Next Of Kin by Jae is the next instalment of the Portland Police Bureau Series. Picking up a few months after the events of Conflict of Interest, we are able to see Jae perform the delicate balancing act of keeping us abreast of Aiden and Dawn’s progress and giving us a more in-depth look into the lives of other characters.

Deputy District Attorney Kade Matheson has a well-ordered life. Well, she did up until a most recent case has forced her to face her attraction to women. One woman in particular, Homicide Lieutenant Del Vasquez. Del is intrigued by Kade as well and wants to get to know her better. But Kade finds that Del isn’t her only admirer. And this other person is relentless to get Kade’s attention at any cost. Two admirers are after Kade, but which one is more dangerous? The threat to her life or the threat to heart?

Meanwhile, Detective Aiden Carlisle is adjusting to being in a committed relationship with Psychologist Dawn Kinsley. However, it has its own issues that are present from the beginning. Dawn is still recovering from her attack months ago, and Aiden is adjusting to having someone being such a predominant fixture in her heart. It doesn’t get any easier when one of Dawn’s patients ends up in trouble with the law, prompting a collision of Aiden’s personal and professional life, and revealing a secret no one knew existed. Will Aiden be able to stay objective? Or will her old habits end up pushing Dawn away?

The Characters

What I love about both Kade and Del is that on the surface, they seem to be the stereotypical lawyer and cop. Kade is very structured, no nonsense and just wants the facts. Del tells it like it is and is really good at reading people, especially Kade.  As their professions dictate, they need to be unbiased and try to get to the truth with minimal interference from outside forces that could sway their opinion. But these women are so much more than their professions would have you believe.

Kade is a woman who was brought up in a wealthy family, and she was taught to be successful and marry successful. While she tries to adhere to her mother’s wishes to marry a man, Kade has always harbored a secret attraction to women. Yet she doesn’t act on it because she’s certain the ramifications will outweigh the reward of being true to herself. It’s this control Kade believes she needs to have to be successful. When she meets Del, her world becomes unsettled with the desire she always had below the surface.

Del Vasquez was brought up in a loving family until the day she came out to them. Since then she doesn’t have contact with them but has found a loving, surrogate family with Dawn and her mother. This unconditional love she experiences was her saving grace. It makes her approachable and trusting to a lot of people, including Kade Matheson. While she may seem like a no-nonsense cop, her heart is always full of love when it comes to the people she cares about. Dawn and her family are a part of that. And Del would love nothing more to have Kade be a part of it as well.

The Writing Style

Jae did a great job of writing this story like it’s a television show. And it makes sense to follow this structure for this particular series for a multitude of reasons. While Aiden and Dawn are the primary characters, they interact the majority of the time with Kade, Del, and the rest of the supporting characters due to their professional and personal relationships with them.

All their lives overlap in some form. So, it’s totally understandable that there must be a balance to maintain between everyone and the details being introduced as well as updated.

Jae must keep us informed about Aiden and Dawn’s life together, and she must also introduce the lives of her other characters. In this story, we see Kade and Del, how their lives unfold, and how they will eventually come together. If Jae follows this format into the fourth installment of this series, she’s going to have the fans begging for this to be produced for the television screen.

The Pros

I loved how balanced this book feels. With some series, you get a sense that a lot of focus is given to one character or another based on who is supposed to be the focal point. For this series, however, all of the characters are the focal points. I never once felt like one character, or set of characters, was getting more time than another.

Both storylines were equal amounts in representing what each group was experiencing. And when they finally come together, it really gives you a sense of the interconnection these characters share with their lives.

The Cons

While I love the balance of both story arcs, I wish that the book had started off with Kade’s story arc first. I knew Aiden and Dawn were going to make an appearance again, so it would’ve been nice to give the focus first to Kade and Del and then bring in Dawn and Aiden’s storyline shortly after.

The Conclusion

I love books that are so easy to become engrossed in, and this one is definitely a great one to immerse yourself. If you love Aiden and Dawn, then you’ll be anxious to get your hands on this book to get an update and delve into the life of Kade and Del. If you haven’t yet picked up Conflict of Interest and introduced yourself to these characters, what are you waiting for? Go pick up this amazing series right now and see for yourself how great crime drama unfolds in front of your eyes.

Excerpt from Next Of Kin by Jae

The tall person headed directly for her, the face still shrouded in darkness.

Kade’s fight-or-flight reflexes took over. Her Matheson genes weren’t much for running away, so she thrust her keys into the attacker’s side and used the seconds while he was cradling his ribs to duck under his arm and grab the BMW’s door handle.

But her attacker was faster. A long-fingered hand prevented her from opening the door. “Ouch. Is that how you usually say hello, counselor?”

Kade whirled around. The voice was distorted with pain but definitely female. In the grayish light down here, she could make out the features of a Latina woman of about forty. She seemed familiar, but Kade was sure they had never been introduced. “Who are you?”

The tall woman reached into the pocket of her jacket…

Kade’s tension vanished as she stared at the gold shield and ID identifying her “attacker” as Lieutenant Delicia Vasquez Montero. “Detective Carlisle said you’d be in touch, but the police usually come to my office to meet with me. They don’t ambush me in dark and lonely places…”

“Of course not.” Lieutenant Vasquez smiled and then sobered. “Listen, can we talk?”

“Sure. If you make an appointment with my assistant, we can talk all you want.”

The lieutenant didn’t remove her hand from the driver’s side door. “There’s no time to make an official appointment. You’re already in the middle of the trial I need to talk about…”

“The case I’m trying is not a homicide.” If this lieutenant continued to way lay her, it could very well become one.

“I know. My connection to the case is not a professional one.” Vasquez’s dark eyes bore into Kade’s, sending a message of urgency…

“Have you had dinner yet?”

Kade suppressed an unladylike snort. She hadn’t even had lunch. “Not yet, no.”

“Let’s go to that little Italian place right around the corner. We can grab a bite to eat, and I can explain my connection to the case.”

Kade hated being surprised in court, so that sounded sensible. She locked her car and gave Vasquez a curt nod. “Lead the way, Lieutenant.”

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Conflict Of Interest

Next Of Kin

Change Of Pace

Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9783955334031
  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing

Jae Online

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