The Merchant of Death : Playing the Fool

  • by Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock
  • Narrated by Nick J. Russo
  • Series: Playing the Fool
  • 5 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

All's fair in love and war.
There's something rotten in the state of Indiana. When con man Henry Page takes it upon himself to investigate the death of an elderly patient at a care facility, he does so in true Shakespearean tradition: dressed as a girl.
FBI Agent Ryan "Mac" McGuinness has more to worry about than Henry's latest crazy idea. Someone is trying to send him a message - via a corpse with a couple of bullets in it. He needs to figure out who's trying to set him up before he gets arrested, and he really doesn't have time for Henry's shenanigans. Then again, he'd probably be able to focus better if Henry didn't look so damn distracting in a baby doll dress and a wig.
But when Mac discovers that Henry has been keeping a secret that connects the cases, he has to find a way to live on the right side of the law when he just might be in love with the wrong sort of man.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Nick J. Russo does it again!

Any additional comments?

While the story didn't pack the same punch for me that The Two Gentlemen of Altona did, it's entertaining, mainly thanks to Henry's continued misbehavior. It's also really interesting to see the threads woven from the start starting to finally show a pattern in the overarching mystery of the series and it makes me all the more anxious to find out what's really happening.

In the end, though, it's the narration that once again takes center stage and continues to blow me away. Nick J. Russo does such a fantastic job with all the characters voices and the tone of the story. He even managed to kept me enthralled at a point when, if reading, I would have thrown the book across the room in a fit of pique.

Mac and Henry are back and the story picks up just where The Two Gentlemen of Altona left with Henry racing to his twin sister, Viola's, side. Viola is in some trouble and Henry is determined to investigate the matter, much to Mac's consternation as Henry goes "undercover" as his twin sister to discover if there's an Angel of Death at his sister's care home.

Mac's distracted by Henry's shenanigans, but also by the fact that he's come under investigation for some pretty serious charges at the Bureau. When it turns out that Henry is linked in some ways to what's happening, it's up to Mac to decide whether he can trust Henry or not.

He almost turned back. Wasn’t that what you were supposed to do? You were almost out of the building or on the plane or driving home in the rain, and then suddenly you turned around and raced back and told the other person how you felt. And then they said they loved you too, and you kissed, and the credits rolled. No word on what happened next. How you dealt with the fact that one of you belonged in a prison cell, and the other should be facilitating that.

Bottom line, this is an entertaining story, a terrific series, and extraordinary narration. Note, this story once again ends on Quantum Leap cliffhanger-ish type ending, which I hope will be picked up and finally resolved completely in Tempest (Playing the Fool #3), which will be released soon on audio.

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- Belen "I'm an unabashed fiction fan: mostly M/M, Romance, Erotica, Suspense, Thrillers, Action, NA/YA genres."

More Powerful, More Suspense, More Romance, More

What did you love best about The Merchant of Death?

I loved that it took the strengths of book one- characters and situation- and made it stronger and better in book two. The enigmatic, but totally charismatic Henry Page is more so. The stalwart, but down to earth Mac who has a weak spot for one Henry Page is more so. And instead of one, there are two mysteries. And new players and more about the current cast. It was just more and I loved that.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Henry Page- he is so confused and so mixed up. He can't even figure himself out. But for all his shenanigans, he cares and he gives. He is terrified of the feelings he has for Mac, but yet he wants this man to respect him and want him. He needs Mac to be the first person who doesn't let him down.

What about Nick J. Russo’s performance did you like?

Can I say Everything? Yes, because that would be true. I think I'd stop listening to the series if Russo wasn't the narrator. I read the trilogy through and there is always a danger to listening to some one read a story after the characters are already established in my mind with voice and personality, but with Russo's narration they became clearer and truer. Or at least that's the best way I can describe it.
Plus timing and tone. I felt he nailed the essence of the story. I could laugh and sigh and feel like I was right there.

Who was the most memorable character of The Merchant of Death and why?

This would be Viola. The first book hinted at her and her situation and who she is definitely affects Henry. But to meet her was wonderful. She has a traumatic brain injury, but this doesn't restrict her. She thinks, feels, and knows things. She's intuitive about people and was the catalyst to getting them to see themselves better.

Any additional comments?

This is book two and it most definitely builds on book one so should be read in order.

My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to the book in exchange for an honest review.

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- Sophia Rose "Reviewer for Delighted Reader Blog"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-15-2016
  • Publisher: Riptide Publishing