Hot damn, this was gearing up to be a 5 star read from me. Everything was going great. I loved the story, the gritty darkness (which I wasn't expecting), it was wordy-but beautifully put, it had the right amount of action, and it kept me turning the pages on the edge of my seat. What went wrong? In my opinion...the ending. What happened? Okay, I am getting ahead of myself. Let's go back to the beginning.
Maxwell is a vagrant who has lived most of his life on the streets. He knows his way around and how to keep out of sight. He's also a homeless vigilante. He trusts 1 person and in my opinion incredibly loyal. My heart broke for Maxwell. One night he's asleep on his fire escape and he hears a scuffle. He would normally let it go, but he sees the rent boy and he's young, too young. He decides to help. Little does he know that saving this rent boy was going to change the way he views his life. When he wakes up again he looks down and sees a dead body. He didn't put it there, but didn't know who. He reacts without thinking and realizes someone saw him on the fire escape. He's now a suspect.
Nick is a cop who lives in the building next to the alley the dead guy was found and saw the suspect on the fire escape. He does what he has to do and goes after the suspect. When he brings into the station Nick doesn't like the way Maxwell is treated and keeps an eye on him. Nick is thrown on the case, even though he's a beat cop. Nick has no idea that taking in Maxwell meant having his life on the line as well.
Nick and Maxwell realize that the dead guy in the alley is related to a bigger operation that Maxwell is all too familiar with. Maxwell won't have another dead cop on his hands, but can't seem to pull away from Nick because he knows he has to keep him safe. Nick only wants to keep Maxwell safe, but doesn't know who he can trust. There is too much corruption in the police force.
The ending: What happened with the dirty cops? Did Nick apologize for the fight? What about Jake--was he really an asshole? Did Nick and Maxwell bareback? Seriously? Nick didn't have anything to say about that? Did Maxwell ever tell Nick he was a virgin? Does Maxwell still help The Whistler?
Overall, I thought this was great. Minus the descriptors used as names "the small man", "the vagrant", "the redhead", "the dirt-coated man", "the cop", "the watcher", "the bigger man", etc. Definitely not flowery and it's a GFY which I thought happened too fast.