Double or Nothing (written by Cari Z. and L.A. Witt) is the story of a U.S. Marshal, Rich, who has the task of escorting a witness to a safe house. The witness, Leo, works for a notorious mob boss and is now turning on the mafia. He is assisting the U.S. Marshals in bringing the family down. Everything starts as a routine escort mission. But things turn when they are ambushed leaving their hotel by, not only by the mob but by fellow marshals. Rich and Leo are now running for their lives not knowing who they can trust and with no destination. Their only goal is to survive and for Rich to help Leo bring down his former bosses.
This is the third novel by L.A. Witt that I have had the pleasure of reading. Though I use the term reading loosely. For Double or Nothing, they gave me the opportunity to listen to its audiobook version narrated by Nick J. Russo. Normally, I have difficulty with audiobooks. I find most of them dry with the narrator putting little effort into distinguishing their characters’ voices.
But, that was not the case with Russo. He gave an amazing performance, creating not only a distinct voice for each character but a personality. His inflection and tone were so superb and on point, that it felt like I was listening to a radio drama with a dozen distinct actors. I fell in love with his interruption of the mob hacker Leo. I am looking forward to listening to other books narrated by him.
The story itself was far more action-packed than I initially imagined, which I enjoyed. The main story focus was the situation of them needing to survive. The two men not liking each other at first learned to depend on each and develop trust.
The chapters flip back and forth between the two principal character’s perspectives. As the story unfolds the reader receives insight into both of the principal characters and learns there is more going on than just their current situation.
Both men are gay, which is expected from the beginning. But they are not aware of that with each other. Though they have an attraction to each other, they try their best to push it out of their head and focus on the mission. This is great because had they gotten together immediately it would have thrown the story for me. Stories that have them in each other’s arms too early often feel forced. Instead, we get a slow build-up as the veil of their pasts slowly lifts. The reader feels affection for them as they develop feelings for each other.
With Rich, the reader gets a glimpse of his military background and training. Through his narration and flashbacks, we get a sense of the sequence of events that lead him from going from a Marine to a Marshall. The authors do a good job of creating a believable ex-military character. This is a strength I have found in Witt’s previous books that I have read. The Walls of Troy and her recent release, The Road Home both have a character with a strong military background. All three books deal with the subject of PTSD. It is handled respectfully and allows the reader to understand what happens to a person as they go through those flashback moments.
With Leo, we learn early on that he was born into the mob, his father being a former hitman. But Leo’s talents lie in his ability as a hacker. When a tragedy throws his world upside down, he gets the courage and determination to leave the mafia and use what knowledge he has to bring them down and make them pay for what they had done.
This is a strong story that I believe many people would enjoy. Yes, there is a passionate romance and when they give in to their desires, it is a joy to read. But as a reader, if you enjoy action, slow-burn love stories, conspiracy, military, and crazy road trips, then this would be a book for you. I highly recommend it. If you get a chance to listen to the audiobook, then I would say go for it. As I mentioned earlier, Russo does an amazing job of pulling you into that world.
I am looking forward to the next installment in the series, Doubling Down. Where we continue following Rich and Leo as they attempt to tie up the loose ends.
Doubling Down is available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3aO6Ama
Follow L.A. Witt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GallagherWitt
Follow Cari Z on Twitter: https://twitter.com/author_cariz
Follow Nick J Russo on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nickjrussovoice
Other works by L.A. Witt mentioned:
The Walls of Troy https://amzn.to/2IBUpwA
The Road Home https://amzn.to/2xyzwQR