King Hunt
Grade : B-

With Marsh, Levi and their allies finally closing the net around the arms-dealing/people-trafficking/money-laundering organisation they’ve been working to bring down, King Hunt is a flurry of fast-talk and high-stakes action featuring a dizzying array of characters and a lot of moving parts. This final book in Layla Reyne’s Perfect Play series follows directly on from the events in book two, and as this is essentially a single story being told across three instalments, you really need to have read Bad Bishop and Dead Draw if you’re going to make any sense of King Hunt.

The overarching suspense plot began in Dead Draw when Special Agent Emmitt Marshall realised that the group of terrorists he was tracking through Europe was linked to the people trafficking gang being investigated by Special Agent Levi Bishop in San Diego. Several weeks later, after getting married, falling in love, chasing the bad-guys across Europe and uncovering corruption at the highest level, Marsh and Levi are ready to move on to the endgame. They’ve discovered that the organisation is being run under the cover of Eder Capital, a company that purports to be a philanthropic venture but which is instead a massive money-laundering operation. At its head is Charles Sanders, one of the world’s richest men, and his two lieutenants, nephew Stefan and niece Catherine, who maintains a cover as a London-based investment banker. Stefan was apprehended at the end of Bad Bishop – now it’s time for Levi and Marsh to manouevre the queen into position so they can checkmate the king. (Yes, there are a lot of chess metaphors in this series!)

Marsh and Levi decided upon a bold move to target Catherine Saunders and try to get her to turn on her uncle. By signalling to Catherine that he might be open to changing sides, Levi accompanies her to London – via Munich and Paris – where she meets up with a number of different contacts, clearly making plans of her own. Marsh, meanwhile, is left anxiously behind in Salzburg, together with the other members of the team, in order to make sure everything else is in place before they all head back to the US where they’ll rendezvous with Levi and spring the trap for Catherine. These plans pull in back-up from the San Francisco-based Madigans (Fog City) who, thanks to Marsh’s friendship with Brax, now regard Marsh and Levi as part of their extended family.

King Hunt wraps up the Perfect Play series with a flourish, pulling together all the different plot points and steadily building the tension as we head towards a high-stakes, adrenaline-fuelled finale – and a final twist which requires our guys to do some fast thinking when things don’t quite to go plan.

As seems to be Layla Reyne’s pattern in her three-part series, she kind of cements the romance in book two so that the suspense plot can take precedence in book three, and that’s pretty much what happens here, too. By the end of Bad Bishop, Marsh and Levi have admitted their feelings for each other and made it clear they’re in it for the long haul, so in King Hunt, the focus is more on their fears for each other’s safety, their longing to be together and for the case to be over so they can go home – along with their son, David – to begin making a real life together. It’s clear they care deeply for one another and their chemistry is as strong as ever, as is their admiration for and faith in each other to what needs to be done.

I’ve said before that reading a Layla Reyne book is like watching a slick, fast-moving TV show – lots of action, lots of banter, lots of characters zipping in and out of scenes – although the plots are more complicated and you’re not likely to get the same amount of steam in a TV show, even one on HBO! But I have to admit that I struggled to get into the story this time around; I didn’t have time to re-read Bad Bishop before reading this, and I was a bit lost for the first few chapters. There is no real recap of the story so far and we’re plunged straight into the events that follow Levi’s departure at the end of the previous book. I suppose it’s a danger of splitting one story into three parts – not every reader is going to recall what happened last time or have time to re-read the previous book (which I’d strongly advise, by the way.) The book is also – again – overflowing with cameo appearances, although not quite as many as last time. Some are integral to the plot – like Hawes Madigan – but others – like his husband Chris – get one line and it’s hard to see why his presence was necessary other than for some sort of fan service. I haven’t counted this time, but the cameos, plus the new secondary characters created for this series adds up to too many to keep track of easily.

But there’s no denying that the Perfect Play series is an entertaining action/adventure yarn with a sexy and emotional romance at its heart. If you’re a fan of the author’s then you’ll know what to expect; if you haven’t read her before and like the sound of an action movie in book form, be sure to start with Dead Draw – or even go back to the beginning and her Whiskeyverse books.

Reviewed by Caz Owens

Grade: B-

Book Type: Romantic Suspense

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : June 9, 2023

Publication Date: 06/2023

Recent Comments …

  1. Yes, yes yes to everything! I’d been struggling to get into print books for a while, even ones that I…

Caz Owens

I’m a musician, teacher and mother of two gorgeous young women who are without doubt, my finest achievement :)I’ve gravitated away from my first love – historical romance – over the last few years and now read mostly m/m romances in a variety of sub-genres. I’ve found many fantastic new authors to enjoy courtesy of audiobooks - I probably listen to as many books as I read these days – mostly through glomming favourite narrators and following them into different genres.And when I find books I LOVE, I want to shout about them from the (metaphorical) rooftops to help other readers and listeners to discover them, too.
Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments