Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Payback #2

Fair Game

Rate this book
What’s a retired cop to do when her lover is being targeted? Helen Taylor pulls on her boots again in this captivating lesbian mystery.

Lexi Ryan is being targeted and can’t work out why. She’s escaped the troubled town of Warner with her beautiful partner, former Det. Chief Inspector Helen Taylor, and is looking for a quieter life. Instead she’s faced with an attempted hit-and-run and mailbox tampering.

Helen, meanwhile, is finding it hard coming to terms with civilian status. But once a cop, always a cop, and she uses her old skills to play bodyguard to Lexi and kick over the clues. As the incidents against her lover keep piling up, Helen starts to wonder if it’s one of her old enemies up to tricks, or someone from Lexi’s world.

A sequel to "Payback", this exciting thriller will keep you on your toes.

252 pages, ebook

First published August 30, 2020

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Charlotte Mills

15 books63 followers
I guess I would describe myself as a southerner even though I have lived in the north of England for some years now, I work hard to keep my accent intact. After having several careers in the arts, conservation and education where writing or using my imagination has always been in the background I finally took the plunge with my first book in 2014 (Unlikely Places). I try and write at least a few days a week while holding down my current job.

In 2017 I was awarded a Gold Medal for the Fiction - Gay/Lesbian/LGBT category in the Global Ebook Awards for my double novel Out of The Blue - Latent memories.

My first book to be published with Ylva in 2019 was Payback, it was made a finalist in the 2019 Lesfic Bard Awards.

I am currently working on two projects - editing the sequel to Payback, Fair Game to be published by Ylva later this year and writing my next thriller set in the south of the England.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
65 (34%)
4 stars
88 (46%)
3 stars
30 (15%)
2 stars
4 (2%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 53 reviews
Profile Image for Diane Wallace.
1,152 reviews64 followers
August 2, 2020
'Arc provided by Ylva-Publishing in exchange for a honest review'

**'Some people become writers because they are compulsive wordsmiths..Plus writing or storytelling can't be taught but better reading can..'

'FAIR GAME' should not get past any of Ms.Mills' fan base or readers of the first book in this series. I know that there are lots of books and so little time. But it is so deserving of anyone's interest and attention. Just exquisitely plotted from the first page to the last, intriguingly written with really good vocabulary & dialogue, a well played out mystifying narrative and that feel good interactive intimacy between both leading characters.
As I read the way Ms.Mills continuously described the why and how every ominous inauspicious thing started, that's the realization as to why both got pull back into being their own investigators plus also doing their own amateur stings. Through out the storytelling, I was reminded of the many reasons why they fell in love and how they fed off each other while searching for answers even overcoming minor limitations --- one not being a cop anymore while the other having that murky past life but still making use of whatever past resources was available.
Furthermore, 'FAIR GAME' on a whole can be read as one of those conundrums -- a mystery, yes --- but it's premise is perfectly executed with many suspicious happenstance around this small English village involving an array of secondary characters, yet it should be embraced by aficionados of all genre because of it's additional context of both a crime and love story.
A highly recommended ongoing series!
Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,877 followers
August 8, 2020
4.25 Stars. This was the really good read I was hoping for. This is the sequel to Mills’ hit book Payback. While I didn’t like this quite as much as Payback, I’m only talking about a quarter of a star difference here. This was a well done sequel and I don’t really have any complaints.

This is Mills second book she has written this year. I’m sorry to say that her first book, Body of Work, didn’t work for me. Instead, it was really nice to see Mills get her crime/mystery magic back with this new book. It feels like Mills really connects with these characters and setting of this series so that the books flow well. This series is a perfect fit for Mills and I hope we will get many more stories to come.

I do want to highly recommend reading these books in order. It is important to read Payback before you start this book. Mills does do a good job of covering some of the important info from the first book, so you would not be that lost, but she also gives away major spoilers from Payback. If you read this book, got hooked and wanted to go back and read Payback, knowing the big twists and major spoilers would ruin what made Payback so much fun. Plus, Payback has the meet cute and the start of the romance. Mills did a great job of making the romance just as good as the mystery in Payback so you don’t want to miss it.

I was really happy about how much this book sucked me in. It is almost 3am and I had to keep reading until I was finished. Don’t start this book too late or you will be up all night. The pace of this book was great. Just when things where slowing down, there would be a burst of excitement to get you flipping the pages again. And the book continued like that the whole way through so you were forced to keep reading in the best way possible.

Since this is the second book in the series, I wanted to be careful and keep things vague so I don’t spoiler anything for readers new to the series. I will say it was great to be with Helen and Lexi again. Helen’s great detective instincts with Lexi’s geekiness, makes such a cute couple for a mystery series. And while the mystery is a pretty big focus of this book, I was glad that Mills spent time evolving their relationship too. What I’m most excited about is that Mills ended this story by giving a tease for book three. Mills writes this series so well that she might as well keep writing it while she is still inspired by the characters.

If you enjoyed the book Payback, chances are very high that you will enjoy this too. It was a strong sequel that I can easily recommend. If you are new to this series, stop, and go read Payback first. You really will enjoy this series so much more by reading the books in order. Now, I just hope we don’t have to wait too long for book 3.

An ARC was given to me for an honest review.
Profile Image for MZ.
425 reviews109 followers
February 16, 2021
4.5 stars. What an excellent sequel! I absolutely loved the first book in this series ‘Payback’. The twist in that book is mind blowing, so I was happy to see that also in this book there are some really good twists and it kept me guessing the entire time. If you have not read Payback yet, then stop reading this review here if you want to avoid spoilers, as it is impossible to say much about the second book without giving a major spoiler for the first one.

This book picks up were Payback ended and Lexi and Helen are having a new start of their relationship and do I love them together! They’re fun and sweet together. Lexi, nerdy as ever, is now working on the right side of the law and Helen, ever protective of Lexi, is trying to find a new purpose in her life after quitting the police force. However, their fresh start is rudely interrupted when Lexi is attacked, but why and by who?

I don’t always like books with a POV of the bad guy, but for this book it works so well. You know something is coming, but not enough details are given to know what is coming or who the bad guy is, so this kept me wondering what would happen the entire time. I’m not going to say more about the mystery as I don’t want to spoil the experience. The mystery is excellent, the only comment I have is that while reading the bad guy POV, I didn’t quite get the extreme fixation on Lexi, it seemed to be a bit of an overreaction, but then again, perhaps I should not try to understand the thought process of a clearly disturbed person……

Highly recommended to all who love a good mystery!
Profile Image for Agirlcandream.
686 reviews4 followers
August 22, 2020
If you haven’t read Payback, I highly recommend reading it before you read Fair Game. This book could be read as a standalone romantic intrigue but you will lose the connections built in the first novel and the reasons why Helen Taylor would leave her DCI position in Warren to be with the woman she loves.

I think I enjoyed Fair Game even more than Payback. This is a mystery/thriller and a good one with lots of clues, suspects and two women reluctant to involve the police. We are in the mind of the killer from the opening chapter but the info we learn is cryptic enough to keep us off balance. Knowing someone is actively hunting Lexi heightens tension and helps build suspense. Helen’s investigative skills, acquired from years as a detective, kick in along with her need to protect Lexi but she no longer has the resources available to her now that she’s a civilian.

In the midst of danger, there are plenty of sexy times to keep romance readers happy. Helen and Lexi are in the early stages of their relationship, learning to trust each other, laugh about their age difference and Helen even learns to respect Lexi’s hacking skills. I am more of a mystery fan than I am a romance reader so I admit there were times when the sex scenes interrupted the investigation and I found myself skimming, wanting to get back to the case in question. Sometimes my age shows in my reading habits.

There are hints we may see this couple in future books and I hope we do. They make a formidable crime solving duo.

ARC received with thanks from publisher for an honest review.
Profile Image for Simone11.
181 reviews3 followers
June 1, 2023
I enjoyed the first book in the series a little bit more because of the surprise ending but this audiobook was also nice to listen to.
The two MCs are an established couple in this book and had to solve another crime together. In the crime part of the story were also some turns. Kept it interesting.
Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Cammy Chareon.
56 reviews26 followers
August 21, 2020
I absolutely loved this. I can’t believe I had my qualms about this series. I usually like mystery and thrillers, but not as much as I love lesfic romance. I initially thought that it would heavily focus on the case, with little time for romance, but I am very pleased to find that I was wrong. Fair Game satisfied my need for both a good thriller and a heart-warming romance.

Like Payback, the story was meticulously planned and wonderfully executed. It was very intriguing and thrilling, I couldn’t stop reading until I absolutely had to. I love that the stories are not one-dimensional or too straightforward; it will definitely keep you guessing.

I thought the POV of the suspect was well-done. It gave us glimpses of how his mind operated, and how his psychological state influenced his actions. I also appreciate how Mills wrote about Lexi’s guilt and how she may have felt she deserved to victimized. It made it believable - you can’t just get over something like that. The idea of getting help for it was a nice bonus.

Although Payback had a bigger plot twist, I found myself loving this book a bit more. I just love the tenderness Mills infused in this book. I’m a sucker for a good romance, and this book ticked all the boxes. I love their banters and how they tease each other. The characters are also very likable; they are mature enough, so even when they get emotional, there is no unnecessary drama and they get to smoothen things right away. Above all, their love could be felt throughout the book. It just overflows with so much love and tenderness.

Still, there are parts that felt unfinished, like that whole think with Shelby. And well, the upcoming cases. At least I know we still have something to look forward to. Overall, it was an amazing read and totally worth losing sleep over! (Thank you to my Goodreads friends for recommending!) Charlotte Mills is such a skilled writer and I will definitely keep an eye out for her books! :)
Profile Image for Jude in the Stars.
879 reviews511 followers
September 9, 2020
4.5* – Book covers don’t affect me as much now that I mostly read ebooks as when I used to buy loads of paper books but even if I hadn’t loved the first book in the Payback series, the cover for this sequel would have convinced me to give it a try. It’s reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, one of my favourite movies of all times, and while the plot of this novel is pretty far from Rear Window, it has the same intensity.

I cannot stress enough that Fair Game should not be read as a standalone, even though you would understand the story perfectly. If you like it as much as I did, you’ll want to read Payback but it will have been spoiled on the first page of the sequel. Read Payback first. Trust me. And if you haven’t, stop reading this review – which I tried to keep as spoiler-free as possible but you never know – and get on with it.

After the events in Warner, Helen Taylor quit her job and has recently unofficially moved in with Lexi Ryan in Bristol. One night, she notices a strange person on the roof opposite their flat. In the following days, someone seems to be targeting Lexi. Once a copper, always a copper so of course Helen can’t stop wondering whether those incidents are linked to what she unwittingly observed, or could they be connected to her past?

Charlotte Mills knows how to take the reader for a ride. Just when you think you have figured out what’s going on, she turns that lead on its head. Even when you do get it right, she manages to make it exciting and thrilling. I don’t think my heart slowed down for a second after that scene very early on when Helen watches the roof. The pace never lets up. And while there’s nothing overly gory, there’s plenty of tension and gripping twists.

As in Payback, mystery and romance are of equal significance, and Mills allows both to shine. Lexi and Helen are still in the early days of their relationship and have already come close to losing each other way too many times. So, of course, they can’t keep their hands off each other. They’re not complaining, I am not either. The chemistry is real, and I really enjoyed the dynamics of their relationship. There’s a lot of lust and just as much tenderness, respect and teasing.

Helen and Lexi are far from the only interesting characters, however. Lexi’s mother, Lexi’s colleagues, Helen’s new boss, Helen’s former but loyal colleague, new neighbour Lilly, they all turn what should be an ordinary world into a mesmerising show.

If you like your crime novels to be complex and smart and include some hot romance between clever but fallible characters, this one is for you.

ARC provided to Les Rêveur for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sandra.
423 reviews73 followers
September 21, 2020
Fair Game is the perfect sequel to Payback. But I highly recommend first to read Payback, otherwise, you already know too much about one of the most important people from book one.

I loved to spend more time with Helen and Lexi, they are a great couple and you bet that they will get in trouble, even without working for the police anymore. The story is suspenseful and exciting and it is not easy to find out who the offender is. I like the suspense, the dynamic, the twists, the dialogues, the sex – I like every aspect of this book.

Well done Mrs. Mills, and I really hope there will be more adventures coming from Helen and Lexi.

Highly recommended. And if you liked Payback, I'm sure you will like this one too.
My rating 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Sleady.
86 reviews4 followers
March 24, 2022
Okay I think this time the author goes easy on the twist. It wasn't really shocking like the one on book 1. Overall it's still a good one for the mystery. It keep my brain working for theories. This time I know I can't blindly jump to conclusion and it was fun.

Andd the chemistry between Lexi and Helen are better this time. I think it's too fast on first book and seems like simply an attraction but this time, they went deep. I like both of them especially Helen and honestly I think it's a waste she wasn't a cop anymore.
Profile Image for AnnMaree Of Oz.
1,502 reviews66 followers
August 22, 2020
I loved the previous installment, Payback, and you definitely should read it before reading this one.

The leading ladies, Former DCI Helen Taylor and tech-whiz Lexi Ryan are settling in together well. I love seeing an already established relationship advancing their lives together. The love scenes were hot and heartfelt. As was their connection, support and care for eachother. I loved the domesticity and the banter. Both are driven and stubborn, and get that about eachother.

Lexi has a job at a computer security firm, and Helen is trying to figure out her next moves. When she witnesses strange happenings, and there's a threat on Lexi's life, Helen realizes she cannot completely walk away from her copper instincts. Especially when it comes to someone she cares so deeply about.

The novel goes through a lot of investigative procedures and more dangerous circumstances as the perpetrator gets bolder in their methods to get to them.

I always love a good mystery and procedural, and this book gave me everything I wanted in that genre, and more. It also leaves a few small things open or just starting, which I assume means there may be a book 3 coming at some point? Which I would be delighted about!

A Highly Recommended Read, purchased direct from YLVA Publishing's Website.
Profile Image for Hsinju Chen.
Author 2 books215 followers
August 23, 2020
Content warnings: stalking, poisoning, murder, attempted murder, death, self-harm in antagonist, blood, alcoholism, suspected cheating of minor character

This book takes place about two months after the epilogue of Payback .

Lexi Ryan (~34) now works at internet firm Shield Securities while her girlfriend ex-DCI Helen Taylor (~40) is settling down as a civilian. When Lexi feels like she is being stalked, Helen makes it her job to protect her and find out what is going on.

Like Payback, a lot of things are happening at the same time: poisoning, murder, stalking. The poisoning in question is Legionella. Infected individuals suffer from symptoms similar to COVID-19, making me wonder if it was referencing the pandemic. Along with the multiple crimes going on, Fair Game is not only told in Lexi's and Helen's third-person points of view, but also another unnamed voice.

The final reveal was not very surprising. There are multiple clues throughout the story and seemingly throwaway sentences that foreshadow major events, so the angst was relatively low. But I was still on edge while reading, desperate to make sure Lexi and Helen are safe.

I love how we can see past events affect characters' psyches. Lexi and Helen are both suspicious about ongoing events because of the former's dangerous experience with the law and the latter's police instincts. Their insecurities are strongly connected to their own pasts. For best enjoyment, I highly recommend reading Payback beforehand to get all the references and understand Lexi and Helen better.

Mills chose to have both Payback and Fair Game feature somewhat incompetent police force. Neither books has its main crime completely solved by active police personnel despite the prominent roles they play in the investigation. I find this very refreshing.

Judging by the epilogue, which is cliffhanger-free, there will be a next book. I am hoping to see more drama in Shield Securities and learn more about Lexi's mother Valeri and Maggie-from-downstairs. At some point during reading, geeky me want a full book where Helen investigates bad guys while Lexi illegally hacks their computer systems. It will be so much fun and I have a feeling this might happen in the future.

[Helen] hated not knowing things. Maybe Lexi was right. Maybe she should become a PI; at least then she’d get paid for being nosey.

Fair Game is an exciting mystery with sapphic power couple Lexi and Helen in horrible situations. This series is the kind of mystery we all need, a morally gray hacker and a righteous ex-cop in love and fighting crimes. I cannot wait to see what Mills have in-store for us in the future.

I received an eARC from Ylva Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for JulesGP.
458 reviews123 followers
August 20, 2023
Although I enjoyed Book 1 in the series, I was unsure whether to continue. A few of my GR friends egged me on saying Fair Game was just as good. In this book, which really should be read after Payback, Helen and Lexi are now living together in a new town. They are handling the mundane tasks of a new apartment and finding work. But somehow someway, they are entangled in a dangerous situation again.

Although Helen and Lexi’s relationship continues to grow, this book is centered more on the mystery which is a really good one. The author’s pace is sure-handed and relentless. Every time I relaxed a bit the tension picked up again and I was anxious to hear what happens next. Again the twists and turns are unexpected. But in case you are wondering, Helen and Lexi still have steamy scenes together. Unfortunately, I cannot say more about the story without spoiling except that I liked Fair Game even more than Payback. Also, Sienna Frances continues to excel as the narrator. I’m looking forward to more of Helen & Lexi stories.
Profile Image for Della B.
570 reviews88 followers
August 5, 2020
Fair Game is a complicated whodunnit in the very grand British style of mystery writing. It is packed to the brim with plot twists, possible red herrings, major sleuthing and lots of tea drinking. Charlotte Mills’ sequel to Payback carries forward the two main characters Lexi Ryan and Helen Taylor.
As it had been awhile since I read Payback, I reread it before I started Fair Game. Both novels could stand alone,however, I would highly recommend reading them in order. There is so much action going on in Fair Game that a solid footing to the convoluted history of Lexi and Helen is a must.

Late one nite Helen sees a shadowy figure on the roof of the next apartment building doing something mysterious. Unfortunately for Lexi when she turns on a light the shadowy figure sees her instead of Helen. Helen’s curiosity gets the better of her and she starts to privately find out the answer to why someone was on the roof in the middle of the night and why Lexi has now become someone’s target.

I have always been a huge fan of British mysteries due to their complexities. Charlotte Mills has your interest from the first paragraph and never lets you slide away. The mystery evolves at quite a rapid pace which I really enjoyed. The thrill of holding onto your chair as the story spins while you try to solve the whodunnit is a mystery reader’s high. And while all this is going on we are seeing the growth of Lexi’s and Helen new found romance with lots of adult play time!

I cannot recommend this author and book enough. If you are into mysteries and WLW novels you will not be disappointed.
5 ⭐️ ( my first 5 star review this year)
Profile Image for Betty.
618 reviews79 followers
August 23, 2020
Charlotte Mills is a brilliant writer of police procedural/mystery novels. Her first novel, Payback, blew me away with the plot twists and the overall storyline. And that ending! I’m still in awe of the ending. When I heard that the sequel, Fair Game was coming out, I jumped at the chance to read it. I’m very glad I did.

In this second book, Ms. Mills has continued the story of Helen Taylor and Lexi Ryan. Helen is now retired from the police, and she and Lexi are working on making a new life together. Unfortunately trouble never seems to leave these two in peace, and they soon become embroiled in a murder mystery that has both women unexpectedly and accidentally drawn in. There are again all kinds of twists and turns in the story with both main characters unsure of what to do.

I loved this tale. The main characters are well-developed, and it was really fun watching the two continue to work together as they did in the first book to solve the mystery. The story is intriguing and full of surprises. There is also the really steamy romance intertwined into the tale. What is even better, I think this might not be the last book in the series (fingers crossed).

I can recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery/romance. I suppose you could read Fair Game without reading Payback first, but I really wouldn’t suggest it. While Ms. Mills gives you enough info from the first book to understand a little of the history of these two main characters, I really feel you would be missing out. Therefore, my recommendation is to read both books in order. They are definitely worth it.

I received an ARC from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sam.
765 reviews85 followers
February 28, 2021
It took me a while to finally get around to reading the sequel to Payback, all I can say is I should have done it sooner. This is an excellent sequel.
It doesn’t have the jaw dropping twist Payback has, but it is a good and enjoyable read.

Helen has resigned from her job to be with Lexi in Bristol. In the middle of the night she spots someone sneaking around on the roof of the neighbouring building. Lexi turns on the light and is spotted by the figure. The following days/ weeks are full of threats and incidents that have the couple on alert. When a death turns out to be murder it all gets even more dicey.

I like the continued banter between the two main characters and the crime part of the story is great, just as in Payback. You can’t read this book without having read Payback, and seeing as that one is so outstanding I don’t really see why you’d want to anyway. I’ve really grown to like Helen and Lexi, they are seemingly opposites, but they also have a lot in common. Without giving too much away I can see a third book coming in this series and I don’t mind one bit. I’ll be sure to pick that up soon after it is released :)
Solid 4.25 stars
Profile Image for Amanda.
344 reviews9 followers
September 9, 2020
I reread Payback, the first book in this series, before picking this one up. I am so happy I did. I had forgotten how awesome it was. If you haven't read that one, start there. I love both of these characters, and I think they work very well together. I thought Fair Game was just as good as Payback. Sequels are hard, and we find ourselves comparing a lot. I love the writing style and how she did the point of view, including the unknown individual perfectly. That is sometimes hit or miss with me. This one was a hit! I do not want to give any spoilers or do anything that may take away from ones reading of the book but read Payback first, and if you love mystery with awesome characters pick this one up. Fingers crossed for more of Lexi and Helen.
Profile Image for Victoria.
344 reviews50 followers
June 4, 2023
I really loved Book one Payback. It’s full of mystery and the relationship development between Helena and “Kate” are just too enjoyable to read.

I still enjoy Book two Fair Game, but is it necessary to add a third POV(the murderer)? It took all the mystery out and I only felt annoyed when reading his POV
465 reviews15 followers
August 10, 2020
I loved Ms Mills book ‘Payback’ where we were introduced to Helen Taylor and Lexi Ryan and now she has brought them both back in this book ‘Fair game’. Is there a third installment coming our way? I certainly hope so.
Helen Taylor has decided to hang up her badge so she can move on with her life and hopefully Lexi Ryan will want her to be a part of her life. But when someone starts stalking Lexi, Helen has no choice but to find out just who it is. Is it someone from their past or has Lexi stirred up someone else's interest.
Lexi can’t think of anyone who might be following her but neither can she think of anyone who would want to kill her. Learning about the death of their neighbor they get the feeling the two incidents might be related. But why did someone kill their neighbor, what was the motive and how does it involve Lexi?
Helen has to find a way to stop the killer before he gets to Lexi so she enlists help from a couple of her former colleagues. When Lily, the lady living in the same building as Lexi appears to know something about all the incidents they quickly enlist her help also.
Great read that can stand on its own but is so much better if you had the chance to read ‘Payback’ first. Great romantic story with just the right amount of intrigue that when you start reading you won’t want to put down. Very, very enjoyable.
ARC via Ylva Publishing
Profile Image for lauraღ.
1,591 reviews76 followers
August 5, 2022
3.5 stars. I'm happy to say I have to eat my words a little bit; this wasn't as predictable as I thought it would be, and I did end up surprised by a few things. Overall, though, I do think I have to stick with my earlier assessment: I liked the romance in this book more than in the first book, but the plot just isn't quite as good? IMO, at least. We're back with the couple from the first book, and while some established romance novels can flounder a little, or feel stale, or use cliched stuff to break the couple up for drama, this didn't do any of that. The ladies had all of the spark and chemistry that they had in the first book, and this time around, I did get pulled into their romantic connection. The steaminess was great, and I liked all the scenes of them learning to live and get along as a couple.

Like the first book, this mystery had several threads/prongs, which is always nice. I like having to think and theorise about multiple things while reading. I still do wish we'd gotten a bit less of the bad guy POV though. Now that the book is over, I understand WHY we had so many of those scenes. But, especially in those early chapters, I kept thinking that it would have been nice to share some of the anxiety and fear of the unknown that our characters had, because they were theorising about a particular thing, and we knew for a fact that that wasn't it. It just took the wind out of my sails. This did end up having some good twists, and there was enough groundwork laid that I sorta started to figure it out, but not completely, so that was nice. But I just couldn't really get into it. I feel like my attention kept wavering while I tried to listen to this, and try as I might, I couldn't concentrate fully or get completely invested. The writing was just okay; some of the banter especially just felt kind of forced and weird. And while I honestly can sometimes love possessiveness in romance, Helen got kind of weird about her girlfriend possibly having slept with a man in the past in a way that felt a little icky tbh, lol.

Listened to the audiobook as read by Sienna Frances, which was really good, if not my favourite. Despite my nit-picks I still had a good time with this, and I still have to give it kudos for not being as one-note and predictable as I feared it might be. My rating for this definitely turned out higher than I expected it to. I just don't know that this author's writing really does it for me. Doesn't mean I won't try her again though!

Content warnings:
Profile Image for XR.
1,710 reviews93 followers
September 17, 2020
Fair Game's a great follow up to Payback.

Lexi and Helen work really well together and should get into the PI business together. With Lexi's computer skills and Helen's sleuthing they'd kick arse.

I can't wait for the next book to see the case Pete gave Helen to look over.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Colleen Corgel.
525 reviews18 followers
August 16, 2020
This is the first book by Mills that I enjoyed - It still has a lot of the twisty nature from the first book in the series, Payback, but it feels more grounded. Maybe its because she didn't have to work so hard to craft the mystery as she did in Payback. She really only focused on one mystery to solve, and she also didn't have to pull a bait n' switch. It makes for a smoother ride, a better dive into the characters and more impact for its buck.

If you haven't read Payback I recommend you do so if you want to understand a little bit about Lexi's and Helen's personalities. Although Fair Game does a good job of highlighting important stuff from the first book, but I think it glosses over just enough for some decisions to feel ridiculous if you didn't check out the first one. It also helps with explaining why the two women are so close - you would never expect people with their personalities to mesh well, but they do, and the events of the first book introduce us to the start of their relationship.

It was a decent enough thriller, with a mild surprise at the end - one that was a little bittersweet, but pretty good none the less. I tend to come down hard on stalkers as the bad guys for thrillers, because most of them come off as cartoonish, but this one isn't too bad. I like how he is introduced, and how it explores a different form of stalking than a delusion of attachment or a jilted lover. It was set up well, and I liked the slower buildup - it made him pretty creepy instead of outright menacing at the beginning. And I like that both Lexi and Helen are affected - it shows that stalkers often have multiple victims: the source of their fixation, and their loved ones.

It wouldn't have worked so well if Helen and Lexi weren't such good characters. I thought it was interesting that they had minor misunderstandings, but could still get through them as they talked it out. It was grounding, and refreshing to see that a couple was strong enough to navigate such a traumatic thing.

In my opinion, this is Mills' best book. It build on the foundation laid out by her other books, providing a creepy thriller, with great leads at its center. Thriller/Mystery readers will enjoy the specter of the stalker, and Romance readers will enjoy the somewhat steamy romance.

I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Karen.
731 reviews8 followers
August 15, 2020
This was another good mystery from Charlotte Mills. The recently retired DCI Helen moved in to Lexi’s apartment, which was a pivotal decision. Everything takes place because she lived there. This had some red herrings, Helen’s investigative skills, Lexi’s hacking, some subplots and misdirection. What else can a mystery fan ask for? The intra- and interpersonal feelings build this novel into a satisfying read, too, because they added emotional depth to both Lexi and Helen. The side characters from Lilly to Roman to Pete were developed enough to flesh out details and add more depth. The way it ended left me thinking there may be a third a book in this series, which would be a great thing.
Profile Image for Alealea.
647 reviews4 followers
January 16, 2021
Not as gripping as the previous installment. The end that left me bemused, restart here with an unbalanced relationship.
Despite the two main being an official couple their relationship seem less real than in the previous book and they seem to prefer passionate embrace to talking.
I can understand that but as a reader I wish they spend more time going through their issues.
The mystery part was more crime stalker behaviour and pretty standard stuff.
237 reviews19 followers
August 6, 2020
Charlotte Mills is getting better and better! "Fair Game" is an excellent follow up to the fast-paced Payback, (which had an awesome plot but a few technical issues). This book, however, is as close to a top-notch thriller as I've read in a long time. I do not give five star ratings lightly but "Fair Game" thoroughly deserves each and every one. Both Lexi and Helen have matured as characters and are definitely more rounded, although Lexi has maintained some of her signature impulsiveness.

While not a traditional romance, it is really enjoyable to watch the relationship between the two leads develop and grow as the story progresses. They are an excellent couple and the chemistry between them serves as a counterbalance to the crime/thriller storyline. On that subject, the thriller plot is very well written and manages to be incredibly tense and dramatic, without resorting to over the top unrealistic scenarios. I also love that it's set in Bristol (with brief trips to Bath, London and Scarborough), again it makes the whole novel feel more realistic and grounded, and therefore the crime feels all the more brutal and cruel.

To put it simply, this is a riveting, clever and sexy crime thriller that I would highly recommend to anyone! (I would suggest you read Payback first, but it's not mandatory)

Profile Image for Carol Hutchinson.
835 reviews67 followers
September 2, 2020
So good!!!

Helen has moved from Warner with Lexi and they are looking forward to a quieter life, when Lexi suddenly ends up the target for someone who is either out to scare her, or worse hurt her. After pondering whether it could be something to do with Lexi’s past, Helen becomes convinced it is something to do with her own past career and sets out trying to piece together all the clues and keep Lexi safe. Calling in a few favours, Helen starts to uncover the truth and realises she really isn’t ready for a civilian life.

I loved this!!! Fair Game is the sequel to Charlotte’s debut novel Payback which I remember falling in love with and it was great to be back with Helen and Lexi. I was so excited to read this and was not disappointed. It was as good as the first book, and if not in some respects better, but they are very different stories. If you haven’t read Payback it would pay to do so before reading this instalment, but it stands well on its own as standalone. The only disadvantage would be that you won’t know Helen and Lexi’s past history (which is super super exciting!!! So, you’ll want to know that first).

I couldn’t have imagined this future for them, but it seemed fitting as something only these two could end up tangled up in. And it was so exciting, trying to piece all the clues together and figure it out with Helen. The plot was absolutely fantastic and had me hooked. I couldn’t decide which of the many potential suspects it could be, and even some red-herring characters threw me. It was so unexpected when it did all start coming together and very clever in how it was woven and connected, events and people. A real thrilling mystery that literally had me gripped from the very first chapter and I couldn’t put it down until I knew!

Fantastic mystery thriller that I highly recommend and I am very much looking forward to more from Helen and Lexi in future!
161 reviews6 followers
August 31, 2020
Four and a half stars rounded up.

I really didn’t like the first book in the series, Payback, very much. I couldn’t engage with the characters and found it hard to suspend my disbelief in the story. I’m pleased to be able to say that I found Fair Game much more engaging. Mills fleshes out the main characters – Helen and Lexi – much better here and the story, while fairly simple, is great. A few red herrings to make it interesting and a wonderful set of secondary characters.

Helen and Lexi are much more likeable here – at least I thought so – and I liked their tentative exploration of their new relationship. I thought the best part was the writing of the villain of the piece. Mild spoiler follows.

This is an exciting read and had me glued to my Kindle until the end. It’s evenly paced, and in turns both intriguing and exciting. You should probably read Payback first, otherwise some things won’t make sense. If you like crime mysteries with lesbian heroines, Fair Game really is a good read and I wholeheartedly recommend it..

Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
130 reviews7 followers
August 16, 2020
An ARC copy was given to me by YLVA for a honest review.

This is a sequel to Ch. Mills book "Payback" and I was really looking forward to read it. I was so curious about Lexi and Helen. How would they life go on, what would Lexi and Helen do. I had so many questions and I hope for good book. You should read Payback first, since there are backround stories to know. I really liked the mystery about the reason, why both characters think, that each of them is a target for attacks. The crime story is solid and we get to know Helen and Lexi better and witness their build of relationship. So enjoy the reading.
Profile Image for LJ.
82 reviews
September 24, 2020
Although I enjoyed the first book more this was still an exceptional murder mystery, Mills has a way of drawing you in and just when you think you know the answers she twists the whole thing around.
The main characters are likeable and entertaining and I hope she'll follow up with a 3rd instalment
Profile Image for Jane.
106 reviews
September 10, 2020
I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

New lovers and ex-police partners Helen and Lexi are starting over in a new town, but, wouldn't you know it, find themselves once more in the middle of nefarious shenanigans.

I found this book slow going. It is competently written and nicely paced, with lots of plot points that I should have found exciting but that did not, for whatever reason, particularly grab me. I kept waiting for a sense of urgency and suspense that just didn't develop for me -- your experience will, of course, vary.

This might have been a result of the book's commitment to a sense of realism and the everyday, which in many ways was among its greatest strengths.

The relationship between the protagonists is sweet and affectionate without being saccharine, and readers of the first book will likely enjoy revisiting them. If you like slowish, cosyish mysteries grounded in realism, this is likely a good book for you.

Profile Image for Morgan.
556 reviews33 followers
November 23, 2020
I didn't read the first book in the series, but enough of it was summarized in this sequel that I could pretty much piece it together. I didn't feel like this story line was terribly interesting. Rarely do I enjoy it when authors have chapters from the "mysterious" perspective of the perpetrator; it comes off as super hokey to me--as is a harrowing climax where the "bad guy" waxes poetic to the protagonist about "how I did it" instead of just killing them. So the story didn't do it for me, but neither did the relationship between the two protagonists, Helen and Lexi. Maybe I'd have felt a bit differently had I read the initial book, but the relationship read to me uncomfortably c0-dependent.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 53 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.