A MelanieM Review:The Monuments Men Murders (The Art of Murder #4) by Josh Lanyon

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Someone is watching. Someone is waiting.

Despite having attracted the attention of a dangerous stalker, Special Agent Jason West is doing his best to keep his mind on his job and off his own troubles.

But his latest case implicates one of the original Monuments Men in the theft and perhaps destruction of part of the world’s cultural heritage–a lost painting by Vermeer. Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander Emerson Harley wasn’t just a World War 2 hero, he was the grandfather Jason grew up idolizing. In fact, Grandpa Harley was a large part of what inspired Jason to join the FBI’s Art Crime Team.

Learning that his legendary grandfather might have turned a blind eye to American GIs “liberating” priceless art treasures at the end of the war is more than disturbing. It’s devastating.

Jason is determined to clear his grandfather’s name, even if that means breaking a few rules and regulations himself–putting him on a collision course with romantic partner BAU Chief Sam Kennedy.

Meanwhile, someone in the shadows is biding his time…

When it comes to men and their romances, Josh Lanyon has managed to write some incredibly complex and psychologically convoluted relationships.   Whether it’s the brilliance of The Adrien English Mysteries and the long twisted road that Adrian English and Jake Riordan took to happiness or perhaps her Holmes & Moriarity  series with its deep levels of mixed ties professional  of authorship and personal relationships intertwined to confuse and befuddle its two main protagonists, you can count on a story that is both haunting and gripping to the end.

So it continues to be with The Art of Murder series and the tortured relationship between Special Agent Jason West and BAU Chief Sam Kennedy.  Always strained by their own past histories and by the long distance between their offices, the latest attack by Jason’s stalker has put additional pressures on Jason’s mentally and emotionally.  He’s missing his partner’s support although he won’t admit it.  The constant threat to his safety is imperiling his health, he’s not sleeping.  And Lanyon makes us feel every second, every minute of West’s anxiety and fear.

For me this series runs neck and neck with Adrian English with its couple and labyrinthine path to any sort of happiness.  And we are only at book four.  Lanyon just demonstrates a consistent excellence in character development, depth of storyline, and overall arc that showcases her prowess as an author.  These are not easy men but hard, articulate, intelligent men in demanding jobs that take them around the country or all over the world in some cases.  It puts them in danger, and has cost them highly in emotional terms. Especially one.    They have hugely different (and by now well known to the readers) back histories that contribute sometimes to their difficulties in their relationship.  Everything they argue about, try to work through is grounded in something authentic and real. So we as readers bleed emotionally with them when they hurt in these times.  And they are many considering who they are and what they are going through.

Which is a series theme with a truly evil stalker for West.  This is one thread that is chilling in more ways than one.  As it’s been playing out, its psychologically physically, and emotionally scary.  After that is a mystery/murder per novel that is enthralling.  Often involving artwork which brings in Jason, then a murder which will involve Sam.  Somewhere all will overlap in a mentally challenging narrative that will have you glued to the page until it’s all done.

Like it did here.  Where it looked to tear my heart out right up to the last sentence.

Where it teetered on the brink of despair and barely brought it back again.  Just barely.  Oh these men.

Stories and series like this are one of the reasons I read   They aren’t easy but they keep you thinking, your mind and heart are always alert for what’s coming next.  And you never see it when it hits you.

So amazing.  Lanyon can’t write them fast enough for me.  I need the next one now.

If you aren’t familiar with this series.  I have listed them all for you below.  Read them in the order they were written.  Then this amazing novel next.  I highly recommend them all for those looking for contemporary romances with adult long paths to happiness and mysteries too.  Trust me, just brilliant.

Cover art works for the storyline and to draw your eye to the book. Great job.

Sales Links:  Amazon | GooglePlay | Kobo

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 199 pages
Published June 30th 2019 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
ASINB07R818GZ9
Edition Language English
Series The Art of Murder #4

The Art of Murder Series

The Mermaid Murders

The Monet Murders

The Magician Murders

The Monuments Men Murders

The Movie-Town Murders winter 2020 smh!

A Free Dreamer Review : Salmon and The Hazel (Rowan Harbor Cycle #8) by Sam Burns

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Jesse’s only priority in life is protecting the people he loves, so he’s determined to see Rowan Harbor’s wards rebuilt. There’s just one problem: they’re missing an ingredient that can’t be ordered online.

Jesse volunteers to search for the missing component in the realm of the fae, but his boyfriend, Sean, isn’t letting him go alone. The town has an enemy among the fae, so they’ll need to keep a low profile. Along their way, they find unexpected allies, surprising enemies, and a whole host of problems.

The journey is a test of their endurance, but also of their relationship and their faith in each other. Can they find what they need and get back home in one piece in time for the summer solstice?

I can’t believe “Salmon and the Hazel” is already the penultimate book of the series. Only one more book to go!

Once again, this book is not a stand-alone, you have the read all the previous books in the right order to fully understand and enjoy them.

I’ve liked Jesse and Sean from the beginning. They’re great together and I really enjoy their dynamic.

This is the first book of the series that isn’t set in Rowan Harbor. Instead, Sean and Jesse go traipsing off into the realm of the fae to find that one crucial ingredient for the warding spell. It was interesting to discover a whole new world, but I would have liked a few more details.

Sean and Jesse really grow as a couple. Or rather, Jesse does, I guess. I really liked how they worked together in this weird and potentially dangerous world. Their adventure was very enjoyable and I loved some of the things the author came up with.

I was happy with their HEA. It was perfect for the two of them and it wasn’t as cheesy as that of Devon and Wade.

Overall, this was once again a thoroughly enjoyable trip to Rowan Harbor. It makes me a little wistful that I won’t get another book with Jesse and Sean.

Cover Design: Melanie Farlow @ Clause & Effect The cover fits with the rest of the series, even if I’m not a huge fan of the overall look.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK – Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Book details: ebook, 146 pages

Published July 4th 2019

Length: 43,000 words approx.

The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series


Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Stag and the Ashe – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Adder and Willow – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6.5 – In Any Light – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 – Eagle In The Hawthorn – Amazon US | Amazon UK