Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Review: The Adrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon
Review by Chronic Betty
Relationships can be murder. Bookseller and mystery author Adrien English is looking for love in all the wrong places -- and, according to hot and handsome LAPD detective Jake Riordan, it's liable to get him killed.
A serial killer is stalking gay men, and a tawny-eyed LAPD detective wants bookseller Adrien English in handcuffs -- for all the wrong reasons!
A Dangerous Thing
When his romance goes south, Adrien heads north to the California Motherlode country. Can murder -- and Adrien's favorite LAPD detective -- be far behind?
I love mystery series with a romance that evolves over multiple books, particularly if the romance is complicated. Think Julia Spender-Fleming and Deanna Raybourn. Well, this weekend I found a new author to add to that list- Josh Lanyon.
Adrien English is a gay bookstore owner with a bum ticker and a serious problem. His best friend has been murdered, and he's Suspect #1. Jake Riordan is the hostile, deeply closeted detective who's been assigned to the case. As the bodies start piling up, all Adrien wants is to figure out who the real killer is and clear his name. What Jake wants... is a greater mystery.
These books were phenomenal. I read all five books in the series over the course of three days, and the whole thing has been rolling around in a big ball of goodness in my head ever since. After being that immersed in the series, it's hard to know what to say without spoiling something.
What I can tell you is that the mysteries were exciting and well plotted. The relationship between Adrien and Jake was intense, and it drags you right along with them. Books three and four smashed my heart into a million pieces. Book five slowly put it back together again. The sex is explicit, and hot, but never over done. These are mysteries with strong romantic elements, not erotica. And you may pick up the next book in the series because you're dying to see what's going to happen between Adrien and Jake, but that's never the main focus of the story.
I give the whole series an A. Excellent, excellent work. And in case you were all wondering if I've flipped my wig after this mess of a review (wig flipping always being a possibility with me), I've found a few people who agree with me. The fifth book in the series, The Dark Tide, made the American Library Association's 2010 Over the Rainbow List. The third book, The Hell You Say, was the winner of the 2006 USA Book News award for best GLBT fiction. And that's just for this series. There are plenty of other awards for his other work, too.
I borrowed The Adrien English Mysteries 1&2 through the Kindle lending program. Once I finished devouring those, I popped over to Fictionwise and bought the rest of the series. In three days my borrowing period will be up, and I'll have to hop online and buy myself a copy of those first two books, because there's no way I can go without them. One of you will not have that problem, however.
I loved these books so much that I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to put my money where my keyboard is. I'm having a contest! To enter, just comment on this post. Have you read any of Lanyon's stuff? Do you want to? Do you have questions about the series? Any old comment will do. On Friday night I'll close the comments and randomly draw a winner. That winner will get an ebook copy of The Adrien English Mysteries 1&2. That's the first two books in the series. It's available from several different vendors, so I can be flexible to meet your device's needs. There don't appear to be any geographic restrictions for this title on Fictionwise, so it's open to everyone. If you absolutely can't do an ebook, well, the two book collection isn't available in paper. But I'll do my best to get the first book, Fatal Shadows, into your hands.
So go forth and comment! And if you're impatient (like me) and can't wait for the drawing, Fictionwise has a 40% off coupon running now through the 14th. (vday2011) Great books and a great deal!
And I suppose I ought to say, just in case the FCC is one of the handful of people reading this, that no one paid me in anyway to do this. The prize is coming out of my own pocket. I loved this series that much, and I wanted to share it.