A MelanieM Review: Slay Ride by Josh Lanyon

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

A wild and dangerous ride takes two lonely men into uncharted territory…

1943 Montana. Returning home to Montana after being wounded in the Pacific, Police Chief Robert Garrett was hoping for a little much needed Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Man. Instead, he finds himself chasing after a cold-blooded killer on Christmas Day aided—whether he likes it or not—by eager young reporter Jamie Jameson.

Jamie has idolized Police Chief Garrett most of his life. Despite a stolen birthday kiss three years earlier, he knows his feelings are unreturned. Even if Rob felt the same, there’s no room in their world for such feelings between men. But while Jamie can accept Robert not sharing his feelings, he won’t put up with being treated like a troublesome kid brother. He too has a job to do and he intends on traveling this bloody and twisted road with Robert Garrett—no matter where it leads.

Slay Ride by Josh Lanyon is a thrilling murderous little ride back into a United States still deep in WWII with all the means to that era.  There’s a small town in Montana swamped with it’s losses of men to the war, deep in grief and winter cold.  There is the references to the enemy, ones we find so offensive now but so common then, the food rationing and the men at home, 4F, or the wounded or other reasons.  Lanyon easily recreates this historical period of depression, loss, anxiety, and uncertainty with accuracy to the times and location.

We are slid next to Police Chief Robert Garrett, getting a feel for the man who suffers physically and emotionally from the war he’s returned from but has never really left behind.  He’s having dinner with a widow of a friend of his, trying to fill a hole at the holidays to big to fill for a family in pain.  And we get that.  He’s saved by a phone call that will jump start the proceedings  for the rest of the story.

There is a crime scene and a reporter, Jamie Jameson.  A young man who has had a crush on Robert for years, definitely not a safe idea in this time and age.

Homosexuality is a crime in this era.  You hide it, dare not have a relationship, so laying the framework for one here is interesting.  And that’s all Lanyon is doing.  This is mosts definitely a very beginning of “something”.  A very fragile HFN story.  How that happens, all the elements that lead up to it really can’t be discussed because they all contain spoilers for this story which is concise in nature.

Once that narrative “spark” happens that sets everything in motion, all characters and the plot are propelled rapidly towards an suspenseful ending, that includes the development of a relationship between Robert and Jamie.  At all happens at “breakneck” speed.

I thought the characters were well developed, Robert a tad more so than Jamie, with his background in the war, and frankly his years on experience as well. Jamie needs more history or page time or something to be Robert’s equal here.

The plot and the killer is not only plausible but chilling.  You truly felt that everyone here was in danger.  My only problem was in how the resolution was reported.  Lanyon showed an newspaper article which contained all the facts of the “showdown”.  The  newspaper was small and gray, with black print.  On my Kindle I couldn’t enlarge the print so I had no idea what it said so I missed out  on that whole “resolution” business.  As will everyone else with eyesight issues.

There was an Epilogue so I gleaned what facts I could about what happened towards the end from that but I still felt as though I had missed so much.  I would imagine this is one case where getting the audio version would eliminate that factor and make this a far better story.

Slay Ride by Josh Lanyon kept with entertained and on my seat.  With the exception of the use of that newspaper article to wrap things up, I thought this was a terrific historic little murder mystery, just the type Lanyon does so well.

Cover art is definitely telling you that this is a murder mystery with that cover.  I approve!

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 127 pages
Published April 29th 2019 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
ASINB07PS1NGGY

A MelanieM Review: Mainly by Moonlight (Bedknobs and Broomsticks #1) by Josh Lanyon

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Rating: 4.25 out of 5

A gay high-society wedding. A stolen book of spells. A love-threatening lie. Can a witch avoid a murder rap without revealing the supernatural truth?

Cosmo Saville guiltily hides a paranormal secret from his soon-to-be husband. Thanks to a powerful love spell, uncertainty threatens his nuptial magic. But when he’s arrested for allegedly killing a longtime rival, he could spend his honeymoon behind bars…

Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith never believed in love until Cosmo came along. Falling head over heels for the elegant antiques dealer is an enchantment he never wants to break. So when all fingers point to Cosmo’s guilt, John races to prove his fiancé’s innocence before they take their vows.

As Cosmo hunts for the real killer among the arcane aristocracy, John warns him to leave it to the police. But with an unseen enemy threatening to expose Cosmo’s true nature, the couple’s blissful future could shatter like a broken charm.

Can Cosmo find the lost grimoire, clear his name, and keep John’s love alive, or will black magic “rune” their wedding bells?

Mainly by Moonlight is the first book in the sexy Bedknobs and Broomsticks romantic gay mystery series. If you like spellbinding suspense, steamy fun, and a dash of paranormal, then you’ll love Josh Lanyon’s charming tale.

It was with fond memories of the 1958 movie Bell, Book and Candle (Kim Novak, Jimmy Stewart) that I dived into Josh Lanyon’s Mainly by Moonlight, the first in Lanyon’s new Bedknobs and Broomsticks series.  With elements that reminded me of that story, I immediately knew this was going to be a wild and bumpy fun ride.  It starts with Cosmo Saville, an engaged antique store owner who is also a witch and heir to the local arcane aristocracy.  The last being a secret to  his fiance’, the mortal Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith.  In fact, that there are witches, warlocks, or any type of arcanes at all is a secret to all mortals and it’s intended that it stays that way.

Something that will be not only awkward but hard to do when John and Cosmo are married, even with Cosmo’s desire to leave most of his magic behind.  And that’s to happen shortly.

Until a murder takes place.  And everything points to Cosmo as the killer.

As the first story in the series, especially one with as many layers as this series looks to have, Lanyon has a lot to do.  That includes two worlds to build. The mundane and the arcane.  The one that John resides in plus the one that Cosmo was born into. Then there the grey middle area that Cosmo straddles trying to keep a foot in each world and not doing it very well.  As he lies to John about what and who he is.  The mundane world and it’s cast with the police station and John’s circle seems relatively easy a foundation to conceive but the arcane is much murkier and larger to behold.  I trust it will grow as the series does, as will our knowledge of the aristocracy that rules it.  All this is shadow and magic, on purpose, by the author because nothing is as simple as it seems.

Especially not a murder with witches involved.

The murder and its investigation is full of twists and suspenseful turns.  Its ramifications will spread into other stories in the trilogy.

I think the characterizations are terrific, although the magical ones feel more complex and intriguing.  All of them,. Somehow the mundane just sort of pale in comparison. It’s hard sometimes for the mortal to compete with the magical.  Cosmo shines just that much more brightly than does the rather stoic John in their relationship, even given the strange particulars which I won’t go into because of potential spoilers. I wanted something deeper between these two and feel that it’s “lack” again is intentional.  I’m waiting for the second book because I’m betting some surprises are in store here.

And did I mention there is a familiar? A cat as well?  Wouldn’t be right without one.

Mainly by Moonlight (Bedknobs and Broomsticks #1) by Josh Lanyon closes the curtain on one murder, mostly, only to open the stage to a much larger investigation.  I won’t say by whom …that’s for the next story to tell.  But there will be more mystery, more murder, more romance, and yes, more relationship issues to come.  And definitely more magic.  I simply can’t wait.

Cover art by Reese Dante:  This comver is simply gorgeous. It suits the character, the tone of the story and draws the eye in. Perfect.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 222 pages
Published August 1st 2019 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
Original Title Mainly by Moonlight
ISBN 139781945802911
Edition Language English
Series Bedknobs and Broomsticks #1

A MelanieM Review:The Ghost Had an Early Check-Out (The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks #2) by Josh Lanyon

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

To live and draw in L.A.

Now living in Los Angeles with former navy SEAL Nick Reno, artist Perry Foster comes to the rescue of elderly and eccentric Horace Daly, the legendary film star of such horror classics as Why Won’t You Die, My Darling?

Horace owns the famous, but now run-down, Hollywood hotel Angels Rest, rumored to be haunted. But as far as Perry can tell, the scariest thing about Angels Rest is the cast of crazy tenants–one of whom seems determined to bring down the final curtain on Horace–and anyone else who gets in the way.

The second in The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks mystery series, The Ghost Had An Early Check-Out  by Josh Lanyon continues with our newly established couple Nick Reno and Perry Foster now living in LA and working on the dynamics of their relationship and living together.  I love how Josh Lanyon writes relationships…relationships of all kinds and then threads them through her stories.  In this case a mystery story.

Nick is sketching an eerie old Hollywood hotel, an architectural wonder or horror depending upon reviewpoint, when he hears screams coming from the hilltop. That begins Nick’s introduction to Horace Daly, wildly eccentric and on the ancient side, it’s his scream that Nick hears and it’s his mystery that Perry (bringing a reluctant Nick) tumbles into.

It starts with Horace, that crazy hotel and its inhabitants, along with all those old horror movie props.  Lovingly if not gleefully described by the author through her characters. If you have ever watched an old Vincent Price or any other horror movie it that ilk, then you will have no problem imagining the movies, the props, and even Horiace in his heyday.  Perry, inhaler in hand, wants to help Horace who is convinced someone is trying to kill him.  Nick wants to watch over Perry on his time home, not happy its at a dusty old hotel with a quirky old actor asking for his boyfriend’s help.

As usual, there is a whole wonderful cast of secondary characters, even a pet alligator named Wally to help or thwart our heroes in their investigation at the hotel and the danger to Horace.   As the plot twists and turns, our couple also continues to work on their own relationship and love affair, the narrative spotlight turning from the mystery to the couple and back again.  It all intermingles effortlessly and the story moves forward quickly.

The Ghost Had an Early Check-Out (The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks #2) by Josh Lanyon is a wonderful mystery romance, full of terrific characters and a complex storyline.  I love this couple and can’t wait to see what ghostly romp they will fall into next.

Cover art works for the type of mystery the novel is about and sets the tone.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Josh Lanyon Website

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 180 pages
Published December 18th 2018 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
Original TitleThe Ghost Had an Early Check-Out
ASINB07HHNDTSZ
Edition Language English
Series The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks #2
setting Los Angeles, California (United States)

A MelanieM Review: Séance on a Summer’s Night by Josh Lanyon

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Theater critic Artemus Bancroft isn’t sure what to expect when his aunt summons him home to California with vague but urgent pleas about being unable to cope with “the situation.”

The situation turns out to be the apparent haunting of Green Lanterns Inn—along with alarming rumors that long-suffering Auntie Halcyone may have murdered her philandering husband.

In fact, the rumors seem to have been started by the late Mr. Hyde himself—from beyond the grave.

Séance on a Summer’s Night by Josh Lanyon is another one of those complicated paranormal romances that Josh Lanyon does so well.  A terrific mixture of mystery, romance,.. and relationships of all sorts that border on the psychologically insane to the secretive to the familial and everything in between and all with a touch of the paranormal.  How I do love how Lanyon throws in those spooky elements!

In this story it’s Artemus Bancroft called back to his childhood home, er mansion, by the aunt who helped raise him.    Auntie Haycyone is clearly in desperate need but why?  Turns out her disposable  and quite dead second  of a philander husband has chosen to haunt said mansion, driving away servants and paying guests.

Not that Artemus is buying into any of this and wonders why his Auntie is and why the estate is in such disrepairs.  And who is that gardener wandering around?

Love the character of Artemus.  Cynical just where he should be, especially of all those crazy guests in residence at the mansion.  Even of his Aunt when her actions start to make no sense.  His is often the only level head of the bunch.  And his investigations proceed accordingly.

This is not a review where you can go into the various characters or much of the plot because other than to say there’s a medium involved that says she talks to the dead, hold seances that make for some dramatic and very entertaining scenes, and that, yes, Auntie Halcyone does seem to firmly believe in her,. Everything and everybody else contains potential spoilers.

I will say while all the main characters don’t carry the usual Lanyon depth, it’s not needed here.  This is a fun, slightly chilling mystery romance romp!  The two men who fall into a romance, one they that establish is HFN and is just realistically getting started, are made for each other.   I would love to know where their romance goes from here. But what I did see of the developing relationship was one that I liked (ok. Their romance moves pretty fast given the circumstances but Lanyon made a good case for that)/

The mystery and several accompanying murders was, as I said entertaining and completely held my interest.  If it still left me with questions at the end after everything had supposedly been resolved….well that accounts for the 4 instead of the 5 rating.  I guess I wanted everything wrapped up a little more neatly, all loose ends gone, which is not exactly the Lanyon way.

Perhaps this isn’t the end of this duo and we will be seeing more of everyone, including Green Mansions and Aunt Halcyone too.  She still has those pesky neighbors to content with.

If you enjoy a fun and entertaining mystery romance, then pick up Séance on a Summer’s Night by Josh Lanyon.  I definitely recommend it to while away those hote summer nights or any night at all.

Cover art for me isn’t a favorite.  Lighted keyhole or crystal ball.  Just blurry enough not to be dramatic.

Sales Links:   Amazon | JustJoshinPublishing

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |iBooks |Smashwords\

Book Details:

ebook, 296 pages
Published January 31st 2019 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc
ISBN139781945802386

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 MelanieM Review: Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

From award-winning male/male author Josh Lanyon: a librarian finds himself in a plot right out of one of his favorite mystery novels

Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can’t pass up a chance to meet his favorite author.

Carter’s roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa’s books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler’s death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there’s anyone on the tour he can trust.

Drawn into the intrigue, Carter searches for answers, trying to fend off his growing attraction toward John. As unexplained tragedies continue, the whole tour must face the fact that there may be a murderer in their midst—but who?

Nothing better than diving into a Josh Lanyon murder mystery!  But I have to admit I have a fondness for librarians going back to my childhood and the endless hours I spent with them and their libraries, no matter what state I was living in at the time.  And of course, there’s that certain librarian  (The Mummy) who stood up and announced with utter confidence in her abilities to handle anything “I am a librarian!”.  As well she should.   As does Josh Lanyon’s intrepid librarian Carter Matheson deal with everything that comes at him, from the expected to the shocking, in this marvelous tale of murder and romance in Murder Takes the High Road.

Carter, you see, is on a trip of a sort I’ve always wanted to take for myself.  So it was easy to slide in next to him, along with the other author and series devotees visiting places important in books written by this author they adored.  However, there’s another huge element here.  Carter’s recent ex, the one he was supposed to be taking the trip with, is also on the tour with the new boyfriend.  The one he wanted Carter’s ticket for, the one that Carter refused to give up and is using now.  So many emotions in turmoil to go along with a long awaited tour that    Carter had been looking forward to.

Of course, Lanyon pours us into Carter’s soul and the  awkwardness and pain of the situation.  She let’s no small agony go passed by and soon we are deeply connected to Carter and the story (and everyone on the tour as well).  Before you can blink, there’s a murder..and mysteries, and a delightful handsome guy for Carter to share room, clues, and maybe just more with.

Yes, I ate this all up.

And at the end, when all the revelations were laid out, all the murderers exposed…I was totally satisfied.  Except that of course as with all of Josh Lanyon’s couples…I wanted more. Of them and more stories.  Can’t be helped.  It’s just the way of her stories.

So yes, I absolutely recommend Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon.  I loved it.  If you are a fan of murder mystery romances, I will you will too.  If you are a fan of this author, you’ve already read and know what I’m talking about.

Cover art is spectacular.  I just love it.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details: 

ebook
Expected publication: April 23rd 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleMurder Takes the High Road
ISBN139781459293595
Edition LanguageEnglish

A BJ Review: Winter Kill by Josh Lanyon

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Winter Kills coverFBI Special Agent Adam Darling was moving up the ranks until a mishandling of a high profile operation left someone dead and his career on shaky ground. Now he’s working a serial killer case when him and his partner are sent to investigate a body in the little town of Nearby.

Deputy Sheriff Robert Haskell is laid-back, easy going and a bit of a joker, but an efficient and tough cop. When the town Sheriff calls in the FBI on a cold case, Agent Darling comes to town and him and Rob enjoy an unexpected one-night stand before the man goes on his way. Rob doesn’t figure to see the intriguing man again, but when the curator of a Native American museum is murdered several months later, the Sheriff calls in the FBI a second time and asks specifically for Agent Darling. With the body count rising, it soon begins to appear that they may be investigating more than one serial killer—one past and one present.

There are actually two mysteries here going on at the same time, some cold cases from twenty years prior and some a modern killer. Could the killer be one and the same? Or are have two serial killers made the small town of Nearby their hunting ground?

The beginning of the story happens in the past from a POV that is never revisited (for a very good reason), and then we go to the varying POV of the two MC. That initial different point of view, the time jump, and then the other two points of views threw me off a bit, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like this for the first few chapters. But Lanyon’s writing is excellent as always, so I kept going and it paid off. I was soon sucked in.

The plot/mystery is quite complex. There is a lot going on, at one point almost too much, but it was reeled by in nicely. I enjoyed the setting, winter in a small, rural town, because rural is right up my ‘lives in middle of nowhere’ alley. I also enjoy reading stories with Native Americans and their histories and legends. The tough female cop who had instincts sharp enough to pick up on little things that even Rob had been overlooking was an awesome addition to the cast of characters. And the pairing of the laid-back, somewhat argumentative but humorous Rob with the more uptight, by the book, and troubled-by-past-events Adam worked well for me.

As far as the mystery in this book goes, there is no neatly tied up with bow ending. We do get to know who did what, but the motives, whys and wherefores are not fully explained. Some may complain about it not being scrupulously tied up. But I was fine with it. In real life, I tend to think the arresting cops don’t really get to know all that stuff, especially right away and in a scenario such as this set up. The guys don’t collect all the clues and put it all together to solve the mystery. They start to put bits and pieces together, and then WHAM, events explode and the stakes are instantly high. So maybe later when it comes to trail possibly the guys will find out more, but I accept that they wouldn’t know all that and found it to be just realistic

Towards the end, the focus shifted to the romance rather than tidying up all the loose ends and motives of the crime. The case was over, solved. In their past and time to focus on their own life. YES! I’m all in with that. In fact, the ending was my favorite part, and I don’t want to give too much away. However, I will say that I thought it was sad and yet brilliant the way Lanyon began the book with a hopeful man in love who didn’t get his HEA, and then wrapped it up with a hopeful HFN for the main couple.

There were two things that kept this from being a perfect five for me. First off, most of the sex scenes started off fun but ended as fade to black. Why? I wanted more. And second, for the first time in a Lanyon book, I found editing errors. Gasp.

Oh, and one more thing. I want to ask Josh Lanyon to please tell me the ex named Tucker that Adam Darling mentioned without a last name is NOT Elliott’s Tucker! Tucker and Elliott are a favorite couple.

The cover photo at the bottom gives a sense of place, season, cold; and the photo at top is right in your face–a gun sighted straight on you. ‘Go ahead, make my day.’ it seems to say. And this book might do just that.

Sales Links

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iBooks
Smashwords

Book Details:

ebook, 181 pages
Published May 31st 2015 by Just Joshin
original titleWinter Kill
ISBN139781937909277
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.joshlanyon

A MelanieM Review: Fair Chance (All’s Fair #3) by Josh Lanyon

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Elliot Mills comes face-to-face with evil in this follow-up to Fair Game and Fair Play from bestselling author Josh Lanyon  

One final game of cat and mouse… 

Ex–FBI agent Elliot Mills thought he was done with the most brutal case of his career. The Sculptor, the serial killer he spent years hunting, is finally in jail. But Elliot’s hope dies when he learns the murderer wasn’t acting alone. Now everyone is at risk once again—thanks to a madman determined to finish his partner’s gruesome mission.

When the lead agent on the case, Special Agent Tucker Lance, goes missing, Elliot knows it’s the killer at work. After all, abducting the love of his life is the quickest way to hurt him.

The chances of finding Tucker are all but impossible without the help of the Sculptor—but the Sculptor is in no position to talk. Critically injured in a prison fight, he lies comatose and dying while the clock ticks down. Elliot has no choice but to play this killer’s twisted game and hope he can find Tucker in time.

I don’t know if Fair Chance (All’s Fair #3) by Josh Lanyon is the end for one of my favorite couples, Elliot Mills and Tucker Lance, but if it is, Josh Lanyon is sending them off in an magnificent “Bon Voyage” of a story!  Fair Game, the first story, is one novel I still return to when I want one of those comfort read romances, not because of the story line, which is downright horrific and scary but for the couple and the intense relationship and hot sex! That book never gets old.  Fair Play, the second story, was a little more problematic, still great, it dealt with Elliot’s father Roland Mills, his past with a sixties activist group and a missing person.  I love the interchange between Elliot and Roland, Roland and Tucker, and the dynamics between the three are always charged and somehow that book almost destroyed that for me (and them).   At the start of Fair Chance, things are still strained between father and son.

But Fair Chance?  It not only returns to the case and serial killer that made that such a stunning mystery, The Sculptor, but it takes the relationship between Elliot and Tucker and shows us just how far they’ve come from that first story.  The couple has worked on resolving their trust issues, open lines of communication between them and their partnership has evolved into a mature, warm, and deep-hearted strong one.  Still hot, amazingly sexy but now based more more than attraction, need and a love they were afraid to admit to.  All of which makes Tucker’s disappearance even more devastating when it occurs.

As others have  said, damn that blurb!  There are far too many elements given up there.  I wish that one in particular had not been mentioned.  But even with that huge one glaring at you (and a few more as well), Lanyon’s elegant writing, purposeful, elaborate construction of the mysteries and investigation, as well as the ever building suspense keeps one at the edge of both hope and despair along with Elliot.

Roland is present here as a steadying presence for his son just when he needs him the most and Elliot acquires a dog named Sheba, an amazing character in her own right.  All of these things are excellent and I  loved them.  But at the core here is Elliot, Tucker, and their love.  That’s at stake here with Tucker’s disappearance.  We never forget that, not for a moment.  Nor do we forget who Elliot is up against…evil incarnate in the form of the Sculptor and his plans for them both.  It’s a heart-stopping race and I was invested emotionally the entire story, and not just because of my love for this couple, but at the thought of just what was loose on those around them.  What an amazing read!

I highly recommend Fair Chance, along with its predecessors, Fair Game and Fair Play. This whole series is downright addictive as is this couple.  I hope Lanyon is going to continue the series but if she doesn’t she’s given them a powerful sendoff.  I couldn’t ask for more!

Cover art is ok.  I probably wouldn’t be happy with any cover depicting the characters as I have my own ideas of what they look like at any  age.

Sales Links

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iBooks

Book Details:

ebook, 336 pages
Published March 13th 2017 by Carina Press
ISBN139781459293618
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesAll’s Fair #3 settingWashington (United States)

A MelanieM Review: The Monet Murders (The Art of Murder #2) by Josh Lanyon

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

All those late night conversations when Sam had maybe a drink too many or Jason was half falling asleep. All those playful, provocative comments about what they’d do when they finally met up again.

Well, here they were.

The last thing Jason West, an ambitious young FBI Special Agent with the Art Crimes Team, wants–or needs–is his uncertain and unacknowledged romantic relationship with irascible legendary Behavioral Analysis Unit Chief Sam Kennedy.

And it’s starting to feel like Sam is not thrilled with the idea either.

But personal feelings must be put aside when Sam requests Jason’s help to catch a deranged killer targeting wealthy, upscale art collectors. A killer whose calling card is a series of grotesque paintings depicting the murders.

Nothing I love better than diving back into a Josh Lanyon murder romance.  I love the tight writing, the skillfully constructed mysteries and the complex  relationships between the main characters.  It’s never, never an easy romance.  The obstacles between the men are often huge, sometimes or frequently of their own making, and by the end of the story, it can still be a question mark as to if they are together or will stay that way.  On top of dealing with their own issues and that of their personal dynamics, they have their cases and killers to deal with.  It’s just outstanding!

When The Monet Murders story picks up, the conflicted relationship of Jason West and Sam Kennedy, two FBI agents is again in an uncertain stage.  It doesn’t help that FBI Special Agent Jason West’s Art Crimes Unit is in Los Angeles and Sam Kennedy is in Quantico, VA in the Behavioral Analysis Unit as their Chief.  What it takes to bring them together again, at least physically is a murder or three, all starting with a phone call from Sam.

It kicks off with Jason at the special dedication gala of a museum wing for his grandfather.  We get another peek into the prestigious family background and makeup that belongs to Jason West.  More of that will be filled in later as the story progresses.  It’s a call to action and one that Jason eagerly answers as it means that he will be seeing Sam once more.

Lanyon gives us a crime scene under the Santa Monica pier that starts us off on the  Monet Murders and the reunion of Jason and Sam.  Needless to say nothing about that crime scene bodes well for the couple or for the case.  The LAPD called them in but some of the local cops aren’t happy about having the FBI there, it seems to tie in with another case Jason and  Sam are already working, but then again maybe not.  Muddied clues abound as does the relationship (or non relationship) between Jason and Sam.  The stress and tension is vivid, pouring off the page, a testament to the author’s ability to create just the perfect atmosphere for this scene and meeting.

A fake Monet, so poorly painted as  to be garish, ties more murders together.  As the investigation continues and Jason’s case opens up further leads to involve older crimes, I was just completely hooked.  I love the art elements here, and the mysteries (and side stories) were completely fascinating.  Woven in between the various investigations and detective work, is the romance and shaky relationship between Sam and Jason.  As before, the sex scenes between these two are combustible, making it even harder each time Sam pulls away.  How I love these two even as I want to throttle Sam.

There’s a scary island full of graveyards, some terrific action/suspense scenes to have you quaking as you read and enough plot twists and turns to keep the mystery lover satisfied.  The romance too had an ending that I just loved, although this is Josh Lanyon and her characters so you know I want to add a for now here.

The Monet Murders (The Art of Murder #2) by Josh Lanyon is a splendiferous book.  It left this reader satisfied on so many levels, the mystery lover adored the murder mysteries and how the case was solved, the romance lover can’t get enough of this couple, their convoluted relationship and their path to HEA or whatever they are going to end up with.  The Art of Murder series is ranking high on my all time favorites with just two stories so far so I can’t wait to see what book three brings.  I highly recommend them.

Cover by Johanna Ollila.  I like the cover with Monet’s Lilies painting on t-shirt.  Nice.

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 311 pages
Published May 25th 2017 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
ASINB01MYC6ZOZ
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Art of Murder :

A MelanieM Review: Murder Between the Pages by Josh Lanyon

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

murder-between-the-pages-by-josh-lanyonFelix Day, author of the Constantine Sphinx mysteries, and Leonard Fuller, author of the Inspector Fez mysteries, are bitter rivals and the best of enemies. Both happen to present when a notorious author of roman à clef is shot by an invisible assailant during a signing at historic Marlborough Bookstore.

Even if they weren’t both suspects, it’s the perfect opportunity to match wits and sleuthing skills.

If only the murderer was equally amused.

Murder Between the Pages by Josh Lanyon combines so many of my  favorites elements.  You have two main characters who happen to write murder mysteries of the type that were popular in the 40’s (and now, they never go  out of style).  They both have incredible past histories, war experiences that have marked them severely enough that neither feels suited to a “typical” return to normal life after the war.  And of course, you have the murder (sometimes murders) mysteries to be investigated and solved by the end of the story.  Romance too, lets not forget.

All wrapped up in a story that involved snappy dialog, beautifully layered characters, and an historical tone and feel that has the post war era all over it.  I loved  it all, from the author hostilities at the book club over their very similiar detectives to the terms used by gay men to signal their sexuality to each other in the 40’s.  Just so well done.

Of course, Josh Lanyon is a favorite author of mine for exactly the same reasons I loved this story.  Its short but doesn’t feel that way.  Its concise and yet at times, I could slow my reading down and admire the language and descriptions of the men and locations.  There’s my regret of a lost character who came and went too soon.  He was so well written even for one so briefly known, full-flavored and believable.

And then there’s the mystery. It comes with just the right amount of angst and flair for the dramatic.

I adore stories like this, can’t get enough of them.  Luckily I have Josh Lanyon who seems to love writing them as much as I love reading them.  Now I can’t wait for the next one to flow off Lanyon’s pen or what have you.

Cover art is superb.  Love it too.

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 144 pages
Published November 8th 2016 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
ASIN B01K2M0QXG
Edition Language English