I received a copy of Fatal Shadows, by Josh Lanyon, through Netgalley.
Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English finds himself the prime suspect when his employee—an old high school buddy (and more)—is found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and public argument the previous evening.
Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions—and when a few hours later someone breaks into Cloak and Dagger Bookstore, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself.
Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he’s next on the killer’s list.
I quite enjoyed this. It’s really more of a mystery with a gay main character than a m/m romance, but I have no complaints on that front. I quite enjoyed the late 90s-ish setting and following Adrien as he pieced the mystery together. I’d picked out the killer early, but learning the how and why was fun.
I said this isn’t a romance, but it did seem as if scaffolding was going into place for a romance to develop in future books. The problem is that the possible love interest was such a jerk in this book. He’d have a lot of ground to make up for in my eyes.
All in all, I look forward to continuing the series.
I came across and claimed an Audible code for a copy of Burned to a Crisp (Gingerbread Hag Mystery #1), K.A. Miltimore. I don’t honestly recall where though.
Hedy Leckenmaul runs a strange little bakery in the sleepy town of Enumclaw, Washington. Her bakery may be bizarre but it is the non-human guests who stay at her home, along with her resident ghost, and her menagerie of talking animals that truly is strange. Hedy hosts a waystation for supernatural travelers and while hosting two such travelers, the town is rocked by an arsonist who is kidnapping women, and pitting the residents of Enumclaw against each other. Hedy and her friends must solve the mystery when one of their own vanishes, leaving them racing to find out who is behind it all before it is too late.
This was pretty good, if not quite to my tastes. It does depend heavily on being quirky and cute, with the main character just being the sweetest lil thing you could imagine. *Insert eye roll.* Maybe it was the way she was voiced, but for all the world she reminded me of Ms. Frizzle, from The Magic School Bus. I’m not so much into the nice-nice protagonists, with their utter lack of grey, which the heroine and all the good guys here are. Despite that I do appreciate that the book is well-structured (though the pace sags in the middle a little), there’s a pleasant little FF side romance, the mystery isn’t blatantly obvious (though not too hard to figure out either), I liked the characters themselves, and the narrator did a fine job. All in all, I might read another Gingerbread Hag Mystery, but I’m in no rush about it.
I borrowed a copy of Arnaldur Indriðason‘s Arctic Chill from the Little Free Library. I was completely thrilled to see a book by an author whose name started with the letter I. I do an alphabet challenge every year and an ‘I’ author is one of the hardest to come up with.
Description from Goodreads:
The Reykjavik police are called on an icy January day to a garden where a body has been found: a young, dark-skinned boy is frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. Erlendur and his team embark on their investigation and soon unearth tensions simmering beneath the surface of Iceland’s outwardly liberal, multicultural society.
In this new extraordinary thriller from Gold Dagger Award winner Arnaldur Indridason, the Reykjavik police are called on an icy January day to a garden where a body has been found: a young, dark-skinned boy is frozen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. Erlendur and his team embark on their investigation and soon unearth tensions simmering beneath the surface of Iceland’s outwardly liberal, multicultural society. Meanwhile, the boy’s murder forces Erlendur to confront the tragedy in his own past. Soon, facts are emerging from the snow-filled darkness that are more chilling even than the Arctic night.
I thought this was interesting in some respects and a little dull in others. Being a book translated from Icelandic, reading the culture from an insider perspective was a treat. So was the atmosphere of the book, all bleak and cold like the environment. Similarly, I felt like (as an American reading an Icelandic book) this isn’t a book an American could write. Certainly we, as a people, struggle with some of the same issues brought up in the book. The immigration arguments could have shown up on any right-wing media outlet here, for example. But the fact that the investigation so quickly and strongly focused on the child’s race would never have passed muster in American fiction, I think. It addresses racism too starkly. Again, interesting.
But at the same time, the vast majority of this book is the detectives going around and asking various people the same questions and getting largely the same answers. It was slow going until a sudden break led to solving the case at the end. All in all, I’d read another Inspector Erlendur book, but I’m not rushing out to do it.