Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
When Steve Koemer has an argument with his parents, he turns to his boyfriend Roger Cross for comfort. When Steve’s father is found crucified the next morning, the boys must clear their names and once again fight for their lives.
This is the sequel to the book Safe. It would be recommended that you read the first book to understand some of the plot lines in this book.
It has been several months since Steve Koemer and Roger Cross survived a brutal attack that almost cost them their lives. Since that time, they have been dating and been open about it with their friends within their school. One evening, Steve’s parents confront him about his friendship with Roger. When he admits he is gay, Steve’s father slaps him. Steve runs to the park and texts Roger to meet him there.
Having taken Steve home to his family, Roger’s parents insist on documenting the bruises that are on Steve’s face. They offer Steve a place to stay until they can talk to his parent s in the morning. When they awake the next morning, the police are on the Cross’s doorstep. Steve’s father, a minister at a prominent church has been murdered. To make matters worse, Steve’s mother has all but implicated him as a suspect because of the fight the night before. Despite having an alibi, it appears that the police are determined to pin the murder on either Steve or Roger or both.
With the assistance of their friends at the school newspaper, a semi-retired newspaper reporter, and their lawyer, Steve and Roger must figure out not only who has a possible motive for murder but also avoid a school bully who does not like their relationship. As they investigate, they must go up against the ruling body of Steve’s church and a police force that does not seem to be taking the investigation seriously. Can they solve the mystery, get through the daily grind of high school and keep themselves from either being arrested for murder or killed themselves?
I enjoyed this novel for different reasons. First was the contrasting support of the sets of parents. Whereas Roger’s parents are supportive of him and Steve being boyfriends, Steve’s parents are ultimately trying to divide the couple apart. Roger realizes that his parents are treating them like any other dating teens when they request that Steve sleeps on the couch instead of his room. Second, the mystery seems to come out of Agatha Christie playbook. The suspects are as numerous as the reasons people wanted Steve’s father dead. Once you get to the ending, you see that all the work that our young heroes have put in has been worth the effort. I am glad to see this second novel of these amateur detectives. These two are a welcome addition to Mr. Zubro’s stable of sleuths.
The cover art shows our two heroes standing at dusk in a park. Roger has his letterman jacket on holding onto Steve in a protective manner. Really good representation of our protagonists.
Ebook, 248 pages
Published: February 15, 2015 by MLR Press