Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
With his career firmly established and his reputation as a successful PI growing, Hades should have the perfect life with his human lover, his faithful ferryman, his dogs and the parts of his family still speaking to him. But murder and chaos are never far away for death lords as his nephew Dionysus and his oldest friend Charon are drawn into the maelstrom.
Includes: Books, Bulls, & Bacchanals: Brandywine Investigations #4 Midwinter Dancing: Brandywine Investigations #4.5 Pack Up the Moon: Brandywine Investigations #5
With Angel Martinez’s fertile imagination, she has created a universe in which Lord Hades gets a divorce, gets kicked out of the underworld and starts a detective agency. Of course, there’s so much more to it than that. It involves so many gods and goddesses hanging out in the “real world” as well as on the Olympic plain, all doing their thing. It’s fun, it’s a madhouse of murder and mystery and the author often turns well-known mythology on it’s head time after time. Yes, it’s also absolutely marvelous great times.
I’ve taken the two stories that make up Family Matters separately. They both take place in the Brandywine Investigations universe and have some of the same characters, in that Dio and Leander, along with Hades and Ti makes appearances in Pack Up the Moon.
Books, Bulls, & Bacchanals: Brandywine Investigations #4: Rating: 5 stars
Everyone assumes life’s one big party for Dionysus, but even the god of wine and orgies has problems. His anger management issues are out of control, and his siblings suggest a visit to the Eternal Library to find a cure. The library of the gods is a strange and confounding place, though, one that Dionysus has avoided for centuries, and his certainty that the library hates him is confirmed when a killer strikes during his visit.
Life as the only librarian is blissfully peaceful for Leander, giving him the security and quiet he so desperately needs. Considered a monster as a child, Leander’s memories of his imprisonment in the Labyrinth left deeply carved emotional scars. But when a young woman is murdered in his library, he needs to emerge from his self-imposed seclusion to help find the killer who might still stalk the hallways.
Forced to keep company with Dionysus, Leander swings between whether the unpredictable and charming little god will keep him safe or drive him to distraction before the killer is found.
I absolutely loved this story. Here again the author takes two well known mythological figures Dionysus and the Minotaur and puts her own spin on their characters, personalities, and back histories. Personally, I like her take on them better. Dio as he’s called is a slightly damaged, loving chaos god whose brain was scrambled by what you might call an acid trip. He wants to be loved and accepted for who he is. Hard when part of that includes orgiastic events that he needs to feed his life force. For too many lovers, that’s been breaking point along with a certain impossible to contain destructive anger. One that explodes when he finds his human assistant dead in the Underworld Library.
Leander, head librarian at The Eternal Library, is the Minotaur. However, here, instead of a fierce monster, he was an abused teenager, unjustly imprisoned by his family and betrayed by Theseus. He’s a figure of utter shyness, poignancy, with a good measure of PTSD thrown in. All in a huge minotaur’s body. All he wants is his books, his garden, and to be left alone with his red panda assistants (so fantastically adorable). But one murder, several robberies, and that’s quite impossible.
The authors characterizations, wonderful plot, sweet romance, and all the suspense make this a 5 star romp that both endearing and edge of your seat exciting. Loved it.
Pack Up the Moon: Brandywine Investigations #5 Rating 4.5 stars out of 5
Charon, Hades’ ferryman of the Dead across the River Styx, has watched Hades himself and several of Hades’ nephews all find love. And quietly wished for love himself. To pass in the normal world, he runs Stygian Funeral Home when he isn’t helping solve mysteries with Lord Hades. Then it happens, he has a run in with the raccoon demi god Azeban and his crow Kaukont and everything starts to go terribly wrong. Or right after a very mixed up fashion even for a Chaos god. With the world and all its souls hanging in the balance, can love and a ton of goddesses and Chaos gods save the day?
Chary, that wonderful Chaos god who has appeared in all the stories, now gets his own romance. Long overdue and I’m so happy with the results. No less than the utter end of the Death Lords and the World could be at stake here. And the resolution and unlikeliest of heroes is also a Raccoon. Well, a raccoon god and a crow. There’s the Martinez humor, a great deal of pathos in two characters who never thought they’d find love and do with each other, near death experiences, and a wonderful drum dance of goddesses and this story came very close to perfection. Perhaps I wanted a little more comeuppance for the evil deeds done but maybe that ‘s not possible when you are talking about gods.
If you love mythology, Angel Martinez and her wild takes on everything from murder mysteries to every known god pantheon there is, this is the universe and stories for you. Grab them all up while you are at it. I highly recommend them all.
Cover art: Rebeckah Murray. I like this cover. Clearly different from the norm. That Leander and Dio on the front. I liked it.
Kindle Edition, 502 pages
Published February 28th 2018 by Mischief Corner Books
Series Brandywine Investigations #4-5
Please note: Books, Bulls & Bacchanals has been re-edited with a few story adjustments for this edition.