Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
This story is divided into two parts. In the prologue, Josh, aka Jazz, Roman, owner of a salon called Curl Up and Dye, witnesses a murder from across the road as he’s taking out the trash one night. Shocked, he immediately calls 9-1-1 to report the crime. And then he swoons when Gabriel Wyatt, a tall, sexy, and handsome detective arrives on scene. Though he’s ostensibly not attracted to Gabe, who is way too straight and too uninterested in the effeminate Jazz, it’s Gabe he calls when the murderer shows up a few nights later to take out the eyewitness—Jazz. Nothing happens, other than animosity, between the two as the prologue, and an epilogue, ends before the actual story begins.
Jazz has taken a comment Gabe made about Jazz being too femme to heart, and in the early pages of the story, he goes to great lengths to avoid the detective. That one comment beautifully set up their antagonism, and it returns to haunt them throughout most of the book. The two share a push and pull attraction as the mystery drama unfolds, even after they find their way to the bedroom.
Jazz is one of those guys who this reader loves to fall in love with—fierce, strong, full of pride and sass. Independent, he also forms strong friendships with those who are his family of the heart, and when one of them is murdered, he’s all-in to help solve the crime—even though he might have to work with Gabe.
Gabe really likes Jazz, despite his first impression, and he can see what a strong and fiercely independent and loving soul lurks beneath Jazz’s antagonism toward him. Watching this couple as they push and pull their way to romance is interesting, to say the least.
But it’s Joel Leslie’s narration that saved this book from being just an ordinary MM romance mystery. The somewhat femme voice he used for Jazz and the deeper, sexy voice he used for Gabe made this a very enjoyable listening experience.
The beginning of the audiobook is a prologue in which a woman who sells potions and predicts future events is murdered. It’s told from her POV and then is immediately followed by an epilogue. I’m really not sure why the book was set up this way, and I found it very confusing to listen to in audiobook format. Perhaps if I also had the e-book available I could have looked that over to clear up the point of doing a prologue and epilogue before the main story, but without it, I was not on firm foundation when the main part of the story opened.
The mystery plot in this MM romance was good with lots of twists and turns and possibilities, however, the writing style and execution were poor. There were many adverbial and prepositional phrases out of place—in other words, the way the sentence was structured made the phrase modify the wrong thing or the wrong person. In my opinion, it needed tighter editing. I could also “hear” misplaced words and errors. After all, the narrator can only perform what is on page and sloppy edits show up in audiobooks as well as in e-books.
But, because of the entertaining narration, I do recommend this to lovers of a fun, sexy, light-hearted mystery romance, and I bumped it up a half star to acknowledge that it’s the audio edition I recommend.
The cover features a photo shot of two sexy men in an embrace. Very attractive and definitely representative of the two MCs in this story.
Published November 7th 2017 by Aimee Nicole Walker (first published November 8th 2016)
SeriesCurl Up and Dye Mysteries #1 settingOhio (United States)