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Review: Hell or High Water Series by S.E. Jakes

Last updated on May 5, 2019

S.E. Jakes has started publishing again. I’m so happy she’s back. There are many reasons I’m glad, but one of the big ones is the continuation of the Hell or High Water series.

Book four was recently released, but I realized that it had been years since I’d read Prophet and Tommy and I had no idea what was going on. So I’m rereading them. Which has resulted in rediscovering the rabbit-hole that is the EE Ltd universe this series is set in. It’s a really good rabbit hole. It’ll keep me busy for a while.

I just finished book two, so I’ll focus on the start of the series.

Prophet and Tommy are the main characters. They’re gloriously complicated, significantly dark, snarky men. Prophet has a trauma laden backstory centering around special forces, black ops, and the CIA. Tom’s background is focused around more conventional law enforcement and the rich Cajun culture of Louisiana. They remind me a little of Ty and Zane from the early Cut & Run books. But really the resemblance is superficial, because the relationship development, writing, and plot types are completely different.

The books are a nice half-and-half balance between the romance elements and the plot elements. Though the men are complicated, the romance isn’t. It’s complex and interesting, while still being pretty straight forward. You don’t so much wonder if they’re going to end up together, so much as you wonder how they’re going to make it work. The angst, and yes there’s a lot, comes from the characters themselves and their baggage rather than the plot. The plot may influence the romantic angst, but is rarely the direct cause of it.

That said, the plots themselves provide lots of character based drama as well. Book one, Catch a Ghost, takes us into Prophet’s past and sets up conflicts and characters that will be present in story arcs throughout the series. Book two, Long Time Gone, delves into Tommy’s past in New Orleans and does some sincere character development.

The Hell or High Water series is definitely romantic suspense, but it doesn’t fall fully into either the military or mercenary genres for me, at least not in the first two books. It does have a lot of the characteristics of those genres though, and would appeal to fans of them.

I love that the plots aren’t completely predictable. The settings are vibrant, and help to create the tone of the stories. The supporting characters, both specific to this series and overlapping from other places in the EE Ltd universe, are fantastic. You don’t need to read the other series, but you’ll probably want to. At the very least I recommend reading Dirty Deeds after Long Time Gone. It fills in details about some things Prophet talks about in Long Time Gone. I would say more, but spoilers.

There are more typos than I would expect from something that’s gone through a publisher’s editing process, but nothing outrageous.

Here are your links to learn more or purchase

S.E. Jakes’ website

Purchase Catch a Ghost from Riptide, Amazon, or Smashwords. Or find other buy links here.

Edit: I’m going to leave the buy link here, but since there isn’t a trigger warning on all buy pages I’m giving you one. There are multiple instances of on-page rape. Also, it’s a hot mess. Still love the first three though, so there’s that. Purchase the newest installment, If I Ever, from Riptide or Amazon. Or find other buy links here.

Publisher blurb for Catch a Ghost

The past can only hold you hostage if you let it…

Everyone knows that Prophet—former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass—works alone and thinks only about the trouble he can cause. But his boss, Phil Butler of Extreme Escapes, LTD., has just assigned Proph not only a new partner but also a case haunted by ghosts from Proph’s past. Suddenly, he’s got to confront them both head on.

Tom Boudreaux—failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full time believer in bad luck—is wondering why the head of a private contracting firm has hunted him down to offer him a job. Still he’s determined to succeed this time, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE, LTD’s most successful, lethal, and annoying operative, and even though the case is also resurrecting his own painful past.

Together, Prophet and Tom must find a way to take down killers in the dangerous world of underground cage matches, while fighting their own dangerous attraction. And when they find themselves caught in the crossfire, these two loners are forced to trust each other and work together to escape their ghosts . . . or pay the price.

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