Series: All’s Fair, Book 3 Published by: Carina Press on March 13, 2017 Rating: 3stars (★★★☆☆)
Former FBI agent, Elliot Mills, thought he’d left his crime-fighting life behind. But when he fell right into the middle of the path of a serial killer, he found out it wasn’t that simple. And even though the culprit was apprehended, it turns out it’s still not over. The Sculptor may not have been acting alone. And he is all to happy to draw Elliot back into the path of the storm–much to the dismay of his partner, Special Agent Tucker Lance. Danger threatens them both, and it might be the thing that pulls them apart forever. But if they can make it through alive, could it also be the thing that pushes them together once and for all?
I found myself wrestling with this one a little. It was an interesting read, but it felt a bit like trying to hang on to the story of the previous book. At times it felt like a new chapter, and at times it felt like a continuation. And it was a bit more predictable than I’m used to seeing from one of Lanyon’s books. I think part of it is that I was wanting to see the Sculptor behind them with the chance for them to focus on moving forward. Maybe if there’s another book?
[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.]
Series: Holmes & Moriarty, Book 2 Published by: Samhain Publishing on December 28, 2010 Rating: 3stars (★★★☆☆)
Christopher “Kit” Holmes cannot turn down a request to help out his former mentor, Anna Hitchcock. And he certainly wishes he could. But she’s called to ask him to step in and host a writing retreat at her home and he must heed the call. And to do so he must cancel yet another weekend with J.X. Moriarty, his new boyfriend, putting strain on an already tenuous relationship.
But Kit finds his problems are worse than he imagined after he arrives at Anna’s home. The fall that led to her injury and inability to host the event herself–well, it may not have been an accident. Anna suspects someone purposely injured her. And as Kit learns more about the various attendees at the writing retreat, he quickly learns that pretty much everyone around him has some level of motive for being the culprit. And Kit once again becomes an amateur sleuth, trying to find answers and unwittingly putting himself in danger. But will he be able to find out the truth before anyone else is hurt? And will he be able to make up with J.X. when all is said and done?
If you’ve read the first book in this series, you can expect a similar feel and approach in this second installment. Kit wanders unknowingly into a case and falls deep into his quest to solve it. Unexpected twists and turns fall onto his path along the way. And the danger becomes very real to him on more than one occasion. What’s different here is that the ending doesn’t wrap up quite as nicely as the first book. And probably not quite as nicely as most readers would like to see. But just as life is complex and doesn’t always go the way we’d expect or like, I appreciate this approach on some level myself.
Published by: Samhain Publishing on December 1, 2009 Rating: 3stars (★★★☆☆)
James Winter specializes in antiquarian books. Or, well, he used to until a scandal a few years earlier cast doubts on his reputation. So when a rich buyer, Mr. Stephanopoulos, shows up with a lead for James, he’s interested in using it to get back in the game. Mr. S has learned of a previously unpublished Dickens Christmas story, and he’s willing to pay top dollar to get it into his possession. The only rule is that James cannot tell its owner, Sedgwick Crisparkle, that Mr. S is the one who wants to buy the book. Seems easy enough.
Professor Crisparkle is more of a character than James could have imagined. He’s also rather dashing, and he quickly makes his own interest in James known. Despite possibly knowing better, James returns Sedgwick’s affections and they soon find themselves entangled in more than just a business arrangement. But there’s still the matter of closing the sale. And the question of why Mr. S is so insistent that Sedgwick not be made aware of his identity. How can James navigate his growing affection for one client and his business obligations to the other?
If you’re looking for a short(ish), sweet Christmas romance with a few minor hiccups on the path from meeting to falling in love, this is a story for you. It’s entertaining, well-written, and a quick and easy read. A good choice just in time for the holidays.
Series: Holmes & Moriarty, Book 1 Published by: Samhain Publishing on June 16, 2009 Rating: 3stars (★★★☆☆)
Christopher Holmes is a bestselling author who’s seen better days. His mystery series–featuring an elderly woman and her cat–isn’t as popular as it used to be. His agent is encouraging him to think of something new. At her urging, he agrees to attend a writers’ workshop, and he expects it to be uneventful. But when he finds a dead body upon his arrival, he knows it will be no ordinary weekend. Add to it all that J.X. Moriarty, an old one-night stand and fellow author, just happens to be at the same retreat, and Christopher finds himself well over his head.
This is an interesting attempt at the Agatha Christie motif. It’s such a clear reference that it pretty much screams it with the characters referencing the tropes in their discussions. But it doesn’t quite hold the same level of intrigue one can expect from Christie. It also comes across as a bit forced and cliche that a mystery writer happens upon a mystery.
The characters are interesting, though. There are a few twists here to keep readers engaged. And it’s a rather easy read. So this still garners a decent rating and recommendation from me.
Title: Come Unto These Yellow Sands Author: Josh Lanyon Published: June 14, 2011 Pages: 161 Publisher: Samhain Publishing Publisher Website:link Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ Review:
Professor Sebastian Swift finds himself caught up in a murder mystery after one of his students unexpectedly comes to him for help one evening. Not knowing what is going on and wanting to be helpful, he gives the student the keys to his cabin and then confounds the situation when he fails to share this fact with his police chief boyfriend, Max. And as the plot thickens, Swift quickly finds there are more people involved than he might have expected and the whole situation brings him up against his own troubled past which he had been trying to put behind him.
Another good mystery from Josh Lanyon. This was one that I hadn’t really figured out until closer to the end, and those are always my favorite types of mystery to read. There are definitely enough twists to really keep you guessing as a reader. Though there are moments when I felt the pacing was a bit off (things could have moved more quickly), I enjoyed this one.
Title: Fair Play (All’s Fair, Book 2) Author: Josh Lanyon Published: November 10, 2014 Publisher: Carina Press Pages: 250
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Review: Elliot Mills hoped that he’d left his crime-solving life behind after leaving the FBI and becoming a college professor. He was wrong. But surely after he found himself wrapped up in a serial killer case that almost led to his own death, he’s done with all of that. When his father’s house catches fire in the middle of the night and the investigators immediately suspect arson, he Elliot knows he’s deep into it again. But who could want to harm his father? Considering his father’s anti-government antics in his youth, it turns out that list might be longer than Elliot thinks. And with things just starting to settle between Elliot and his former FBI partner turned live-in boyfriend, Tucker, there’s an added layer of complication to Elliot’s attempts to help ensure his father is safe and to keep his relationship on solid footing.
I have to start out by saying that I liked this better than the first installment in the series. In part, I think it helps jumping in when Elliot and Tucker’s relationship is better established and there’s some consistency there between them. I also felt like this one was a bit more plot/story-driven than Fair Game, which made it a bit more suspenseful and engaging. And I love a mystery that can keep me guessing until as close to the reveal as possible – which is something that Fair Play certainly delivers. Fans of Josh Lanyon will definitely love this, but anyone who is interested in a good mystery with a healthy side of M/M romance (and some sexual tension in that relationship) is sure to enjoy it, too.
(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
Title: A Vintage Affair Author: Josh Lanyon Published: June 22, 2010 Publisher: Loose Id Pages: 140
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Review: An old Southern plantation. Wine. Murder. An attractive closeted private investigator. Family drama. Elements that make for a great read. When Austin Gillespie arrived at Ballineen, he certainly didn’t expect an eventful visit, but he definitely ends up with more than he bargained for.
Josh Lanyon is definitely an expert storyteller. He develops very strong characters and creates worlds that almost leave you wondering if there’s more than a hint of truth in the story. This one is no exception. It’s an m/m romance that doesn’t skip or avoid the complicated bits, which I definitely appreciate, but it also delivers everything a romance novel should. Highly recommended.
Title: Mexican Heat Author: Laura Baumbach & Josh Lanyon Publication Date: October 26, 2008
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Review: Gabriel Sandalini is an undercover police officer who has worked hard to infiltrate the Botelli crime family and he knows he’s got to be close to being able to bring them down. After a chance encounter in a club and the realization he might be falling for another drug lord’s right hand, Miguel Ortega, he knows he needs to focus on the task at hand. But when Ortega seems to be falling for him, too, neither of them have any idea how it might all play out.
I hadn’t expected to enjoy this one as much as I did. It started off a bit fast, but it really got into a good groove. I did pick up on a couple of twists before they happened, but I got the sense that was intentional on the part of the authors. I’m excited to pick up the next book to see what happens next…
Title: Fair Game Author: Josh Lanyon Publication Date: August 1, 2010
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ Review: I’m a fan of Josh Lanyon’s murder mysteries. They’re always well-written, engaging, and have just enough twists to keep me guessing. Fair Game is certainly no exception. The characters are dynamic and the world they live in is made very real. I found myself enjoying this one, even during those few moments when I wanted to say ‘okay, maybe this is a bit more out there than the story needed to go’ in terms of realism. I’d recommend picking it up.
I always appreciate stories set in real settings when the author truly does their research and lets it show in the writing. But I’m a bit thrown when there’s a miss like there was in this book. At one point it’s mentioned that Ballard is ten minutes from Seattle – Ballard is actually in Seattle. Small detail but impacted the realism a bit here…
Title: Icecapade Author: Josh Lanyon Publication Date: November 16, 2010
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Review: A short story about thief-turned-novelist Noel Snow who once seduced FBI agent Robert Cuffe before disappearing with the spoils of one of his heists. Snow has gone on to model one of the characters in his book series after Cuffe and, though it’s been years since they’ve seen each other, he still finds himself fascinated with the lawman. So it’s with a bit of a thrill (both excitement and fear) for Snow when Cuffe shows up at his home just before Christmas. Cuffe makes it clear he’s there as part of an investigation and is convinced Snow is guilty – but can Snow prove he wasn’t involved in this recent string of crimes? Can he find a way to get Cuffe to forgive him for what happened years ago (and since)?
A shorter story, but very well-written, which is something I’ve come to expect from Josh Lanyon. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Cuffe and Snow and their exchanges throughout the book make both the tension and the way they both feel about the past really come to life on the page. I definitely give this one a recommendation.