Friday, October 24, 2014

Hell & High Water (THIRDS #1) by Charlie Cochet ~ Audio Book Review, Guest Post & Audio Book Giveaway


Title ~ Hell & High Water (THIRDS #1)

Author ~ Charlie Cochet

Narrator ~ Mark Westfield

Length ~ 10hrs 6mins

Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press

Published ~ 3rd October 2014

Genre ~ M/M Paranormal Romance


When homicide detective Dexter J. Daley's testimony helps send his partner away for murder, the consequences - and the media frenzy - aren't far behind. He soon finds himself sans boyfriend, sans friends, and, after an unpleasant encounter in a parking garage after the trial, he's lucky he doesn't find himself sans teeth. Dex fears he'll get transferred from the Human Police Force's Sixth Precinct, or worse, get dismissed. Instead, his adoptive father - a sergeant at the Therian-Human Intelligence Recon Defense Squadron otherwise known as the THIRDS - pulls a few strings, and Dex gets recruited as a Defense Agent.

Dex is determined to get his life back on track and eager to get started in his new job. But his first meeting with Team Leader Sloane Brodie, who also happens to be his new jaguar Therian partner, turns disastrous. When the team is called to investigate the murders of three HumaniTherian activists, it soon becomes clear to Dex that getting his partner and the rest of the tightknit team to accept him will be a lot harder than catching the killer - and every bit as dangerous.


Overall Rating

Monique’s Review


I absolutely LOVED Hell & High Water back in July when it was first released, it was a HUGE five star read for me. I found myself incredibly excited, that not only had I found a new-to-me author in Charlie Cochet, but also a book that kept me gripped and turning the pages, with characters that completely stole my heart and the promise of so much more in future instalments… I was definitely doing a little happy dance.

Not only am I addicted to reading, but that addiction also extends to audio books. I lead such a busy life, it’s not always possible to just sit down and relax with a good book, but there are so many books I want to read! So, I sate my veracious appetite by listening to audio books… In all honesty it also makes those mundane tasks like housework and especially ironing, a much more pleasurable experience, as well as plane, train, bus, or car journeys, as I’m one of those people, that frustratingly for me, can’t read and travel! Oh… and walking the dog, there’s nothing like walking the dog listening to a good book, happy in my own little world.

I have an audible membership, plus I do find myself buying extra credits… what can I say, I am addicted! So, when I saw Hell & High Water was released on audio, after loving it so much on my Kindle, it was immediately downloaded and on my ipod. Personally I find that audio books can either enhance, compliment or totally destroy a book you have loved, or if you haven’t read it, completely ruin what you would have enjoyed if it had been a visual experience rather than an aural one. The key to a good audio book is without a doubt the narrator. Someone who can tell the story in the words of the author and make it a journey that is played out in full high definition in your mind. I have to admit, not only do I have fictional boyfriend crushes and author crushes, I also have narrator crushes, haha… I know, I’m a sad person! But it’s true!

So, let me tell you about Mark Westfield… the man’s voice oozes sex, it’s so deep and masculine, with a sexy gravely tone to it that had me melting before he finished saying “Hell & High Water: THIRDS book #1, written by Charlie Cochet”  and continued right to the very end. For the telling of this story, this man is PEFECT! He also has just the right tone and intonations for our main characters, playful and cheeky for Dex and irritable and grouchy for Sloane. Being able to distinguish between the characters is hugely important when listening to a book and I totally fell for his impressions of these two alpha males. Maddox, Dex’s Dad and Commanding Officer of Destructive Delta, was also just as I had imagined him, powerful and imposing and Cael too was perfectly portrayed in a sweet and gentle tone with the same playful attitude as his brother Dex. Ash, Sloane’s best friend and Dex’s adversary, I wasn’t too sure about, a New York accent that made him sound a little thuggish and not all together intelligent. Which isn’t the Ash I know from reading the book, yes he’s full of attitude and aggression, but he’s also smart and resourceful and a total pussy cat when it comes to Cael, well, Lion as that’s his felid form. The area that Mr Westfield with the sexy voice seemed to struggle with for me was his accents, and even more so when you combine that with the fact that the characters are women, as is the case with Letty who had an Indian accent and Rosa’s Mexican accent, neither of which were particularly convincing and being British myself, Dr Hudson Colbourn’s English accent made me chuckle! To be honest, although the secondary characters are all larger than life and are an integral part to the story, the actual conversational content was minimal, so I didn’t at any time feel distracted in any way by this, especially as the man has such a droolworthy voice to start with… he can definitively whisper in my ear anytime he likes.

The world in which these men live in, is well laid out to us right at the beginning in the prologue, it is this that enabled me to picture this world in my head, along with all the unrest and prejudice between the two species, (Therians and Humans) now cohabiting together. The secrets behind the THIRDS, and especially how the first generation of Therians fit into the picture is drip fed, with some threads still left open, which I’m sure will slowly be revealed in the subsequent books in this series.

The book opens up with the fall out of Dex testifying against his former partner and best friend. Now thought of as a traitor by his colleges and the human race… FML (Fuck my life) was quite apt for how Dex was feeling, especially when he gets home after being beaten up, wanting the comfort and love of his boyfriend, only to find the fucker is packing up his shit and bailing on him. From that point it goes from bad to worse until his Captain informs him that a promotion to the THIRDS would be his best option.

Despite the solemn start to this book where Dex’s life is falling apart, moving to the THIRDS we get to see a side to his personality that shows the quirky, fun loving, if a little cocky character I came to love and yes, ADORE through out this book! I laughed out loud so many times through Dex’s antics, my cheeks were aching from the permanent grin on my face. This aspect of his personality was totally enhanced by the audio experience, making Dex, if at all possible, even more animated than he was in the book.

Sloane Brodie is an enigma, he keeps everything close to his chest, a private individual who is more than secretive, he finds it hard to open up to people, unlike our Dex, who’s life is an open book. The layers of Sloane’s life are peeled away slowly as he allows this cocky, smart arse, incredibly infectious man to see what lies behind the mask… but is he ready to show his vulnerabilities to the rookie? Allowing Dex in makes him feel disloyal to the memory of Gabe, his partner in the THIRDS and former lover. Sloane is a man still consumed by guilt, unable to let go of the grief he carries after his death. His pain is also mirrored in the rest of the team, Gabe’s death was still raw amongst them, even a year later, they were still grieving for one of their own, enabling each other in a limbo, not wanting to move forward without their lost friend.

You get the feeling that Dex has finally found a place where he fits in with others who have the same commitment, loyalty, honesty and integrity as himself to a job they love. All with the added bonus of camaraderie and friendship, as well as the feeling of family which was of course is strengthened for Dex with his father and brother both being on the same team. What Dex doesn’t want however, is to walk in a dead mans shoes.

Dex's appraoch of worming his way in and leaving a lasting impression on those he now considers his family was something that just lit up the pages, the man is hilarious especially with the grumpy Sloane and the surly Ash being the perfect foils to his snarky and mischievous humour. He may be a naughty bundle of energy but he’s also incredibly intuitive and perceptive and see’s that they need healing, not just another team member that doesn’t fit in.

I loved how Dex was like a dog with a bone, never letting up or giving anyone chance to catch their breath which was more than evident in the sexual innuendo's between Dex and Sloane which only heightened the underlying sizzling passion that was so prevalent between them. The anticipation that was built to an absolute crescendo, was just killing me and when they finally got together, I think my heart stopped! or perhaps it was palpitations?  But I’m still putting it down to the incredibly HOT and intense sex that these two men have. Which I have to say translated perfectly, with the narrators extremely growly voice, from paper to audio… he has an incredibly sexy voice, did I already mention that?

Charlie Cochet has brilliantly laid down the foundations in Hell & High Water for what promises to be an incredibly exciting series from a very talented author. The world building, the characters, how they are all inclusive with distinct personalities and traits, their relationships along with the camaraderie and banter. There is political intrigue, with the underlying threat of a serial killer with ulterior motives targeting HumaniTherian activists as well as the impact it has on the THIRDS themselves.  I was eating it all up and asking for seconds… the buzz and excitement was pulsing off the pages from these all action Alpha hero's. Charlie Cochet has managed to get the balance right, succeeding where so many authors fail, combining it all with an emotional romance and not forgetting to mention the sexual chemistry between Dex and Sloane, their attraction for each other was wanton, so full of desire and lust… I wanted THIRDS!!! Haha… pun intended, especially if he comes in the guise of the delicious Sloane Brodie. The only thing missing, as a shifter story, I wanted to see more of his RAWRR!

This was a fabulous audio experience, and an excellent novel. If like me you can’t do without your books even on your travels or ploughing through that mountain of ironing… I highly recommend you give Hell & High Water a listen… it’s certainly addictive!

Buy it Here




The Road So Far…. by Charlie Cochet

I started the THIRDS series back in 2011. When I became published, I wrote mostly Historical M/M Romance. I knew the THIRDS series was going to be my first official foray into a genre outside of Historical. I wrote a few non-historical romances as I worked my way there with my holiday fantasy series North Pole City Tales and a free story for the Goodreads M/M Romance group’s writing event An Intrepid Trip to Love which is Paranormal/Urban Fantasy. For the THIRDS, I knew I wanted it to be as close to contemporary as possible. I wanted my shifters to have a plausible scientific explanation.

Like any series, the THIRDS underwent several incarnations before it ended up just the way I wanted it. Dex was the first character who made an appearance. For those of you who’ve come to know and love Dex, it’s probably no surprise that he made his presence known in spectacular fashion. Unlike all my other characters who usually come to me with dialogue or an emotional scene, Dex crashed into my brain fully formed in all his chaotic glory with that big boyish grin on his face. I knew I was in for a ride. Sloane followed soon after. I had my romantic pairing. The rest of the team went through several changes. They evolved, changed names, job descriptions, personalities, and discovered who they were and who they wanted to be. Some fellas pushed others out of their way. Some decided to be heroes in their own right. Characters like Ash Keeler weren’t content to be background or supporting characters. They had their own relationship dramas and stories to tell.

The more I brainstormed the THIRDS world and organization, building everything from the ground up, the more I realized the series was going to end up bigger than I anticipated. It was scary. There were a lot of books being planned out. I pitched the series to Dreamspinner at GRL last year and they were very interested in it. More planning. I worked on when I was hoping to release what books and how doable the timeline would be. I was going to be writing fulltime. Even scarier.

Since my initial submission, the series has grown. I was really excited. I’d been working on THIRDS HQ--the THIRDS website--because these fellas were going to need their own home on the web. I wanted to go big. As a movie nerd, I wanted to tap into that fandom excitement, offering all kinds of fun little extras. I’d submitted Rack & Ruin: Book 3, before Hell & High Water: Book 1 was even released. I fretted, as writers tend to do. I’d written and submitted 3 novels in a series with no idea how it would be received. It’s also a sequel-based series with a continuing storyline, something else I’d never done before. I worked 16 hour days on writing, creating graphics, designs, artwork, editing, and all the other usual author tasks. I worked at the pre-release. All with no notion as to how it would all work out. Would readers be as excited about these guys as I was?

I don’t think I could be more pleased with how the series has been received. I never expected all the amazing THIRDS fans, or the groups, reviews, emails, or messages. I’m having an amazing time. The series is growing strong and I’m super excited for the release of Rack & Ruin in November and Rise & Fall in February. I’m excited that the THIRDS is also being translated into foreign languages and is being released in audio books. Hell & High Water is already available in audio book with Blood & Thunder currently in production. I imagine it shouldn’t be too long now. Thank you to everyone who’s joined me on this fantastic ride so far. For those just joining us, hang on to your Cheesy Doodles. ;)


THIRDS Series Reading Order

Book 1: Hell & High Water
(Primary romance: Dex & Sloane.)

Book 2 : Blood & Thunder
(Primary romance: Dex & Sloane.)

Book 3: Rack & Ruin
(Primary romance: Dex & Sloane.)
Release Date: 7th Nov 2014

Book 4: Rise & Fall
(Primary romance: Dex & Sloane.)
Release Date: Jan 2015

Book 5: Against the Grain
(Primary romance: Ash & Cael.)
Release Date: Estimated April 2015

Book 6: Catch a Tiger by the Tail
(Primary romance: Calvin & Hobbs)
Release Date: Estimated Sept 2015

Book 7: TBC
(Primary romance: Dex & Sloane)
Release Date: TBC – In Planning stages

Book 8: TBC
(Primary romance: Dex & Sloane)
Release Date: TBC – In planning stages

Stop by THIRDS HQ for more information and updates on this fabulous series.


Meet Charlie Cochet

M/M Romance author by day, artist by night, Charlie Cochet is quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From hardboiled detectives and society gentleman, to angels and elves, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!




Charlie Cochet will be gifting to one very lucky reader an AUDIO BOOK Download of Hell & High Water which can be played on an ipod, phone, mp3 player, Kindle Fire, ipad or any device from which you can listen to music. All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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  1. I love audio books because they keep me entertained while I'm doing other things with my hands and eyes like driving and filing at work.

  2. Have not listened to one yet.

  3. Love audiobooks. If the narrator reads a story well, it adds a lot to the book. But so disappointing when a book I love is released on audio and the narration is bad! I like the sample audio for this book, so I think it will be a great listen.

  4. I love the narration in a audio book as it brings me closer to the story.

  5. I've never listened to an audio but I absolutely love this series and would love to have this be my first audio experience.

  6. I haven't listened to any audio book but a friend loves them.

  7. I have not listen to any audibles

  8. it all depends on the narrator....a good one brings the story to life, a bad one SUCKS!!
    would love to win this audiobook as I really enjoy this series

  9. I love audiobooks, and I really want this series. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. I usually listen to audiobooks on long car drives. I like to listen to books I've read before, so I can focus on the road (figure that's important) and not feel I've missed anything.

  11. I have not listened to audiobooks yet
    I would love to though

  12. I listen to audio books when I drive.. my mom lives an hour away so when I go see her I look forward to the drive :)
    Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  13. I very rarely listen to audiobooks.I tend to listen to them when I'm out for a long walk or on my way to work.

  14. I love to listen while walking!!!!

  15. I have a long commute for work, so audiobooks are perfect! They entertain me while I'm not moving on the freeway! Lol

  16. I love audio books. For one reason they are great for when you have the time but not able to devote the attention to reading.

  17. I do listen to audio books. My favorite thing about them is the ability to experience the story in another way. I tend to listen to audio books for books I already love.

  18. With all the books on my TBR/wishlist it would be impossible for me to get to them all in a lifetime. Audiobooks are a great way to dwindle down the list. I can multitask (chores, errands, computerwork, etc) while listening. The narrator has to be good for me to enjoy it though.

  19. I haven't ever listened to a audio book.

  20. I love hearing the emotion that the narrators give to the characters. Plus, it makes my commute much more fun!

  21. I like to listen to books whilst I crochet for my shop as it is a way to feed my book addiction but still be productive. I love to listen to male narrators a lot for the sexier books but find a female narrator better when the main character is a kick-ass female, especially with the sci fi boooks.

    Oh and I wanted to tell you that you are not the only one who buys the extra credits and has crushes on Narrators - I do too. My current crush is Max Lehnan, he has a great narration style and his voice is so nice to listen to.

  22. I love audio books because I can do other tasks and still enjoy the stories. I love this series and can't wait for Rack and Ruin as well as the rest!

  23. I've been dying to get my hands on this series! Thanks for the chance at starting my collection. This story line looks very appealing.