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Police Brutality

Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords, Book 2
Narrated by: Tristan James
Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins

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Publisher's Summary

For the first time in a long while, Emery Hazard’s life is good. His new business as a private detective is taking off. Things are good at home. He loves his boyfriend, John-Henry Somerset; he loves their daughter. He might even love the new friends they’ve found. There’s only one problem: Somers has been talking about marriage. 

When a former colleague, Walter Hoffmeister, comes to Hazard and hires him to look into a series of anonymous death threats, Hazard eagerly jumps on the distraction. Hoffmeister might be a jerk, but he’s a paying jerk, and Hazard isn’t convinced the threats are serious. 

Until, that is, Hoffmeister is almost gunned down on Hazard’s doorstep. As Hazard investigates more deeply, he learns that more than one person in Wahredua has a reason to wish Hoffmeister dead. His search takes him to the Ozark Volunteers, reincarnated as the Bright Lights movement, but it also leads him into a sanctuary of radical Christianity. Meanwhile, an antifa activist has arrived in town, calling for Hoffmeister’s death and threatening total war with the Bright Lights. 

As Hazard continues to look for answers, he becomes a target, too - and not just because he’s helping Hoffmeister. The Keeper of Bees is still at large, and the killer hasn’t lost interest in Emery Hazard. Not yet. Not, Hazard begins to suspect, until the Keeper has taken everything Hazard holds dear.

©2020 Gregory Ashe (P)2020 Gregory Ashe

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-09-2020

Great Story

I loved this book just like all the rest of the series.I felt like I was in the same room, the interactions were realistic. Another great addition to the series

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  • Yvonne M
  • 31-08-2020

Wow 🤩

I loved this book! Once again you can really see the connection between the two main guys. The author did a great job with the story, he always has me wanting more.

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  • Ric
  • 28-08-2020

Great Story Good Series

Such interesting details good work. Sizziling. Great romance. Looking forward to more good stories Thanks.

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  • Riva
  • 29-06-2020

Another winner

I was given a free copy of this audiobook in return for an honest review.

I love that this series has such complicated characters and multi levels of drama and intrigue. It has a great balance of mystery and romance. In this book Hazard’ latest client is a nightmare, racist, homophobe. But he needs help and Hazard steps up. I also love the way GA weaves in relevant social issues within the cast of characters; including a “holier than thou” trans pastor.

This story is a rollercoaster ride and focuses more on the relationship than the first book in this series. It is of course woven around a mystery and I think some clues to the over arching mystery. But of course I can’t really tell because GA is a tricky guy. To say Hazard starts his new PI business with unresolved issues is an understatement. The events in the first series keep cropping up. He goes from treating Somerset like crap to confessing undying love; it gives me whiplash. Somerset wants more from the relationship, but Hazard is resistant for Hazard-like reasons. So of course Somerset does stupid things to push Hazard’s buttons.

Like I said, a roller coaster. But in the end, I enjoyed the ride and the “surprise” ending that just makes me anxious for the next book, job well done! As a side note, before this book I hated Somerset’s new partner; he just isn’t right on so many levels. But he grows a little in this book and really made me laugh on several occasions. However, at this point I don’t trust GA not to spring some kind of surprise about him, so I’m keeping my eye on him.

Part of my change of heart about Somerset’s partner is the masterful job Tristan James does in performing his character. He does a great job with all the guys, but he does particularly well with that guy. He gets all the inflections dead on. The conversation about “threesomes” and “foursomes” had me laughing out loud. He can just convey so much feeling through his voice that I just got wrapped up in the story. On to Book Three!

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  • Michelle
  • 24-06-2020

Gets Better and Better

This series is so good and the audio makes it even better. Emery and John-Henry have their ups and downs and I'm invested every step of the way. As I've come to expect with this series, the mystery and suspense is very well done. And the overarching mystery across the books continues to tantalize as it slowly unfolds. Looking forward to the next audio!!

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  • Lisa
  • 20-06-2020

These guys are going to kill me. Really.

4.5 stars. Intense. If I had to choose only one word to describe this series, it would be intense. It's everything. Every. Damn. Thing. Frustration, omg, the frustration. Love. Rage. Pain. Fear. Happiness.

After the last case, Hazard and Somers are attempting to settle into their new normal. Except, of course, normal doesn't exist for them. Hazard is given his next PI case, hired by none other than Hoffmeister, who claims that someone is trying to kill him, while he's being sued for police brutality. As most things in Wahredua seem to do, Hazard's case seems to have the newly named Bright Lights movement lurking in the background, and he ends up working with Somers *and Dulac* in his role as police consultant. For the first time ever, Somers and Hazard do not work well together.

Ree and John's personal issues get in the way of their professional relationship. But their personal relationship struggles too, mostly because they *coughcough* still have trouble talking to each other about their fears. And most of their fears have to do with one losing the other, in one way or another. All this comes out in the worst way, repeatedly. I wasn't sure who I wanted to smack upside the head the most this time, Emery or John. They both acted abominably, and at points I ground my teeth so hard it's a miracle I didn't crack one.

For all that frustration, the tenderness and heat that's always between them is still meltingly present, as well as the humor and snark that I so love. As angry as they get at each other, the fact that they want to be together is never in doubt. Their chemistry is off the charts and watching their evolution together is irresistible, I can't look away. And I don't want to.

Dulac. *glares* This little jerk didn't make it on my DIAF shelf but it was damn close and I'm pretty sure he's going to get there sooner than later. I'm not finding Dulac at all funny or good for anything other than taking up space. 😠 We'll see if that changes.

The crime/mystery was really well done here and kept me guessing, I had no idea where it was going. The specter of the last case is hanging over everything though, and I was on edge all through the story, just waiting for it to come back. And when is somebody going to get Hazard some help? He needs it, before all of this chews him up. 😕

Ashe's writing continues to be just phenomenal. I can't think of any other author who can spin me in so many different directions at once, make me screamingly *literally* angry at my book-people, and make me love it at the same time. I seriously love these messy, annoying, wonderful men, and I want to see them get to be happy. They deserve it, so much.

Bless Ree's nerdy heart. Did you know quarks and atomic spin can be romantic? 🥰

Tristan James did a great job with the narration here. I got so lost in the story I forgot that it wasn't Hazard and Somers talking and that's about the best compliment I can give him. I'm looking forward to the next, especially with that ending!

Disclaimer: A copy of the Audio book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Karen Hardy
  • 20-06-2020

The first time I listened to an audio book...

written by Gregory Ashe was back in December of 2018...so not really that long ago and I admit I did it for two reasons...#1 some of my friends were reading or listening to his stories and saying some good things and #2 I discovered that Tristan James was the narrator and I've been a fan of his from the first audio book narrated by him that I ever listened to. I've enjoyed around 50 audio books narrated by Tristan James...that is if you only count each title once and not how many times I've listened to a particular audio book...which would mean that I've listened to a whole lot more.

But the subject here is Gregory Ashe's 'Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords' series or to be more precise 'A Union of Swords' book #2 'Police Brutality'. Fans of this pairing will know that while this is only the second book in this series this is in fact the eighth novel featuring this couple...give or take a novella and/or story here and there.

The important thing to take away here is that if you want to enjoy the full Hazard and Somerset experience you need to go back to the beginning...back to the original series and yes, it might seem daunting but it's so worth it. I was actually late to the party in discovering what a hidden gem these stories are but once I found out, I was all in. I gathered up the audio books and I marathoned my way through book after book loving every minute of them to the exclusion of all else.

As a rule I'm a big fan of series that present a different set of MCs every book or even two...mostly because in the past I've found that my interest tends to lag as things begin to feel repetitive and so far that has not been the case at all with these stories. Not only has the criminal/investigative aspect of these stories varied in terms of the who, what, where, why and when but the relationship dynamics between Ellery and John-Henry has held a realism to it that's been to say the least kept my need to know 'where things are going for these two men?'

Back in 'Pretty, Pretty Boys' we watched as Emery Hazard returned to his hometown to find himself partnered with John-Henry Somerset the bane of his existence when he was younger and as they go from antagonistic partners to cautious allies to friends and more in each successive story the reader gets to share in the emotional roller coaster ride as well as the dangers they face along the way.

Even after all this time things are not perfect between Ellery and John-Henry and just like couples in the read world their relationship is a work in progress. It's not all sunshine and light with these two...sometimes it's hard and it's just not pretty. It was at the end of the first series that we saw Emery Hazard leave the police force and with the encouragement of his John-Henry, he set out to become a private investigator.

So now here in their follow up series 'A Union of Swords' we get to see the effect of Emery's decision on their relationship. In book #1 "The Rational Faculty" we saw the beginnings of how things are changing for the former work partnership and it's impact on their personal relationship but here in book #2 "Police Brutality" the changes continue and with John-Henry talking about marriage and the addition of Dulac, Somerset's recently acquired work partner, who seems to be there at Hazard's every turn and add in Hazard's newest client...Walter Hoffmeister, a rather unpopular police officer that we've encountered in previous stories, along with the fact that 'The Keeper of Bees' is very probably still around and a threat to all that Ellery holds dear and this series is shaping up to be even more intense and mind gripping than the first one.

As much as I enjoy all aspects of the story, I have to admit for me it's the dynamics between Hazard and Somerset that keep me coming back for more. I love how these two men are together. I love that they see the flaws and imperfections in each other, that they fight...sorry, but in the real world people fight and argue and they make up. They say I'm sorry...not always with words but in ways that only someone who truly loves them can see and understand. Theirs is not a perfect relationship but one that's built on love and determination with a bit of sarcasm and snark thrown in for good measure.

Hazard and Somerset is about second chances, it's about flawed men, broken men who are to stubborn to stay down no matter how hard the world tries to keep them there. It's about men who do the right thing even when it's often not the easy thing to do and it's a series that grabbed my attention and has won my heart. I love this couple and having been there for the beginning I absolutely want to be there for whatever comes next.

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An audio book of "Police Brutality" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Dana Piazzi
  • 13-06-2020

A series that really reflects the real world!

For as emotionally heavy as the last story was, this one felt like a fresh breath of air. That is to say, as much of a fresh breath of air trying to figure out who is trying to scare/hurt a police officer is; as much of a fresh breath of air is for a couple ready to move on to the next level while one seems commitment-phobic.

Hazard and Somerset definitely made strides into the problems they were having as a couple and individually in the last book. Hazard is continuing to work as a private investigator and the work definitely seems to help him with his depression. He has an added sense of guilt in regards to a former client who had been held by a serial killer. The mysterious entity calling himself the Keeper of Bees doesn't seem to be actively trying to terrorize Hazard in this book, but his guilt over his client and worry over what the killer might do over the future is affecting Hazard in a big way. His feelings for Somerset are strong but can Hazard risk making him a possible future target? I definitely can understand how he feels, but again with the men and their dislike for talking about feelings. Overall, I feel like the two men are at a good place in their relationship and on the precipice of being even closer even with their worries.

The cases that Hazard and Somerset and his new partner are investigating in this book aren't as tense to me as the previous book either. Though to be perfectly honest, Hazard's new client and the title of the book should make it feel like it is. The police officer that hired Hazard to look into threats into his life has engaged in excessive force while on duty. The things that are happening in these books are very relevant to what is happening in the world now. I know this book was written months ago, but really the issues of systemic racism and police brutality have been going on forever and thanks to social media have really been brought to light the last few years. It isn't quite a light subject, but the anti-facist protesters and the white supremacist hate group Bright Lights seem to be taking a little break in this book and it notched down the tension for me.

There are plenty of suspicious characters in this book though. Somerset's new partner comes off as young and kind of shallow. I was concerned about some of his behavior in this book, but I am waiting to see how things proceed with him before judging to harshly. The new pastor of the local church is also acting in strange ways and has a lot of hostility for Hazard and for the police department. I do believe we will see more drama from the situation in the future.

I thought this was a really good mystery and I did enjoy that the tension was a little less in this book. Not that I am against the angst and pressure and worry that I felt listening to the first book, but I am positive that there will be more in the future books, perhaps even the next one. I needed a moment to breathe between the strained situations so I don't feel on edge the whole time. I would definitely recommend listening to the books in order because so much of what these characters have been through have made them who they are in this book. However if you picked up this book without listening or reading any of the previous ones, I feel like the author does a good job of explaining their history while telling their new story. Either way, I definitely recommend the story and the narrator. Tristan James does a great job with this series.

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  • Rachel BPG
  • 09-06-2020

Loved this book!

I absolutely love Hazard and Somerset! If you haven’t listen to them you should. Every book just gets better! As always the narrator is wonderful!

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  • Lada Morrow
  • 08-06-2020

Highly recommended

it's getting better and better with each new book! Cannot recommend highly enough. New mystery to solve and finally the M proposal at the end.

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  • Mrs. E. J. Curtis
  • 12-07-2020

Good story

The concept is interesting and well written. The characters are likeable and the narration is good.

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  • WallE
  • 06-06-2020

When the going get tough

I received this audiobook as an advanced listener and listened to it simultaneously with the purchased e-book.

Tristan James' narration nails Gregory Ashe's writing every time.

This spin off to to the original Hazard and Somerset series takes us to new heights as we continue to get to know Hazard and Somers and their crazy and sometimes scary hometown of Wahredua.

We meet Hazard having to find a way to live with the fallout from his first private investigation in book one. We also have both Somers and Hazard continuing to learn what it takes to build their relationship at home when they are no longer partners at work. I would argue that the brutality in the title refers to both the brutality of this struggle and the brutality in the cases that they have to investigate. However, don't think this book is all harshness without any light as it contains some of my favourite romantic moments of any book that I have read.

Once again Ashe brings new twists to a crime and thriller with Wharedua having its own particular spin on what man will do to man to get what he wants and the facades we put up when end up leading the lives that other expect of us, not the one that we wish to live. Unfortunately, the storyline is all too believable.

Ashe also give you people you will like, that will irritate you and some that you would cross the road if you saw them coming. I love the way that neighbours Noah and Rebecca have taken Hazard and Somers under their wing, offering them unconditional friendship and support as they find themselves. Now Dulac, I never sure if I want to box his ears or spend the time that Somers does listening to his outpourings. Then we have the likes of Hoffmeister and Kelly, who fall into the cross the road if you see them coming category! All of these characters are so well drawn so that these emotions are generated within you.