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The Merchant of Death

(Playing the Fool #2)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,285 ratings  ·  218 reviews
5 hrs 29 mins

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
Audible Audio, 6 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published January 31st 2015)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,285 ratings  ·  218 reviews

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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*4.5 stars*

If you can get past the so-so first book in this series, you are in for a TREAT! This book was awesome! It was sexy, fun, exciting- it had it all!

Warning to readers: Don't start this book past dinnertime! I started this book fairly late at night and couldn't put it down until morning.

This book was so good because we got deeper into Henry and Mac's lives. We meet Henry's sister, learn more about Henry and Mac's back-stories, and we get to see their relationship grow and evolve.

Written February 11, 2015

4.2 Stars - Funny, charming and heartwarming. A truly wonderful light crime romance series.

Book #2


Yummy sweet!! - I loved it once again
Henry and Rock's Playing the Fool is a new 3-part serial in a light comedy crime genres.

I fell in love with these characters and became utterly charmed by the wonderful giggle-fun first book, #1 - The Two Gentlemen of Altona (4 stars). So very thankful I got this second (and third) part to ARC read as well.

The Merchant of Death is book two in the Playing the Fool series by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock.

I have no idea why I’ve read this despite the fact I didn’t really like book one, The Two Gentlemen of Altona. I guess I hoped for some romance development. But sadly, it remained the same - heatless and sparkless.

The mystery – though sometimes total nonsense – was pretty exciting. But I’m more interested in romances than mysteries, so I don’t think this series is for me.

A little less fun, a little more drama, and a whole lot more plot! That’s how I’d describe the second installment in the series Playing the Fool, that follows the adventures of Mac and Henry again. We left the boys on a bit of a low in The Two Gentlemen of Altona. Just as things between them started to pick up, Henry was at his old tricks again and ran away. This also meant that their much anticipated love scene went down the drain, leading to readers complaining about a nasty case of blue
Emma Sea
I'm not sure I can review this as a standalone, without part 3, so these are just some preliminary thoughts.

There's layers going on here. On the surface this is a caper: small time conman infiltrates a care facility in drag pretending to be his own twin sister: but it's anything but light. The book's about the faces we all present to the world. Everything's a costume and everyone's playing a role, from our earliest age. None of it's "real." There is no spoon.

Mac's an interesting guy, although
Kaje Harper
Okay, that's quite a mix of shelves that one went on. Let me also add - cliffhangers are EVIL, although these are plot-related cliffies, not will-he-live-or-die, so not quite as awful. And I'll forgive Lisa Henry and JA Rock, because a lot of things happen in this book, the story moves forward, and they promised the next one soon. Right?! So we have mercurial, damaged, care-nothing Henry, and intense, career-focused serious Mac, off on another adventure of both crime and the heart...*Spoilers ...more
Lisa Henry
Sometimes I can write fun non-dark things. SEE!!!!

What's more fun than the meddling investigative skills of the Scooby Gang meets the fashion sense of RuPaul?

It's SCOOBY RU! (Quick, somebody write that down.)

Any questions, here's the place to ask them :)
4.25 stars

Well, hell, it's quite possible that I loved this book better than the first one -- even if the humor which I enjoyed the most from The Two Gentlemen of Altona was toned down immensely. The story picked off immediately after the ending of book #1; Henry receives a call from his twin sister, Viola, who has been a resident of St. Albinus care center for the past seven years. According to Viola, a bad angel, an "Angel of Death" has taken the life of her friend, Mr. Crowley. To put Viola's
Valerie ❈M/M Romance Junkie❈
See. I was only going to check out a few pages then read the book I downloaded for today. Instead, I got so caught up that I finished this in one sitting. I could not put this down. So very good. The Lisa Henry J. A. Rock author one-two punch is so freakin' awesome.
♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
This was FUN. Things got quite real quite quickly and never let up. At all.

The humor from book one, The Two Gentlemen of Altona, continues here but with more weight and less frequency. This is one of the tools deftly used to make me believe in Mac and Henry, for them to be something added to the "long haul" column in life. It took some time, for me and for them, but the belief now has breath. Ok, yes, technically Mac and Henry aren't yet sure of just about anything, really, except they know that
I loved the first book so much that I read this one just after the previous one and stayed late at night to finish it.

We finally meet Viola. She runs away from her care centre, scared after the suspicious death of her friend. Henry decides to investigate this case and, being who he is, he believes the best way to do it is to dress up like Viola and investigate the case from the inside. In the same time Mac is in serious troubles involving OPR investigation.

I really enjoyed this story but I wish
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Mac and Henry continue to grow on me. In fact I feel a distinct need for more Mac and Cheese.

I loved Henry and Rock's continued play with Shakespeare and other literary references. This is turning out to be a play in three acts with the overtones and shenanigans of a proper Shakespearean comedy but with the underpinning of a tragedy.

They have twisted things up quite nicely leaving me looking forward to the final untangling.
Feb 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybook
Surprise surprise, it ended in a cliffie. Good book, and I especially like Mac. Interesting juxtaposition of humor and serious life issues.
HenRock does it again!

Possible spoilers below.

I liked the first book in this series, The Two Gentlemen of Altona, but I was expecting something more. 'The Merchant of Death' was better in every way, and definitely deserves a full 4 stars!

Book 2 of the Playing the Fool series picks up right where The Two Gentlemen of Altona ends. Henry leaves to meet his twin sister Viola, and ends up getting involved in a situation that could have deadly consequences. Mac is still on sick leave, but between
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, arc, humour, kink
All kinds of fun, fabulous, flirty and fucking awesome. Lisa Henry and J.A.Rock take a good first book - The Two Gentlemen of Altona - and build deftly on it - the mystery(ies) the relationship, Henry/Sebastian's background, their connection. But theses guys still have some work ahead of them and I'm happy about that.

Love me some Mac 'n' Cheese.

Better review here later, but it's on the blog and one pic makes it NSFW. If you haven't read book #1, perhaps read this after
Final rating: 5/5 stars

So so much better than the first one. I loved it to bits! Perfect amount of angst and funny scenes = perfectly balanced. And more on the side characters as well.

What i loved the most was the story and of course Henry and Mac... It was really, really great read, filled with action and great scenes and sad scenes and that perfect amount of mac and cheese.

I actually loved it so much I can't even think about what to write about. LOL.


*of course spoilers for book 1*

Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's times like this when I just love being a reviewer. A couple of weeks ago I met con man Henry Page aka Sebastian and his grumpy federal agent Mac, when I read, reviewed and absolutely loved The Two Men of Altona: book one in the trilogy. I fell hard for the two of them in that story, loving the snark and humour, which just happens to be exactly the sort that pushes my laugh out loud buttons and tickles my fancy. But there was also a really good background crime/murder mystery which was ...more
Wart Hill
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc2014, netgalley
You can read this and other reviews at Things I Find While Shelving

I received a free ARC Via NetGalley

You know how in Shakespeare dudes dress up as chicks and vice versa and nobody’s the wiser? Because Shakespeare. And then at the end there’s that giant reveal and all the characters are like “Oh, yay, I can actually marry you now!” (Or like in Twelfth Night when Olivia marries Sebastian instead of Viola even though she totally wants Viola…)

*cough* Ahem.


That doesn’t work in the real world,
Tamika♥RBF MOOD♥
2nd re-read 6/3

4.5 stars

This book rocked. It was a brilliant sequel to the first one. Once again Mac has to deal with the craziness of Henry Page. I laughed so hard during this book. L.H & J.A never disappoint me when they are writing together. They somehow are able to write a compelling tell, nice romance, a little insecurity, a great crime, and the hurt comfort. In this installment I firmly believe we got to see the real "Henry Page" aka Sebastian, he definitely showed up. I laughed my ass
Nov 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m
"Complimentary copy received from the publishers, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review"
BWT (Belen)
Belens Audio Book Review
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.

the game is afoot

In the end, though, it's the narration that once again takes center stage and continues to blow me away. Nick J. Russo does
*.Amaia.* BlackMagicRose
This is getting SO interesting :)))))))))
I liked this one a lot better than the first book. The Two Gentlemen of Altona was definitely an intro to the rest of the story. There's is a lot more going on in this one.


LOL yep, not like paranormal stuff but still pretty crazy stuff like the MC getting dressed up as a woman to solve a crime... (believe me, it's a lot of fun hahaha)
Still as hilarious as the first book but the characters and the plot are getting deeper and more complicated. I had a
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, cops-detectives
4.5 stars
Mac and Cheese go great together.
mac and cheese

Henry gets a call from his sister, Viola, that someting is wrong at a care facility. Viola is Henry's twin, but she has a mind of an eight-year-old, because of what happened in the past. Her and Henry's childhood was sad and what Henry had to do when he was sixteen years old was awful.

Henry wants his sister to be safe, so he carries out his own investigation. He dresses up like Viola and plans to find the killer. Mac finds Henry after he ran away from
♥️Victoria ♥️ ♥️love books♥️
Overall book rating: 4 Stars
Audio book: Nick J Russo 4 Stars
Book Cover: 1 Star
MC1: Henry
MC2: Mac


Oh hells bells Henry is one unique character but he made me laugh.

For those supernatural fans out there there's only one picture you get in your head when you hear the song - eye of the tiger, so this pic is for you LOL

Didn't quite hit the high notes of the first book, although I love that Mac and Henry/Sebastian seem to be getting somewhere at last. Viola is certainly going to keep the both of them busy...wherever they end up 'on the run'. Thank God Val has Mac's back....hopefully!! 4 stars from me.
Really fun and even better than the first one... but watch out for the pretty extreme cliff-hanger!
Chris, the Dalek King
Oh you wonderfully evil authors…how can you be so kind and so mean at the very same time??? You gave me Henry Page in lingerie and another bloody cliffhangers? That’s just evil. Evil.

This book picks up right where the book one cliffhanger left us. Henry is on his way to see his sister, and Mac is left hanging. Again. Henry kinda regrets that, since they were so damn close to finally getting in some naked-fun-time, but in the grand scheme of thing, his sister will always come first. When he shows
These books have way too much drama for me. If you add to that the fact that I don't like mysteries, well...


The story is good, I guess it's just not for me.
I like Mac, and I understand Henry's allure (even if I want to throttle him half the time) but everything is just so dramatic that I wanted to stop reading. I need to know how the story ends tho, so I'll read the third one too.

If you like misteries and don't mind the tragic past of the characters then you'll enjoy this book. Everyone seems

3.5 stars

“You in trouble, Mac?” Henry’s eyes were open again, barely.
Mac raised his eyebrows. “Only when I’m with you.”

It took me some time to get into the story. But then everything got more intense and I enjoyed the second half of the book very much.

My sympathies still lie mostly with Mac, and while I understand Henry, I find it a bit exhausting to read about his internal conflict.

There’s a scene where Mac is driving - once again on his way to save Henry - and he really loses it. That was, I
Mare SLiTsReaD Reviews

Loving this series! Onto book 3 I go. Will be kinda sad when it's over!
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I like to tell stories. Mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters. They gotta work for it though. No free lunches on my watch.

Other books in the series

Playing the Fool (3 books)
  • The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool, #1)
  • Tempest (Playing the Fool, #3)