Title: Song and Key
Series: Dreamspun Beyond 11 / The Men from GLEN 01
Author: Alix Bekins and Connie Bailey
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery, Suspense
Length: Novel (218 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (2nd January 2018)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3.5 Hearts
Blurb: So-called monsters won’t hold these spies back!
For two secret agents on a mission to a secluded Romanian village, the toughest fight they face may not be against the folktale monsters lurking in the foggy mountains and old ruins, but against their unlikely attraction to each other.
Keller Key is the top operative at the covert Global Law Enforcement Network—and boy does he know it. Sexy half-Ukrainian, half-Korean Sevastyan Song is a close second. When the agents go undercover to investigate an old friend’s suspicious death, it soon becomes clear something sinister is afoot in the ancient forest and decrepit abbey. If an evil organization doesn’t spell the end of them, the angry locals might. But if they’re going to conquer their enemies, they need to keep their hands off each other and their minds on the case, in a rivals-to-lovers paranormal mash-up that gives new meaning to spy-on-spy action.
Review: Alix Bekins is a new author for me, while I am somewhat familiar with Connie Bailey’s work, although I can’t say I’ve read much of the author’s work either. Needless to say, I felt like I was going into this book blind, which I like to think is a good thing. The blurb had me excited, a good old fashioned spy agency and throw in some paranormal creatures. It had me excited.
Bailey cited that in this new series, The Men from GLEN she was paying homage to The Man from UNCLE. I watched some of that show with my mum after realizing Ducky from NCIS was in it and I have to say, that ramped up my excitement too. My next pop culture reference for this is Archer. The book’s title, Song and Key, had me thinking of British crime shows (e.g. Rosemary and Thyme, Shakespeare and Hathaway, or stealing from Doctor Who the joke name for a duo Sparrow and Nightingale). Obviously, all of my reference points are miles apart from each other and I think that kept with an open mind of what to expect with the mystery/suspense part of the plot.
Song and Key are Keller Key and Sevastyan Song (aka Seva) who are the top agents for the secret organization Global Law Enforcement Network. I found it intriguing to have a half-Ukranian and half-Korean character (Song), it had me intrigued from the start, it’s not a mix of cultures I’d heard of before in fiction and wondered how the two cultures would be blended for Seva.
Keller is a player and he lives life, both professionally and personally, on the edge. He is the exact opposite of his very professional partner. Seva likes to annoy Keller by faking bad English. From the start, it’s clear that, Keller sees Seva as a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. They’re kinda like enemies to lovers, but they’re enemies that work on the same team.
The story is set up quite efficiently, as we see our heroes sent to Romania on a mission to solve the mystery of how an ex colleague, a Welshman with little knowledge of the Romanian language who only lived there for love, ends up dead and had written a letter in an ancient Romanian language that hasn’t been used in over a thousand years. The mystery has a few clues set up from the beginning, so I found it easy to find what direct the authors were wanting to steer the reader. I don’t want to give too much away, but this is a slick mystery with action and hilarious banter between the MCs. The sexual chemistry is so obvious from the banter, it has to be my favorite part of the story.
The only criticism I have to offer is that this isn’t really a paranormal novel, or at least not one that I’m used to. Here the paranormal element is just background to all the spy games going on in the forefront. However, in saying that I do love how, despite the added romance, The Men from GLEN really do keep their Man From UNCLE inspiration. And for me that made all the fun.