Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon

Series: Adrien English Mysteries, book 1

Genre: mystery; m/m mystery/romance

Year of publication: 2007

Rating: ♥♥♥½

Content warning: descriptive sex

Summary: Adrien English owns a used bookstore in Pasadena. When his friend and employee Robert is brutally murdered in a back alley, he finds himself at the center of a police investigation, flanked by manly-man detective Riordan and his partner, detective Chan.

While the police have him pegged as suspect number one, Adrien believes there was more to Robert’s murder than random violence or an angry ex-lover — something to do with him. Realizing he is next on the killer’s to-do list, Adrien must figure out who murdered his friend and why, before it’s too late.

Thoughts: This was a re-read for me. I can’t remember why I read it or how I found it originally, but I remember it was one of my first m/m romances, and among my favorites for a long time. It’s short — probably more of a novella than a novel — and not terribly complex. But it’s witty and clever, fast paced, and in it’s short span manages to create some memorable characters.

Riordan is probably the most flawed character. Not flawed as in badly written; flawed as in he’s deeply conflicted. He’s deep in the closet, and unabashedly homophobic. On the other hand, he seems to have fallen in love with Adrien, which is sweet.

There are things I don’t like about certain characters and about the plot, but I still enjoyed re-reading this book, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun mystery-romance series.