Shadow of the Templar by tsukikoushi code name: Moon Calf
Action/Adventure, Suspense, Queer/LGBT emphasis on the Gay
Overall Rating: 5/5
Summary: This is a four part series about an FBI agent and an international thief. The four novels are The Morning Star, Double Down, With a Bullet, and High Fidelity.
Shadow of the Templar: The Morning Star
Summary: Simon Drake is an FBI agent, codename Templar. His team, Team Templar, consists of five people. At the start of The Morning Star, the team has gone undercover at a swanky-ass rich person's party in order to catch the international thief, Jeremy Archer, codename Shadow, who is stealing a rather large diamond, the Morning Star. However, they weren't nearly as prepared as they thought and he gets away. However, Archer, a thief with morals, decides to call and return the stolen diamond. Simon agrees to meet with Jeremy and discuss terms and reasons and so forth. Jeremy flirts shamelessly with Simon the entire time, and eventually they come to an agreement. The diamond which Jeremy had stolen was then stolen from him by the man who hired him to steal it in the first place. Thus, Jeremy joins Team Templar in retrieving the diamond, and starts something Simon never would have expected...
Review: Admittedly there are a lot of grammatical errors through out (all four stories), but that's kind of an exaggeration in comparison to just how much content there is. Despite the grammar that only makes me twitch because I'm a perfectionist, it is beyond amazing. The story and characters are all very intriguing and leave you wanting more. The author has a way with her characters. Their interaction is absolutely wonderful. Team Templar is a true team of friends, and they work well together. There is something that still leaves me a bit confused in regards to Simon's sexuality and his relationship with Jeremy that is never answered, but isn't truly that important to the overall story. The dialogue is rich and the characters are consistent in the way they talk and interact with each other. The chemistry between Simon and Jeremy is something that leaves you wondering just when they'll stop flirting and just kiss already. The suspense is handled perfectly and in the end it's worth staying up till the wee hours of the morning just to see what happens.
Shadow of the Templar: Double Down
Summary: In the second installment of Shadow of the Templar, the team is assigned a mission to catch a thief who has been stealing high tech technology for the Russian mafia. What's unusual about this is the thief's style is a lot like a certain international thief they know, except for the fact that this thief is killing. Simon calls Jeremy in to help them discover the thief. Jeremy does all he can to help, without giving away the name of the thief, while he and Simon do their best to keep their oh, so secret relationship a secret. In the end, trusts are broken and secrets revealed, but what secrets and whose trust....?
Review: This one was another well done story in the arch of Shadow of the Templar. Despite some of the predictability, which is so small in comparison to the larger piece, the author still keeps you on the edge of your seat and your eyes glued to the computer (or the hardcopy if you choose to buy it, I know I will. I don't think my eyes could take another read of this series on the computer). Jeremy and Simon's relationship continues to entice, even though Simon can be a real ass, they somehow work really well and Jeremy has a good handle on his own emotions and on how to deal with Simon. So, while Simon might be an ass, he's also a caring ass and Jeremy knows it, which really makes you just wanna smack Simon on the back of his head so he'll stop, but then he wouldn't be Simon, which is the most important thing. The author is constantly true to each of her characters and is constantly putting them in situations that test her abilities to keep them in character. This one has quite the twists and turns, full of the unexpected, and gives you more of a backstory on Jeremy--though not much, because where would the mystery be? Team Templar and Jeremy Archer on another whirlwind case take you to new heights with the second installment to the series.
Shadow of the Templar: With A Bullet
Summary: The third book starts off with Simon in the hospital after he was shot by a criminal recently out of prison. Sandra, as second-in-command, is now the temporary boss of the team. She takes it upon herself to call Jeremy and inform him that Simon has been shot, her own sneaking suspicions about their relationship worrying at the edge of her mind. When Jeremy shows up, Sandra places him in charge of taking care of Simon once he's out of the hospital while the team tries to find the culprit responsible for their boss's injury. They all know who it is, but the man proves more elusive than anticipated and slowly tries to break the team, while Simon keeps Jeremy's hands full in more ways than one....
Review: I'll admit this was my least favourite of the four books. I liked it, I loved it, but at the same time it really dragged. In this piece, the author decided to jump from perspective to perspective, which is understandable because Simon is in the hospital and then on leave to heal. But it does get a bit long. It isn't the longest one of the series, but it feels like it, and not exactly in the best way. I didn't particularly find the flashbacks all that... exciting or necessary all the time. And the way they were done made me think of a movie rather than a book. However, that being said, it was still amazing and suspenseful. It really picked up towards the end and the ending was totally worth the jumping perspectives and flashbacks. It still managed to maintain, throughout the perspective jumps and flashbacks, that same feel of the rest of the series. The characters continue to grow and still be the same people you loved from the beginning (well, with exception) and a new face is added to the mix who is done absolutely wonderfully. Simon and Jeremy's relationship continues as well, and as much as Simon doesn't want to admit it, his care for Jeremy is really kind of glaringly obvious and their relationship takes on more and more nuances and interesting dynamics than before.
Shadow of the Templar: High Fidelity
Summary: Simon receives an urgent call from Jeremy informing him that Karpol, their Russian friend has finally found Jeremy and is doing his utmost best to catch him, while Jeremy is on the run. Jeremy asks Simon to relay a message to the woman in charge of his answering service, which Simon happily does... twenty-four hours too late because he needed to confirm Jeremy's story. And if that's not enough, the cover up on the Farraday case is being questioned and Simon is placed on suspension. Well, what better time than now to go to Europe and save Jeremy...?
Review: This is without a doubt my favourite in the series. It wasn't slow at all. It had the perfect pace and was suspenseful in all the right places. The change of scenery and the shift in power works so well and adds such a nice verisimilitude to the overall series. A lot of the series is tide up, while there are still some things that leave you curious, though nothing that is exactly imperative to know for the sake of the overall series. Just enough that the author can write short stories to satisfy curious readers and the ones who just haven't quite had enough of this wonderful series. The action, as well as the relationships in the story have reached new heights, and all the expected and unexpected elements leave a satisfied reader in their wake. You can't help but be on the edge of your seat for this one, because you never really know what's going to happen next. It's unbelievably fantastic and satisfying and at the risk of being redundant I am going to stop. My ability to actually give a decent review is really nonexistent when I like something.
Anyhoo, I recommend the series to anyone who likes action-packed, witty, edge of your seat fun, with a side of romance (gay and straight, though very little of the latter.)