Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Gus Goodwin witnesses a young man acting strangely at his occult shop—and a day later the same youth is found brutally murdered at a secluded Radical Faerie sanctuary in the mountains. Gus and his private detective boyfriend, Niall Valentine, once again find themselves in the middle of a murder mystery.
First to cross their path is Professor Alex Kittridge, Gus’s ex-boyfriend. Then into the picture stumbles Autumnsong, the biggest enigma they’ve ever encountered, to complicate the already confusing case. As Gus and Niall try to decipher the meaning of the cryptic poems left at the murder scenes, their pasts not yet laid to rest put a strain on their relationship.
Gus and Niall must uncover a slew of secrets within a spiritual group of queer social rebels before the vile killer strikes again—or the investigation could very well end up being their last.
The fourth book in The Wheel Mysteries by Susan Laine, The Disciple, finds Gus Goodwin and Niall Valentine one year into their relationship. Each book in the series has a Wiccan holiday at its center and for The Disciple, its Lughnasadh or Lammas. Laine intends for the series to run the length of the Wiccan sabbat or holiday calendar so we have a ways to go yet. Lucky us!
I have long adored this series, not only for its characters and its murder mysteries but for its accurate use of the Wiccan religion. Wiccan beliefs are beautifully interwoven throughout the story, including its connections to nature, practices…its a lovely way for those unfamiliar with this religion to meet it. And through Gus Goodwin a Wiccan, whose nonjudgemental mind and sharp intelligence, often brings us into learning about other forms of pagan religions as well. This time it is the Radical Faeries, another group that gets a compassionate and open-minded treatment from Laine. At his side? His fiance’, P.I Niall Valentine, who’s mind has become more accepting while remaining just as suspicious as it needs to be. They are a great combination.
Unfortunately, a member of this group has been murdered and that brings our favorite couple into the investigation.
Gus and Niall’s relationship is always a work in progress, a factor that makes them and their partnership believable and feel real. They fight, make up, have doubts, and work through their issues like mature adults. I love that. Plus their sex scenes are very hot! But its as a couple I appreciate them so much. Their love and appreciation for each other shines off the page. That also improves with each story as their love has deepened and gotten stronger as its been tested with each murder case and crisis.
Laine doesn’t disappoint us here with the mysteries either. We find out about the murders, the culprits and maybe something far more sinister. It did feel a little long towards the end. It felt as though it had wrapped up only to continue on. But then we get something so marvelous waiting at the end. No spoilers but oh how I loved this book! I had no idea that was going to happen. I was stunned with joy.
Love murder mysteries? How about romance too? Here’s a whole series to gobble up! Start at the beginning and work your way through until you reach The Disciple. I highly recommend them all. Susan Laine has laid the ground work for the next book to come and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us there. I wonder if it will be out by Yule? That’s the next Wiccan holiday on the calendar! I’ll be waiting.
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht. What a gorgeous cover. A true favorite of mine.
ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 21st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634776623 (ISBN13: 9781634776622)
SeriesThe Wheel Mysteries