REVIEW – Down But Not Out – The Pinkerton Man Series Book #5 – C.J. Baty

Down But Not Out Book Cover Down But Not Out
The Pinkerton Man Series Book #5
C.J. Baty
Gay Fiction, LBGTQ Mystery
Independently Published
August 31, 2022

Stiles finds himself torn between his loyalty to his agency director and friend, James McCullough, and his loyalty to friend Lizzie Ferguson and his lover Michael O'Leary. He can't explain the overwhelming feelings of darkness that he feels.
When the new director of the St. Louis Pinkerton Agency, fires Lizzie and Michael, then pairs Stiles up with a new agent, things begin to unravel all around Stiles.
Lying to everyone, he heads to Chicago where James McCullough and other agents have disappeared. Determined to find his friend and discover what is really going on in the Levee District, Stiles finds himself with no one he can depend on.

Meanwhile, Lizzie moves back to New York to work in the Pinkerton office there with an old friend. And, Michael discovers he's inherited an estate in England from his mother's side of his family.

The group of friends are being pulled apart in different directions. There's corruption around every corner. No one can be trusted. Can they find their way back to who they were before? Will Stiles be able to pull himself out of the hell he's in before he loses everything? So this is hell...

Reviewed by Linda Tonis

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

When we left off in book four Stiles, Michael and Lizzie were enjoying their holiday in England but their return home would be coming up soon, only a telegram for Stiles made their return immediate. James McCullough who ran the Pinkerton agency in St. Louis is missing and presumed dead. As soon as Stiles read the telegram, he ordered all of them to pack and get ready to leave and he fell into a dark hole. Stiles was close to James and he is determined to find out what happened to his friend and boss.

Stiles is pushing Michael and Lizzie away and has fallen into a depression. James had gone to Chicago to investigate missing agents and a secretary only he wound up missing as well. Things go from bad to worse when Michael and Lizzie are both fired by the man replacing James and Stiles is given a new partner, Devlin Warren. In spite of the guilt he feels by staying and leaving Lizzie and Michael,he has plans to continue his search for James.

Devlin admits to Stiles that he also is looking for the man he loves and together they go to Chicago deciding on going against orders that would have them going to California. Lizzie has accepted a job with the New York branch of Pinkerton, Michael refuses to leave St. Louis in case Stiles returns and Stiles is in Chicago searching for James.

The search for James takes Stiles to the seediest parts of Chicago and brings him up close and personal with the lowest of humanity. He searches in brothels and what he sees is heartbreaking, young girls drugged and raped and so far gone they have lost themselves. Stiles refuses to give up on James while his heart is aching for Michael. The dead agents and missing secretary, in addition to James McCullough the head of the St. Louis branch of Pinkerton leads Stiles to corruption, betrayal, and political corruption.

There is a lot going on in this book and I will not discuss any of it for fear of giving away spoilers. I have read every book in this series but this one is my favorite and was nonstop action. Michael, Lizzie and Stiles have their lives totally changed for the worse, but do they come back to where they used to be.

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