An Ali Review: The Family Eternal (Deputy Joe #5) by James Buchanan

Standard
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
When the body of a young woman is found in a burning rental cabin, Deputy Joe Peterson and newly minted Fire Inspector Kabe Varghese must learn to work together to find out who she is and why she died.

Folks will tell you that family is second only to God in Utah. But what brings strength to some can sow sorrow with others.

On a bleak winter morning, a young woman’s corpse smolders in the remains of a burned rental cabin. Clues to her identity are rarer than frozen choke-cherries in the Utah backcountry. Deputy Joe Peterson, assisted by Kabe Varghese in his first case as a fire inspector trainee, doggedly hunts for who she is and why she died. As they sink deeper into the investigation, Joe struggles with how his life is now personally and professionally intertwined with Kabe’s.

Outed, excommunicated and disciplined because of the man he found love with; the last year of Joe’s life has careened like an avalanche toward an abyss. Is doom inevitable? Or is the best chance to live surrendering to the fall?
This is a series I wish more people read.  Joe is one of the most complex and well written characters in this genre in my opinion.  This installment was another really good one.  We start it by seeing the two men working a case together.  It was great to see Kabe now in a career and doing really well for himself.  The course of this series has shown Kabe grow and come into himself and I was proud of Kabe (like he’s a real person). 
There are two aspects to the book.  There is the murder case which was super interesting.  We learned a lot about the difference between the mainstream Mormon church and the polygamist offshoots.  On a personal note, I did a lot of traveling in Utah last year and I went through the area that this series is set in.  It’s a beautiful area with really interesting people.  It made the setting of this book so much more real to me.  I could picture it all perfectly.  I felt this aspect of the book was well developed and it kept me interested from beginning till end.
The other aspect of the story is the growth of Joe and Kabe’s relationship.  I marvel at how far they’ve come over the years.  There are two aspects that I’d like to note.  One being the bdsm part.  There aren’t a lot of sex scenes but the ones that are there are intense.  I love that the author clearly shows that Kabe is a sub by choice and only in the bedroom.  In the earlier books he wasn’t submissive out of the bedroom per se but his overall life situation made for a power imbalance.  Over time and life changes the men are  now equal in power in their day to day.  I love how the author has shown the reader the development of this dynamic from book to book.
The other aspect I find interesting is Joe’s faith and how he has come to be able to have both it and his relationship with Kabe.  I’m personally not a big fan of organized religion and I don’t often read books with religious characters because in inevitably goes wrong for me.  This series is a major exception.  Joe lives by his faith and he’s a believer.  He lives it by example.  As readers we’ve watched Joe struggle with being gay in a religion that tells him it’s a sin.  He’s struggled hard over the years but it’s just lovely to watch him now.  He’s solid in not only his faith but his love for Kabe.  He sees their relationship as a the beautiful gift it is. It’s also been touching to watch Kabe, who is also against organized religion, learn to respect it’s importance to Joe.  Some of my favorite romantic scenes in the entire series happen in this book.
This book could be read as a standalone but I don’t recommend it.  The mystery works fine and you could follow the romance parts too without reading the previous books.  You would miss out on a lot of the emotion though.  If you’re already a fan of this series I think you’ll really like this one.  If you’re not, I recommend going back and starting with book one.
Cover art by
Sales Links:   MLR Books | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 262 pages
Published August 18th 2017 by MLRPress (first published August 15th 2017)
Original Title The Family Eternal
ISBN13MLR1020170783
Edition Language English
Series Deputy Joe #5

One thought on “An Ali Review: The Family Eternal (Deputy Joe #5) by James Buchanan

  1. I so wanted this to be good, so thank you for your review. I bought it, and now I feel like its been too long and I need to go back and start at the beginning before I tackle it.

    Like

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