New Release Review | Variable Onset by Layla Reyne

Variable OnsetVariable Onset by Layla Reyne
Mystery Suspense M/M
Carina Press | May 4th 2020

About the Book:

To catch a killer, a special agent and his former student will need to get close—to their target, and each other. Layla Reyne returns with a stand-alone romantic mystery.

When the serial killer known as Dr. Fear seemingly reemerges after a cooling-off period, Special Agent Lincoln Monroe wants on the case. He knows his research on the calculating criminal, who targets couples and uses their worst fears to kill them, could prove invaluable. But nothing can prepare Lincoln for the agent waiting for him in Apex, Virginia: a brash and cocky former student. Carter Warren is everything Lincoln is not, and somehow everything he wants. And they’ll be going undercover. As newlyweds.

For Carter, seeing Lincoln again—and flustered to boot—pokes his raging bear of a crush something fierce. He thinks posing as lovers will provide the perfect bait for Dr. Fear. But pretending to be married forces them to confront fears of their own…like giving in to the very real chemistry between them.

With evidence pointing to the possibility of a copycat killer, Lincoln and Carter will have to race to separate truth from fiction. But when another couple goes missing, finding the killer will test every ounce of their training, skills and the strength of their bond like never before.


I’ve now read 2 series, totaling 6 books, from Layla Reyne. I think I have to call myself a fan, right?

I mean, they’re not perfect, but clearly they’re entertaining. Highly entertaining. I actually really liked Variable Onset. I was really impressed with the pacing of the case, in addition to the characters.

Variable Onset was romantic suspense done right. The heat between the characters didn’t overshadow the mystery, and the mystery didn’t outshine the romance. Both were equally matched. Plus, I love stories that take place in a small town.

All in all, there was so much to like.

There were a few problems too, such as how it felt like Lincoln and Carter were mostly just stumbling onto the clues, not necessarily that they were sleuthing them out. I’ll also say, Lincoln was supposed to be the big brain here, but when clues were found it was by Carter. In part that played into the plot, since Carter was supposed to be the surprise.

Also, there were two mysteries at play. There was Dr Fear, but there was also a mystery personal to Carter. I was looking forward to reading them both play out equally, but sadly I felt like Carter’s was given a limp ending. Another 50 pages would have stretched it out into an ending that didn’t need to sacrifice one of the reveals.

Sill, I’m a fan.

I can’t stop requesting Layla Reyne.

I know I’ll be back.

Thank you to Netgalley and Carina Press for providing an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

4 Responses

  1. thebrowneyedbookworm

    I have been offered an ARC but I wasn’t sure how much I would like it. Good to know you are enjoying this series, it makes me want to pick it up.


Tell me something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.