A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Party to Murder by John Inman

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Wow! As a longtime fan of Agatha Christie, I am completely impressed with the quality and pace of this mystery. In my opinion, it’s worthy of sitting on the same shelf as Christie.

Both Jamie Roma and Derek Lee have been friends since childhood but they’ve recently discovered that their feelings evolved to more—their chemistry reached a flashpoint, and they’re now lovers. As the story progresses, each man realizes that the man they called best friend all their life is now the man they want to finish that life beside. It’s fun-loving Jamie who prods them to accept an invitation to a weekend house party that each received separately. In a very rural area, neither man counted on the raging thunderstorm, complete with lightning and a flash flood that adds to the creepiness of the isolated location.

Their hosts seem to be absent—that is, until they discover the corpses of an elderly couple in the basement. While the storm rages, they also find their cell phones missing, their tires slashed and the car engine wires cut. The lightning, thunder, and high wind add just the right ambiance to this grisly tale as one by one, the murders continue. Reminiscent of And Then There Were None by Christie, but with a modern-day twist, I was totally caught up in the story from the beginning. 

The author set up the personalities of the main characters with words, memories, and dialogue about their current circumstances right from the beginning, and I realized by the second chapter that I liked these guys and didn’t want anything to happen to them. Getting me on their side early in the story was key to my enjoyment and kept me glued to my Kindle as I turned each page.

I enjoyed the romance between these two really nice guys whose friendship and love is tested under duress, and I enjoyed trying to solve the mystery as the author revealed more and more about each person within the spooky old house before the deaths started to pile up and there weren’t many characters left to pick from.

There’s nothing quite as good as an outstanding story that can take me away from my day-to-day world and transport me to a place where I can enjoy someone else’s drama. Add MM romance to that and then give me a mystery and I’m sold. I very highly recommend this book to those who are looking for a challenging mystery with romance and the spooky ambiance of a high-energy thunderstorm at night. 

The cover by Paul Richmond, done in a spooky nighttime gray tone, depicts two young men, one with his head on the other’s shoulder from behind, the other with his head tossed back and his torso naked. They’re set against the backdrop of a darkened house with one tiny light showing in the gloom. The title is in white fading to dark red and the whole piece just screams murder. Perfect for this outstanding story within.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644051368
Edition Language English

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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