A Dangerous Thing by Josh Lanyon

Series: Adrien English Mysteries, book 2

Genre: mystery; m/m mystery/romance

Year of publication: 2007

Rating: ♥♥♥

Summary: A few months after the end of Fatal Shadows, Adrien is maintaining a tenuous, sexually charged friendship with Detective Jake Riordan. Jake’s self-loathing homophobia seems to make a real relationship, not to mention romance, impossible. His mixed signals start to drive Adrien crazy, so when Adrien has the opportunity to flee to his grandmother’s old ranch in Sonora, he takes it.

There he finds a dead body, an acre of pot, a group of archeologists digging on his land without permission, another dead body, and a mystery dating back to the late 1800s.

Jake joins him, and as they unravel the strands of murder, myth, and local legend, their relationship deepens and develops, though neither one of them is sure what its nature or future might be.

Thoughts: A good second installment to the series. The plot was fun (if not incredibly believable), and the supporting cast big enough for a good “who-done-it” atmosphere. Lanyon’s has a talent for building memorable characters in small spaces – sometimes just a few lines. Fun, fast, and witty is how I would describe this book.

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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.

The Bellingham Bloodbath by Gregory Harris

Genre: Mystery

Year of publication: 2014

Rating: ♥♥♥

Summary: Set in Victorian London, one might argue that this book is simply well-written Watson/Holmes slash fiction with minor differences; yet they are different enough, and no one’s trying to deny the similarities, so it works quite well. The main characters are Colin Pendragon, the detective, and his partner in every sense, Ethan Pruitt. The live together in a London flat with their Holmesian house-keeper, Mrs. Behmath. They’re in their thirties, good looking, and clever.

In this story, a member of the Queen’s guard and his wife are brutally murdered, and Colin and Ethan are asked to investigate. In a separate case, a woman’s beloved dog is kidnapped. Colin & Ethan must solve both cases within a very short time — three days — or risk their reputations, as well as any chance of bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Thoughts: It was a fun, light read. At times it felt a bit rushed, but it did take place in the space of only three days, so that might be a symptom of the plot. The characters were well fleshed out, although the mains could have used a bit more thorough treatment, especially regarding their relationship. I didn’t realize this book was the second in the series until after I finished it, so perhaps their relationship is given more prominence in the first story.

I also thought it was strange that the two mysteries didn’t tie together at all. Of course, that’s probably more realistic, and I can’t figure out how a dognapping would be connected to the murder in this case, anyway.

I found the writing competent and promising. It’s possible there are some minor anachronisms — I can’t remember what — but if there were, I think they’re forgivable because of the fun nature of the story. All in all, I enjoyed it. It left me looking forward the to the next installment.