Rating:4 Stars

Publisher: Self Published

Genre:  Gay Romance

Tags: FBI Agents, Behavioural Analysis, Serial Killer, Murder/Mystery

Length: 377 Pages

Reviewer: Kaz

Purchase At: amazon


Special Agent Jon “Ice Man” Anderson is one of the FBI’s best monster hunters, catching predators using their darkness against them. It’s his purpose, and he’s relentless.

Rookie Special Agent Tracey Smith is Jon’s opposite, shining light in the shadows and counteracting the dark with hope. Together, they may be the perfect combination to catch The Family Man, a sniper terrorizing St. Louis, dealing death through the scope of a high-powered rifle.

They can’t afford distractions.
Jon can’t ignore the feelings Tracey has evoked.
Feelings he hasn’t allowed himself in years.

Jon’s not the only one compelled by Tracey….

In a city held hostage, the FBI races to stop the killing.
Before the sniper finds them,

And they lose everything.

The Mind Hacker: The Family Man is the 107,000-word opening salvo of a gay romance/suspense series following a law enforcement/workplace pairing through a bisexual awakening all the way to their eventual happily-ever-after.

Content warning: The Mind Hacker series contains themes of dark violence, including off-page sexual assault, psychological manipulation, narcissism, and other disturbing themes. If you’d like specifics, the author will happily answer questions through their email: ajrosefiction@gmail.com

Every word and cover of every book published by this author has been crafted by a human and always will be.


I enjoy good investigative, murder/mystery, law enforcement books. I like them with or without a romance. However, I especially like them paired with a romance and The Family Man delivers my favourite elements here. I’m no stranger to A J Rose’s books. I especially love the Reaping Havoc two book series – wonderful stuff.

This is a relatively tried and true formula in gay romance law enforcement style books, older team member and younger, newer team member… but I also like that. So, everything was set up for me to love The Family Man.

I definitely liked the characters. Special Agent Jon Anderson is thirty-five and the experienced voice of this particular behavioural analysis unit within the FBI. He is gay. His team all know. And, as it should be, nobody has any issues with it, although he’s aware that within the wider FBI community there are people and pockets of resistance to gay agents.

Jon gets excited about a big case. A case where he has to get inside the mind of the perpetrator. He enjoys thinking like they do, feeling their motivation, the chase, a satisfying conclusion. He’s also the enigmatic one, the one with a darker twist to his personality… for reasons. Some of those reasons have been given explanation but I’d hazard a guess that there’s more to come.

Tracey is twenty-eight and two years younger than the average agent  recruited into a unit that is hard to get a gig with. He’s highly qualified with psychology and criminology majors, has also been good at what he’s learned on the job prior to joining the FBI BAU. However, this is a higher intensity workplace with a complex workload. It’s also a close-knit team he’s joined who miss nothing and tend toward being up in each other’s business, in his business, which initially non-plusses him somewhat. However, Tracey is a quick study, has good interviewing skills, but in the beginning he’s (sensibly) unsure whether this job will overwhelm him. Fair call given his general vibe is one of having been sheltered in spite of his career choice. He works in a heightened state of empathy for the victims and the family left behind. Professionally you know this will absolutely burn him out, but it’s also very human of him which makes him attractive to the reader as well as to Jon Anderson, who is like a darker moth to the bright flame that is Tracey. Not something Jon wants. Not something Tracey thought he wanted until his desires for men are allowed to surface.

When a sniper keeps killing in St Louis, think the D C sniper attacks, and the team are sent there, Jon makes sure his room has an interconnecting door to Tracey’s. He can play it off as the senior team member looking out for the newbie, but he knows it’s more than that and so do we because we’re privy to both men’s thoughts. We also see the struggle that exists for their fledgling work and personal relationship, one that would see them unceremoniously sacked from the FBI if anyone discovered it.

The other team members, Sarena and Perry, are fleshed out a little bit, but I’m sure more will be developed as the series continues. Jon and Tracey are the main focus of the series and The Family Man,  along with whoever is killing people with a specific gun/bullet. The whys of it. How he’s able to be so brazen without being seen. They’re looking for whatever the connecting factors are between victims who appear disparate in background – their age, stage of life, backgrounds. Are the victims random or connected somehow? This is Unit 4’s main objective throughout. They need to build a profile and they work with local law enforcement as well as the local field office.

I was pretty surprised that the romance developed a little more quickly than I thought it would. I’m also not complaining, just for the record, simply reviewing. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a push-pull going on, because there certainly is, and I’m guessing there will be plenty of emotional and professional hurdles for Jon and Tracey to overcome during the series. I’m sure the author will throw more curveballs their way as well as draw them closer, it’s a fine balancing act with a series.

Rose paints a good world. A vivid picture of St Louis in summer interlocked with the intensity of the case sets a great backdrop – you could feel the heat, hear the sounds, feel the tension. Envision the city with depth and clarity.

The threat over St. Louis hung like a pall, the pressure cooker’s lid ready to blow at any moment to release either Mother Nature’s fury or the Family Man’s. It was a toss-up which would detonate first.



Physically reading and writing a review is not easy for me right now but I really wanted to read  The Family Man after the blurb. I wasn’t disappointed. Then I was moved to jump on the blog with a review.

I very much enjoyed this book. I looked forward to picking The Family Man up. I didn’t want to put it down. I was invested for the duration. I was here for the main characters, Jon and Tracey. I enjoy a good investigation and romance and this fit the brief very nicely. Even though this is book #1 in a series it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. I’m excitedly looking forward to The Phantom, book #2, which doesn’t come out until September 2024. *Sad face.