Conflict of Interest by Zahra Owens ~ Book Review by Josie Goodreads

Conflict of Interest Title: Conflict of Interest

Author: Zahra Owens

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Rating: 3.00 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

When a material witness changes her story during a court interrogation, allowing the man who assaulted her little boy to go free, Senior Crown Prosecutor Finn DeHavilland’s legendary self-control goes out the window. His subsequent suspension from appearing in court leaves Finn with time on his hands. Desperate to continue working, and after regularly attending his mandatory psychiatric sessions, he accepts a delicate case involving a fraudulent Scotland Yard police detective.

Excited to be assigned to the case, DS Tommy Drummond, who has had a soft spot for Finn since Finn defended him during an internal investigation, and his partner, Stevie Fielding, begin uncovering evidence. A series of seemingly random occurrences muddle their investigation. Believing they’re on the right path, the team pushes forward, until Tommy’s apartment goes up in flames. Offering Tommy a guest room in his home turns up the heat on the growing feelings between Finn and Tommy. But Finn’s baggage may be too much to deal with, and paranoia threatens to tear them apart. As the net around the corrupt detective tightens, it becomes clear he must have had help from high places, and Finn and Tommy become pawns in the game.

Josie Goodreads’s View:

Finn DeHavilland is a dedicated prosecutor, the kind of man who lives only for his job; he has no life or friendships outside of work. Most of his cases involve child abuse and after one case too many Finn has a meltdown in court when a witness changes her story. He can’t return until he has spoken with a counselor. The counselor he is assigned is a female friend Ayse Kartal. It doesn’t take long for Ayse to ask about relationships and Finn admits he thinks he is gay but he has never explored his sexuality, in fact he is still traumatized by incidents from his childhood. Tommy Drummond is a Detective Sergeant who’s worked with Finn before. Tommy fancies Finn; in fact he has quite the crush on the man and is in the courtroom on the day of Finn’s meltdown. It’s actually Tommy who helps to get Finn away from the witness and into a side chamber.

Conflict of Interest is a story of two parts. Part one is the relationship between Finn and Tommy and part two is the police investigation they all get tied up in.

Finn is a complex character he is an abuse survivor and as much as I struggled initially to connect with him as the story progresses I could understand why he is the way he is. He comes over as reserved and aloof in Court, and in his working life, yet in his private life he is solitary and almost paralyzed in his interactions with others, he craves touch and warmth yet lives a life alone, that is until Ayse forces him to face his demons. With some encouragement from Ayse Finn invites Tommy for a drink, and when Tommy’s flat burns down Finn invites him to move in until he can find somewhere else. Their relationship starts to develop but it’s painful to watch and very much one step forward and two steps back. Tommy has no idea what’s going on with Finn who is giving out mixed signals, pulling Tommy close one minute and pushing him away the next. It’s not until Tommy is attacked that and I really got to know and understand Finn.

Tommy on the other hand comes over as a very nice straightforward guy; he’s divorced with a daughter Kasey. He’s a great cook but beyond that we don’t get to know Tommy the way we do Finn. Tommy is loyal to Finn and I liked how sensitive and understanding he was.

Most of the first half of the book is devoted to the developing relationship and it’s not until they have settled into a routine that the actual detective part of the story starts. At the very beginning of the story Tommy and his partner Stevie are assigned to a double murder in Belgravia. Just as Tommy and Stevie start working on that they get pulled off to quietly and discreetly investigate a corrupt detective, looking at the cases where it’s thought he fabricated or withheld evidence. This investigation is being directed by Finn who is now back at work. As the investigation progresses it appears the detective has friends in high places and they come across facts that seem to link him to the recent murders in Belgravia and the attack on Tommy. The police investigation is not action packed, it’s not car chases and excitement, it’s text book investigation work but the story did became quite gripping and ends with a tense climax.

The story is told from both POV with each narration headed by the character’s name and I did need that visual reminder as the head hopping is quite frequent. The secondary characters don’t really figure much apart from Ayse and Stevie, Tommy’s’ partner so the story very much stands on the shoulders of Tommy and Finn. I did struggle with the writing style which I found dry and lacked emotion and warmth. It wasn’t until the attack on Tommy that I began to engage with the characters at all.

I did like the story but I do think it was perhaps a bit too ambitious, too much was going on at any one time and as a result I found myself easily confused and not as engaged as I normally am.

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble
Kobo US
Kobo UK

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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