Review: The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool #1) by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

December 31, 2014 Review 7

Review: The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool #1) by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

Mischief, thou art afoot.

Special Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness is having a rough week. Not only is he on a new diet, but he’s also been tasked with keeping Henry Page—the world’s most irritating witness—alive. Which is tough when Mac’s a breath away from killing the Shakespeare-quoting, ethically-challenged, egg-obsessed Henry himself. Unless killing isn’t really what Mac wants to do to him.

Con man Henry Page prefers to keep his distance from the law . . . though he wouldn’t mind getting a little closer to uptight, handsome Agent McGuinness. As the sole witness to a mob hit, Henry’s a valuable asset to the FBI. But he’s got his own agenda, and it doesn’t involve testifying.

When evidence surfaces of a mole in the FBI office, Mac and Henry are forced to go into hiding. Holed up in a fishing cabin, they’re surprised to discover that their feelings run more than skin deep. But as the mob closes in, Henry has to make his escape. And Mac has to decide how far he’s willing to go to keep Henry by his side.

Title: The Two Gentlemen of Altona
Author: J.A. Rock, Lisa Henry
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: When All the World Sleeps, Mark Cooper versus America, Brandon Mills versus the V-Card, The Merchant of Death, Bliss, Sweetwater
Series: Playing the Fool #1
Other books in this series that we've reviewed: The Merchant of Death, Tempest
Published by Riptide Publishing
Source: Publisher
Published: December 29, 2014
Genres: Crime Drama, Male Male Romance, Suspense
Pages: 215
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website

Stars: three-stars
Flames: one-half-flames
Riptide Publishing

The blurb on this totally caught my attention.  A FBI agent and a con man.  Catch Me If You Can came to mind.  Loved that movie.  To a good extent, it wasn’t a bad comparison.  Con man Henry Page – or whatever his name really is – likes disguises, doesn’t trust the law, and is always running.  FBI Special Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness (mmmm – I need a beer) is pretty much “by the book” and on a diet.  A very unlikely pairing.

Having these two guys holed up together in a fishing cabin, fighting their attraction to each other sounded fun.  Some of it was fun but, it fell short.  These guys spent too much time in their heads angsting about it to actually get to it. I mean really!  Mac was like, “I can’t.  He is a witness/prisoner/conman” – which ever came to his head at the moment.  Henry was, “He doesn’t know the real me. I don’t want him to know the real me.  I want him, but I can’t let him too close.”  These two had so many near misses that I got frustrated.  Grrr.  Arg.

As for the action – it was there.  It was okay.  Pacing wasn’t very gripping.  I had a hard time staying with it, but it was good enough that I did want to finish it.  I wanted to see if “they got their man.”  I found Henry a fascinating character and had many questions I wanted answered about him.  However, there was a cliffhanger.  Grrr. Arg.

Yes.  I will read the next one.  I want to know about Henry.  Maybe more than Mac does.  Hopefully, at least some of my questions, will be answered in the next book.


Romance Review

Hi! We’re Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, the authors of THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF ALTONA. We’re touring the web taking about our influences, our processes, anything we can think about actually, and even giving you guys a sneak peak or two! And what would a blog tour be without a contest? Check out the details at the bottom of the post to see what you can win!

Today Lisa talks about the problem with phones:

JA and I have always said that we’ll write anything. But history has proved there’s at least one thing we just can’t write, however hard we try: phones.

We first became aware of this problem when we first wrote a book together. In THE GOOD BOY, Lane sells his iPhone and gets a cheap prepaid phone. Easy, right? Well, no. Not for us. We got so confused about which phone he had, where it was at that moment, and who had which number and would be able to call him on it, that, in the end, most of our edits were about those damned phones. I wish I was kidding.

Phones came back to haunt us again in the PLAYING THE FOOL series. Henry, being a con man, goes through as many phones as he does aliases. He also steals phones. Phones also get traced. Mac has some phone issues too, by the third book. So many phones. And again, every round of edits came back with some problem about them

The phones became like that blanket you have in winter. The one where you pull it up to your neck, and suddenly there’s not enough to cover your toes. Whenever we fixed something with a phone in one scene, it would immediately invalidate something with a phone in another scene. Why the hell are phones so complicated for us? I mean, we live in the world. We have phones. JA might be the only person I’ve ever met who doesn’t have a smartphone, but she still has a phone, even if she’s rocking it retro style. I’m pretty sure her phone doesn’t have the internet.

But when you read THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF ALTONA and the rest of the PLAYING THE FOOL series, I hope you don’t notice the phones at all. I mean, there’s so much more going on that I don’t want you to think it’s a story about some guys and their problematic cellphones.

I just wanted to mention it, in case JA and I ever write a book where this is the main method of communication, and you’re wondering why that is:

It’s because we just can’t write phones.

You can preorder the series, and check out excerpts, at Riptide.


Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away an awesome prize – an ebook copy of a novel of your choice from either of our back catalogs. We’re also giving away a $20 Riptide gift voucher, and the contents of Henry Page’s bag during his arrest in THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF ALTONA: that’s some Shakespeare and a bunch of Henry’s favorite candy!


All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise! On January 9, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win the prize!

7 Responses to “Review: The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool #1) by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock”

  1. Waxapplelover

    Remember the days when you always had to keep a quarter somewhere in order to use pay phones? 🙂 Thanks for the chance to win.

    waxapplelover (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. Barbra

    Phones!! I just got rid of my land line a few months ago, and now I don’t have any way to find my cell phone when I misplace it, and I constantly misplace it. 🙂
    This series sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Thanks.