A MelanieM Review: The Hunt by J.M. Dabney & Davidson King

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of  5

Disgraced detective turned private investigator, Ray Clancy, left the force with a case unsolved. Finding the killer was no longer his problem, but it still haunted him. How long would he survive the frustration of not knowing before he gave into the compulsion of his nature to solve the crime?

Server, Andrew Shay, existed where he didn’t feel he belonged, living behind the guise of a costume. Yet it paid the bills, and he refused to complain about the little things in life. One night he returned home from work to find his roommate dead and the killer still there. Afraid and alone, his life spiraled and he didn’t know what to do. Could a detective at his core and a scared young man join forces to bring down the killer in their midst?

When I think of those memorable noir detectives I grew up with (of paper novels and of course film), they have that distinct voice, that precise background that marks them as one of the most complex and compelling characters ever to draw a reader in.  That noir private investigator who usually was once a cop.  Or in this case a Detective.  They are bitter about their fall from the brotherhood in blue, cynical, and just scraping by on the worst of P.I. jobs.  And yes, often haunted by past case or cases.

They are our Sam Spades, Philip Marlowe’s, Mike Hammer’s and more recently Jack Reacher.  They started in novels and spread out into film and other media because they captured something deep in us.  The cynical, partly broken man who still rises up to fight again for an innocent against an evil, or what they perceive to be an innocent against what they perceive to be an evil.  It sometimes gets very messy in noir.  Another reason to love them so.

But those dark, gritty growly voices?  Once heard, they can’t be forgotten.  Those narrators of crimes both mundane and horrendous get under your skin.  They make you want to stay close, fascinated and drawn to them.

Ray Clancy,  framed ex cop joins their ranks, standing out only by his sexuality, something still unacceptable on the force. Here Ray was especially bitter as it had never affected his job, all those years on the force. It wasn’t his sexuality but his iffy background with some suspect criminal ties as kid he had to fight against.

Older, bitter, trying to adjust to his new stature when an innocent seeks his help from a killer of young gay men, a case of his from his days as a Detective.  And with one acceptance, The Hunt is alive!

Authors Dabney and King work several threads here.  One, of course, is the serial killer of all the young gay men and trying to catch him before he strikes again.  There is a revelation here mid story that nicely shakes things up.  Another is the issue of who framed Clancy to get him off the force, and another still of the slowly forming relationship between Ray and Andrew, and what it might mean to them, if they make it through the  case alive.  Always questionable with bodies falling around them.

The writing was wonderfully succinct, sparse in that noir detective way when necessary.  Great twists and turns in the plot, the suspense was a killer, and those scenes towards the end?  Absolutely white knuckle all the way.  I adored it.

I hope to see Ray Clancy hang up his shingle and more cases come his way.  His is a voice you could definitely get addicted to.

 

 

Cover Art:  Morningstar Ashley.  I love this cover.  Dark and mysterious.  Perfect for the story.

Sales LInks:  Amazon  |

Global link: mybook.to/JMDKHunt 

Goodreads:  https://bit.ly/2p7qwug

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 218 pages
Published September 15th 2018 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
ASINB07HD1BH75
Edition Language English

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

Release Blitz for CLOSER by F.E. Feeley Jr. (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Closer

Author:  F.E. Feeley Jr

Publisher:  Beaten Track Publishing

Cover Artist: Emma Bonath

Genre/s:  Gay Fiction, Horror, Urban Fantasy

Length:  118,000 words/346 pages

Release Date: March 1st, 2018

Blurb

Maplewood, Vermont is a picturesque town filled with unique shops, unique homes, and a quaint familiarity all centered around a lake with an unusual history.

Legends, old as well as Urban, float around like the mist that hovers above the lake at break of dawn.

But they’re just stories, right?

Hayden Moore’s life was destroyed when his husband, Malcolm, was murdered. Giving up his job as an assistant district attorney in Boston, Hayden moved to the little burg of Maplewood to recover.

A new life.

A fresh start.

However, something underneath the water is stirring. Something rotten. A deadly secret wakes underneath the black waters of Lake Veronica so disturbing it haunts the nightmares of the local residents.

It’s coming closer…

Buy Links

Amazon US   

Amazon UK

Goodreads 


Excerpt

She had fallen asleep at the side of his bed, her head resting on the back of her chair, and her feet propped up on an ottoman. She awoke to the sound of water running. Audrey let her eyes open slowly, her fatigue surprising her a little. Her son was still asleep in the bed and she checked her watch, it said six thirty. The little bedside lamp was still on and she watched as her son’s chest rise and fall in medicine induced slumber. The water running in the bathroom stirred her and forced her to get up; she noticed steam coming in from under the bathroom door.

Sleep vanished from her mind as she crept slowly to the bathroom door, the hair on the back of her neck and on her arms stood straight up. The door was slightly ajar, and she heard movement inside the bathroom, she stopped. Looking around the bedroom she found her son’s baseball bat in the corner along with a mitt and baseball. Tanner, a friend of Jake’s and a few other guys were on an after-work baseball team, The Hornets. She picked up the bat and held it tight in her hands, she was going to walk straight into the bathroom and beat to death whoever was in the house. She used the bat to push the door open; the mirror over the sink was fogged up with steam. Her heart thudded in her ears as she rounded the corner towards the shower; someone was standing behind the shower curtain, the silhouette of a man. With an unsteady hand she reached for the curtain and jerked it back, raising the bat high above her head. The man, having heard the curtain slide jerked around, soap in his face and screamed, sliding backwards.

“Jesus Christ Audrey!” her ex-husband bellowed, trying to catch his balance.

“Daniel!” she cried out, slumping backwards and settling her behind down on the toilet, breathing hard. She looked up from where she sat, at her naked husband who had lost the extra twenty-five or so pounds that he had gained during their marriage. He was rubbing the soap out of his eyes and rinsing his face cursing and carrying out. She started to laugh and laughed so hard she almost fell off the toilet. She clutched at her midsection as tears rolled down her face.

Daniel stopped cursing and given the awkwardness of the situation chuckled himself.

“If you wanted to see me naked Audrey, all you had to do is ask,” he said, sliding the curtain back closed.

“Oh… Oh, Daniel. You wouldn’t believe the day I’ve had. I thought you were a ghost,” she said. He pulled the curtain back and looked at her strangely. His handsome face lit up in a quizzical way, a few more lines around his eyes than she remembered. His grey hair plastered to his head, but his eyes were as blue as she remembered. She felt a tug deep inside her heart for the slightest second, remembering what could have been, what should have been.

“A ghost huh?” Daniel asked, grabbing for the towel.

“Yeah. Never mind. When did you get here?” she asked as he stepped out of the shower. He had been working out, his shoulders broader and his chest tighter. She kept her back to him as he towel dried off.

“About thirty minutes. The front door was unlocked and Jake and you both were sound asleep. I tried calling on the phone, but you didn’t answer. I was worried something had happened,” he said.

“Yeah. I gave him a Xanax, so he could sleep. You should have seen him Daniel, he was so sick and besides himself. I was afraid he was going to die from grief,” she explained, handing him his underwear and t-shirt from the sink, her back still turned to him.

“Did the police say anything else?” he asked as he slipped into his underwear. He talked to his ex-wife’s back, frowning. She looked great; she always had, if it hadn’t been for that last miscarriage they wouldn’t be apart like this. He wasn’t surprised that she came in at him with a bat; she loved and protected her Jake with fierceness. He wouldn’t ever accuse her of being a bad mother.

“You can turn around now,” he said as he buckled his blue jeans.

She did just that, looking up at him.

“Daniel, you should have seen him,” she said, putting her head in her hands.

“That bad huh?” he asked buttoning a short sleeve golf shirt that his friends bought for him.

“Yeah. I didn’t know he was having an affair with…that woman. I knew he was staying out late, and I knew that he was seen out, but, with her?” She exhaled sharply. Jessica had a bad reputation in town for being a heart-breaker, and then she married the single wealthiest man, a lead accountant for a computer firm, she was labeled a gold digger. Now she was dead, and the law was looking at her son.

“We will take care of this. How about you? How you feeling?” he asked, concern in his voice. She had dark circles under her eyes, and her face looked strained.

“I’m hanging in there. Daniel, how bad can this get?” she asked.

“That depends really. I mean, if he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it. We just must make sure that we can account for where he was and when he left. You said they were at a motel? Good. That means he had to check out at some point,” he said, the gears in his head turning.

“Daniel, there has been some other stuff happening in this area. This makes the third drowning in the past week,” she said, standing up. “He’ll be glad to see you.”

He walked over to her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders and she leaned into him letting him hold her. He let her go and stepped out of the bathroom, taking the baseball bat with him as he went. His son’s light was on above his bed and Daniel stopped dead in his tracks. Standing two feet away from the sleeping boy was a scantily clad woman. She was wearing nothing more than a t-shirt and a pair of panties, but something was wrong, her color was all wrong. Her bare legs were almost blue they were so pale.

“HEY! Get away from him!” he screamed, raising the bat up. The woman spun around, one of her eyeballs had exploded and hung limp on her face, her matted wet hair stuck to her head. Behind him he heard his ex-wife scream.

Daniels muscles bunched up and he leapt forward, bringing the bat up, his instincts taking control. The woman screamed, a gargled disjointed sound, and when the bat hit her square in the head, she exploded. Water sprayed him, soaking the front of his shirt, and their sleeping son, who woke with a start.

“What the fu…Dad?” The bleary eyed and confused son watched in astonishment as he wiped the water off his face. Audrey rounded the side of Daniel and reached for Jake to get up. Daniel turned his head to the open door and saw wet footprints. His body shook, his breathing was labored, and his curiosity piqued. While he left his son and Audrey waiting in the bedroom he followed the trail to its source.

About the Author

Author Bio: F.E.Feeley Jr is a poet and the author of six published works – four full length novels, two short stories featured in anthologies, and a good deal of poetry.

Married to the love of his life, John, he came to the writing world about four years ago where he fell in love, again, with the written word.

Social Media Links  

Blog/Website

Facebook 

Twitter

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of FIVE  books from F.E. Feeley Jr.’s backlist.

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A Lila Release Day Review: Southernmost Murder by C.S. Poe

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Aubrey Grant lives in the tropical paradise of Old Town, Key West, has a cute cottage, a sweet moped, and a great job managing the historical property of a former sea captain. With his soon-to-be-boyfriend, hotshot FBI agent Jun Tanaka, visiting for a little R&R, not even Aubrey’s narcolepsy can put a damper on their vacation plans.

But a skeleton in a closet of the Smith Family Historical Home throws a wrench into the works. Despite Aubrey and Jun’s attempts to enjoy some time together, the skeleton’s identity drags them into a mystery with origins over a century in the past. They uncover a tale of long-lost treasure, the pirate king it belonged to, and a modern-day murderer who will stop at nothing to find the hidden riches. If a killer on the loose isn’t enough to keep Aubrey out of the mess, it seems even the restless spirit of Captain Smith is warning him away.

The unlikely partnership of a special agent and historian may be exactly what it takes to crack this mystery wide-open and finally put an old Key West tragedy to rest. But while Aubrey tracks down the X that marks the spot, one wrong move could be his last.

Southernmost Murder is a perfect mix of mystery, quirky characters, and romance. I was captivated by Aubrey since the very beginning. I remember him from the Snow and Winter series, just like Jun, and I’m glad the author took the time to give these two their own story. It’s not necessary to read the other two books though.

I loved how Aubrey’s narcolepsy was part of him and not a prompt to make him more interesting or create conflict. It’s an integral part of the story and it’s relevant to the plot and the relationship. We get to know all the characters through their actions and each of them had their personalities and backstories.

The book has a solid ‘whodunnit’ plot with many twists and turns. Yes, Aubrey makes several dumb decisions during the story but those don’t take from it. I enjoyed the way the author brings the reader into the setting and the different locations. Together with all the historical facts, items, and side characters.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the romance arc take a central part of the story. Jun’s and Aubrey’s chemistry was intense but their friendship really added to it. I wish we could have seen them together during their courtship, but we get little glances of it. Jun’s POV would have been nice too. The secondary romance is heartbreaking.

Overall, this is a great mystery and love story. I hope to see more about these two and some of the other characters. Perhaps the detective? Adam?

The cover by Reese Dante shows Aubrey and Jun together with some of the elements of the story.

Sale Links: DSPAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 200 pages
Published: January 9, 2018, by DSP Publications
ISBN: 9781640800779
Edition Language: English

Cover Reveal for Jackie Keswick’s Undercover Star (giveaway)

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Release Date: November 22 2017
 
PreOrder: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Add to Goodreads
 
Cover Design: Emma Griffin
 
Length: 41,000 words approx.
 
Blurb
 

It sounds like the stupidest idea in the history of stupid ideas. Detective Inspector Josh Ingram wants to find a deadly medieval locket and through it, a murderer. So why does his boss decide to team him up with Matisse Vervein, a pop idol many consider just a pretty face… and expect the two of them to hunt down an art thief?


Marissa Godwin, Matisse’s no-nonsense manager, isn’t stupid. Neither is her brother-in-law, Detective Superintendent Tim Montgomery. Each is looking out for a lonely man on the verge of quitting what he does best, and both believe that their charges would make a great team.


The attraction sizzling between Josh and Matisse is hard to miss, but there’s plenty of resentment, too. Focussed on pushing Josh and Matisse towards each other, Marissa and Tim haven’t imagined the kind of trouble a music star and a detective can find when they ditch their prejudices and accept that the attraction between them is mutual. Or how far each is prepared to go to prove it to the other.


A standalone, feel-good, action adventure romance set in England and Scotland, featuring a reluctant pop star who’s not out, a detective trying his hand at being a bodyguard, plenty of adventure, and a happy ending.

 
Author Bio
 

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.


Jackie loves stories about unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She has a thing for green eyes, blogs about English history and food, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.


And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.


For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:


Website
Twitter
FB
Newsletter

Giveaway

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A MelanieM Review: Drama Luau (Nicky and Noah Mystery #4) by Joe Cosentino

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Theatre professors and spouses, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are on their honeymoon at a Hawaiian resort, where musclemen in grass skirts are keeling over like waterfalls. Things erupt faster than a volcano when Nicky and Noah, along with their best friends Martin and Ruben, try to stage a luau show. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the grass curtain down on male hula dancers—before things go coconuts for the handsome couple. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fourth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and aloha!

Those LGBT Nick and Nora Charles of the Murder set professors are back in another wonderful madcap murder mystery from Joe Cosentino in Drama Luau (Nicky and Noah Mystery #4).  Newlywed, a set of unforeseen circumstances have led to Nicky and Noah paying for their own honeymoon instead of it being a gift from both sets of parents.  Ever resourceful, Nicky found a resort that gave them a honeymoon  on a beautiful Hawaiian resort, all they have to do is direct the production of male hula dancers on stage.  It’s native dancing ala Vegas style!  What could possibly go wrong?

Well, yes, it is Nicky and Noah, so lots, including the weird murders and mysterious disappearances of the bodies of said hula dancers! Right on stage!  The antics and drama keeps piling up as two Detectives (one male, one female and neither straight) jump into the fray and find true love,  there’s a extreme right wing religious group involved along with the resort owners from hell, a “Bloody Mary” type selling all sorts of disgusting trinkets (really, why doesn’t she sing “Bali Hai”), an adorable poppet, their two close friends from the college and much more.  Yes, the amazing farce is complete!  It’s a laugh out loud romp, with bodies falling,  naughty sexcapades a sizzling, and love a happening everywhere!

As usual, there’s also plenty of heart, with the adorable poppet in need of fathers and a home.  Nicky has some soul searching to do, Noah is way ahead of him here.  Will the two become three and a family by the end of the story?  Hmmmm….that’s one storyline you need to read to find out for yourself.

This is one hilarious series with a heart and it  just keeps getting better.  I can’t imagine what uncharted territory  Cosentino has left?  Wisconsin? Trips to see the parents?  Shakes head. Just the thought leaves me shaking in my shoes.  What would Judy say?  (series reference…read the stories to get it).

I highly recommend them all and please read them in the order they were written for full blown laugh out loud reading pleasure!

Cover art is amazing.  Perfect for the story and eye catching to boot!

Sales Links:

http://myBook.to/DramaLuau

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/711186

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drama-luau-joe-cosentino/1125994872?ean=2940154062050

Book Details:

ebook
Published May 20th 2017 by Joe Cosentino
ISBN139781370559190
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesNicky and Noah Mystery #4

A MelanieM Review: Murder and Mayhem (Murder and Mayhem #1) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Dead women tell no tales.

Former cat burglar Rook Stevens stole many a priceless thing in the past, but he’s never been accused of taking a life—until now. It was one thing to find a former associate inside Potter’s Field, his pop culture memorabilia shop, but quite another to stumble across her dead body.

Detective Dante Montoya thought he’d never see Rook Stevens again—not after his former partner’d falsified evidence to entrap the jewelry thief and Stevens walked off scot-free. So when he tackled a fleeing murder suspect, Dante was shocked to discover the blood-covered man was none other than the thief he’d fought to put in prison and who still made his blood sing.

Rook is determined to shake loose the murder charge against him, even if it means putting distance between him and the rugged Cuban-Mexican detective who brought him down. If one dead con artist wasn’t bad enough, others soon follow, and as the bodies pile up around Rook’s feet, he’s forced to reach out to the last man he’d expect to believe in his innocence—and the only man who’s ever gotten under Rook’s skin.

With Murder and Mayhem, Rhys Ford rolls out another great series and another set of spectacular characters.  With storythreads convoluted as hell, and characters with pasts as twisted and hard to untie as wet sailor knots,  this is a story you just need to dive into and enjoy for the sexy, wild knuckle ride it is.

Starting with the fascinating character of Rook Martin, a high class thief trying to go straight, Rook has a background as startling as any you’ve might have come by.  I could go into it here by why spoil the pleasures that Ford has in store for the reader and Dante Montoya as he investigates Rook Martin’s background and stumbles into one shock after another.

So many pleasures here.  The characterizations are outstanding.  From the Cuban-Mexican detective Dante Montoya and his Uncle Manny, who I adore, his ginger haired partner Harry,  to the almost tangible heat that builds up between Rook and Dante, pulling them closer and closer until it ignites off the page.  And all the while a killer is loose, stalking a prey across the pages.  And the killer’s identity will keep you guessing right up until the reveal.

This is a marvel of a story.  I loved every minute of it.  The writing is smooth, action packed, vivid and everything I would want (and have come to expect from Rhys Ford, a go to author for me).  Grab this up and get reading.  You’re going to love it.

Cover art by Reece Notley is wonderful and works for the character of the detective

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  on sale now for $0.99| Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 236 pages
Published June 5th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
Original TitleMurder and Mayhem
ISBN 1634762231 (ISBN13: 9781634762236)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Murder and Mayhem #1
CharactersRook Stevens, Dante Montoya settingCalifornia (United States)

Literary AwardsLambda Literary Award Nominee for Gay Mystery (2016)

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.

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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

Standard

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 :