Updated: Dec 11, 2021
What do you do when doing the right thing cost you everything you’ve ever worked for and your only option going forward is a team that doesn’t want you?
Hell and High Water by Charlie Cochet is the first book in her Thirds series, a science-fiction romance about shifters.
Dexter Daley is a detective who is turned on by the whole department after he reports his partner for the murder of a Therian teen. Therians are genetically evolved humans who can change into various kinds of animals.
Dexter is then forcibly transferred to Destructive Dealt. A team within the Human-Therian Intelligence Recon Defense Squadron (THIRDS). He doesn’t make a very good first impression, especially for Sloane Brodie, his new team leader and Therian Jaguar partner. But, Dexter is determined to prove himself to both the team and his new partner.
As the story progresses and Dexter and Sloane grow closer and begin to trust each other the real reason for Sloane’s cold shoulder comes to light.
Cochet’s writing and story structure are superb, to the point I feel this could have been a mainstream series if not for a few issues with character development and character design choices.
The most jarring of which is her insistent need to make every male character in the story gay. And I mean every male character! And this wouldn’t be a problem for me if she were clearly making a statement. Such as ‘see how unnatural it feels when everyone has the same sexuality’.
But when her female characters, one of which is a lesbian, are completely overlooked I find it hard to believe that is the statement she’s trying to make. And really, it just comes off as fetishizing.
The next issue, I’m sure you can guess, is the fact that there are only two female main characters. And I would hardly even considered them main characters either. They are so stereotypical and bland I can hardly tell them apart.
Another issue is the fact that at times Cochet makes these characters, who are supposed to be in their thirties and professionals on par with FBI agents, act quite immature and like they’re still in high school.