Fly by Night is the second book in the Criminal Elements series. Enough time has passed since the events of Playing with Fire that the characters have moved on. Their lives have changed, though not necessarily for the better. But it hasn’t been near long enough for anyone to forgive or forget what happened in Seattle. When the crew comes together again, this time in Philadelphia, emotions are high—which isn’t a good thing for Rook who has developed an ability he doesn’t understand and can’t control.
Fly by Night grabs you right away. It takes an early, fast, unexpected turn, and what follows is a tangle of the usual: cons, hacks, talents, and hit men. The authors have switched gears in this book, in terms of point of view character and tone—and it was a brilliant move. I enjoyed Playing with Fire, but Fly by Night is by far my favorite of the two. This storyline, if told by any of the other characters, would have been lacking. Putting Rook in the driver’s seat, made for a delightfully snarky, fun and exciting ride. His presence alone breeds tension and conflict. His dialogue oozes sarcasm. I love the fact that you’re never really sure what’s going to come out of his mouth, but you can bet (nine times out of ten) it will only make the situation worse. His actions are often emotionally charged, which can lead to bad decisions on his part and a fair amount of verbal sparring with his fellow criminals. I was glad to see, though, that as the story progresses, he does evolve. Not so much that he becomes some great hero. That wouldn’t fit his character. Rook grows the perfect amount to make you root for him.
The only negative I have is that there were a few times when Rook’s ‘talk to the camera’ moments were a little much for me. It wasn’t often, though, and didn’t detract from my enjoyment. I was also slightly disappointed in the very end. The main plotline was wrapped up (in a very exciting way), so it was satisfying in that regard. There wasn’t a major cliffhanger or loose plot lines. I just felt abrupt, like it needed another page or two to round out the ending. Or maybe I was just having way too much fun with Rook to let it go!
There was a lot more action in this book than in the first, which I was glad to see. There was more than one twist I didn’t see coming at all! The last half of the book, especially, was so tense and action-packed, I was glued to it. The plot was tight throughout. The characters were well-rounded and the dialogue snappy. You still don’t get a lot of explanation on how the magic works, yet it’s to be expected in this book. Rook is telling this story and we’re limited to his knowledge on the subject. That’s not a bad thing, though, as experiencing Fly by Night through Rook’s eyes was a blast. I would love to see a whole series from his POV.
I thoroughly enjoyed Fly by Night. It’s an impressive second book by this husband and wife writing duo. Looking forward to what they have in store for book 3!