Charlie Cochet

Books: Fantasy | LGBT

THIRDS: Hell & High Water (2014/2018)


Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy (2015)


Hell & High Water (2014/2018)

Dexter Daley's career in the human police force is over–he just doesn't know it yet.

After testifying that his partner shot a unarmed teenager Therian in the back, he's put on leave, and then beat up by his fellow officers. Eventually, he's sent to THIRDS, the human-therian unit that deals with human-therian crime.

This story started out fantastic. I really liked Dex and his family.

Both (Dex's) parents had been killed during the riots when he was five years old. He'd been adopted by his father's friend and work partner, Anthony Maddock. A year later, his baby Therian brother was rescued and adopted.

Dex ends up on a team with both his father and his brother (it specifies this is allowed by regs, but dating relationships are not).

Dex is smart, and he see precisely how messed up the unit is from day one. I'm mentioning this, because it has bearing on problems I had with the story at the end.

He doesn't want me here. If I stay, it means he has to leave Gabe behind, and he's not ready to do that. … "Ash is a certified prick. He's channeling his pain into anger that he takes out on whoever tries to step into Gabe's shoes. Cael is in his own little world because he doesn't want to face what happened. … "Calvin and Hobbs are seriously codependent on each other. We both know how dangerous that can be. We have protocols and right now, I'm not sure they'd adhere to them.

So the team is a mess. But they're still sent out on missions and are currently working on a high profile serial murder case. But we'll come back to that.

The world building was very interesting. Therians happened/were created during the Vietnam war from a bio-warfare experiment gone wrong. A great deal of thought was put into shifting, and the effect it would have on the Therian–there's even a name for it: Post-Shift Trauma Care.

The tech was a bit iffy, but for the most part nothing off-the charts ridiculous.

About halfway through the story, one bit of world-building made me twitch. They talk about "Canidaes" (wolf shifers) and "Felids" (cat shifters) but then we have "Bear Therians". Why? Why not Ursids? That really REALLY bugged me for some reason.

Moving along.

Remember that bit where Calvin & Hobbes are described as co-dependent? Yea, they put the rest of the team in danger because of it, just as Dex predicted might happen.

Although I feel like it's a bit nit-picking, the place where the tech was off, it was really off.

"The Styx only has a few cameras inside and one toward the front entrance. Nothing out the back, since patrons aren't supposed to exit that way. I'm going to run the last three months through Themis. Shouldn't take more than a few minutes."

Themis played the video at high speed, tiny white squares popping up over every face it came across, while a narrow screen on the right side scrolled information, names, details, dates, times, addresses, anything related to the individuals who popped up on the screen.

A video search. Of three months of data. With facial identification and recognition. Takes just a few minutes.


That's adorable.

And the reason it's ridiculous is because in that same chapter we have this:

"Can you get Intel to cross-reference Gabe Pearce's name with the victims?" … I got Intel to run Gabe's name through Themis and cross-reference it with our victims like you asked." Dex was surprised. He hadn't expected the results so quickly.

So you've got the computing power for facial recognition and identification but you think it's going to take a long time to cross reference text?

Nope. Not buying it.

As for the rest of it, I knew who the bad guy was almost immediately, as well as how he was doing the killing. And I just can't believe that any of the characters would have been unable to think of that on their own. IT WAS OBVIOUS.

Anyway. Moving along once again.

Now we come to the romance. Of course Dex falls for his Team Leader, Sloane Brodie. And of course Brodie falls right back. (Because this is a romance after all.)

Initially the two act like it's just sex and no big deal. Then came this conversation, towards the end (so perhaps a little spoilerly).

"Whatever happens between us has to stay between us, or one of us will be transferred to another team. You know that."

Dex nodded. How the hell could he keep something like this from his dad? Worse, from Cael? It would break his brother's heart if he found out Dex had kept secrets from him.

This really REALLY bothered me.

Dex is a straight shooter–it's what got him into trouble on the human police force. Additionally, Dex saw precisely what the death of Sloan's former partner (and lover) did to Sloan and to the team.

So why the HELL would he agree to go along with that? And I find it implausible that Tony didn't see what was going on in EITHER case.

So, in summary, I was enjoying the story and the world-building and was planning to read the next book until Dex agrees to keep his relationship with Sloan secret–knowingly putting the team in danger.

No. I absolutely do not buy that AT ALL.

So I'm done.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Rating: 5/10


Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy (2015) edited by Jordan Castillo Price

This is, like all anthologies, a variety of stories, some of which I enjoyed, one of which I utterly despised, and some of which were MEH. In other words, a good selection and variety.

"The Soldati Prince" (2015) by Charlie Cochet

This story I actually hated.

As noted in the previous story, I really dislike "fated mates" stories, and that's what this is.

"Hey, if you want to be friends, that's cool, but friends don't kidnap each other or chain each other up. Okay, maybe some do, but why don't we start small? Maybe grab a cup of coffee instead?"


I really cannot stand stories where the characters seemingly have no free will in their lives and especially their relationships. And the manipulation of the goddess makes it clear that these two really didn't have any choice in the matter, regardless of the words said.

I really did NOT see why either character "fell in love" with the other. The king is a jerk to Riley–and kinda also to everyone around him. Perhaps it's just because he doesn't like what the fates have decreed, which is fine, but he didn't seen to change his behavior enough for me to see why Riley fell for him–and vice versa.

And all the conflict in the story seems like it was randomly manufactured by the gods or whomever for plot reasons and … GRRRR. The whole thing just made me angry.

Publisher: JCP Books LLC

Rating: 8.5/10