steam, but that didn’t bother me in the least as I found myself reading along and enjoying where it was going. The men grudgingly start working together from page one, building a working partnership. They have a good back and forth which is at times antagonistic and other times completely adorable. What really bonds these two together though is when Flynn’s new ability comes into play and he finds himself being protected and cared for by Jerry.

Talk about a slow build! The two men form a bond that changes throughout the book, but it’s not until the very end that Flynn really surprises Jerry. Flynn is straight and as far as we know has never had an attraction to a man. Jerry has been attracted to Flynn from the start, but knows he is straight. When things change it raises an interesting question: is Flynn only now attracted to Jerry because he can literally see the way Jerry thinks of him?

The paranormal element isn’t overdone, but is a focus of a good portion of the book. The story felt balanced with the investigation, the men getting to know each other and Flynn dealing with the sudden change in his life. There are tense moments and laugh out loud ones. I enjoyed the way Flynn pokes at Jerry, the way Jerry starts loosening up a bit and the literary references peppered through the story, especially their ongoing argument as to who is “Holmes” and who is “Watson”.

This is an updated and expanded edition, and although I never read the first one, it seems the author has taken readers’ comments into consideration. The most notable likely is having Jerry and Flynn’s first time together play out on-page instead of fade to black.

This was my first book by Sarah Madison and I’m glad I now have a new series to start on. I’m really looking forward to the next installment as there were a lot of plot points started here and there are still so many questions to be answered. While one murder is solved there is still the serial killer storyline and the question of just what the artifact was that caused Flynn’s change and can he reverse it. Even more important is the question of just what is happening between Flynn and Jerry. Their personal situation changes so much at the end of the book, I can only categorize it as a HFN ending with a lot of potential pitfalls. With two more books already written I can’t wait to see how the relationship plays out between them.