my name is Marc and I’m a 23 year old student from Munich, Germany. Brandilyn invited me to share my opinion about the books I read (or listen to as in this case), so you’ll see some introductory stuff in the coming days. I’m really glad to be here and hope you’ll find some books that interest you among my coming reviews. Well, my mom always said there’s no better way to start something new than to jump right in; so before anything else, here’s the review of the two Josh Lanyon audio books I listened to back-to-back to prepare for the release of book 3 in 2014.
- Series: Holmes and Moriarity, Book 1
- Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
- Release Date: 01-21-13
My opinion [mild spoilers ahead]:
I’ve read a few Josh Lanyon books before. The “Adrien English” series, “Dangerous Ground”, “The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks” and “Fair Game”. For me, he is the best mystery writer in the M/M genre. A lot of books include some kind of mystery, but as the focus is mostly on the romance aspect, the mystery often falls short. It is often very clear who the murderer or criminal is, or otherwise, it often doesn’t make any sense when an author chooses someone just because readers wouldn’t expect that person to have done it. This doesn’t always matter to me, if the romance part is done really well and the mystery is not that important for the story. Mary Calmes’ “A Matter Of Time” series is a good example as the mysteries are easy to see through, but I still enjoy the heck out of the novels. There are times, though, when I really want to read a good mystery, even while having a gay main protagonist who doesn’t only have to solve the case, but also figure out his feelings and the relationship.
First off, the narration of both audio books was outstanding. I actually couldn’t finish the audio version of “The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks” and had to buy and read the e-book, because the story was interesting, but the narration didn’t work for me at all. So this is very important and I was glad how great the narration turned out to be.
In many respects, this audio book reminded me of Lanyon’s Adrien English series (and there is even a shout-out to English in this series). Not only are both English and Holmes -this book’s main protagonist- mystery writers, they are both very flawed and therefore very human characters and easy to identify with and to root for. Further, as Adrien is spelled with an “E”, Moriarity -Holmes’ love interest-is spelled with an additional “i”, differentiating him from Sherlock Holmes’ most legendary opponent.
At the beginning of the novel we actually learn that Holmes and Moriarity know each other from the past and had a thing that ended badly, creating tension and mild animosity between the characters. As events force them upon each other, more and more of what happened is revealed as the two can’t avoid dealing with it any longer. Shut off from the world, they have to rely on and trust each other to figure out who is killing off people right under their noses, before they fall victim to the murderer themselves.
I loved how flawed the characters are. When Christopher Holmes is jealous about the success of others, while his book series about an old spinster-granny-sleuth and her clever cat has fallen from the pedestal of success, I get it. I know that he should be happy for others, but I know where his feelings are coming from and it makes him a more real, sympathetic character. I hate it when characters only have a flaw in the beginning to add tension, but loose it after 5 minutes into the book to make them perfect specimens of the human race. Lanyon’s characters always have physical and/or personality flaws and they don’t just magically appear when it’s convenient. It makes the stories much more complex and interesting to me.
Another awesome thing about this book was the ability to get a glimpse at writer profession. Sort of a “Backstage Pass” to see behind the curtains. As y’all probably love to read, you might have wondered what’s behind the publishing of such a work. The setting of this story at a remote writer’s retreat and the inclusion of Holmes’ agent and publisher makes for an interesting read with glimpses of the literary world that I found quite interesting.
The setting in itself was perfect for such a story, by the way. As Germany was ravaged by the storm ‘Xaver’ while I listened to this, it was easy to imagine the devastating effect such a storm would have, closing the writers in with a killer among them with no way out and a terrible storm in the background. The woods that surround the cabin give the whole thing a very old-school feeling.
I also loved that Christopher Holmes figures out that many of the people there look very good for the murder, with great motives that reveal themselves with time as secrets start to be unveiled by clever sleuthing and chance. Even he and his ex-lover are in no way save from scrutiny as everyone wonders who among them has started killing people and who might be next.
All this though is written in a way that is utterly entertaining and the narrator manages to bring out the humor and wit of Christopher Holmes’ observations and comments. Whether the book makes you sit at the edge of your seat, even though you know it’s book one of a series or the clever dialogue and wit make you smile or laugh, the book is extremely well-written and I can highly recommend it 🙂
- Series: Holmes and Moriarity, Book 2
- Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
- Release Date: 03-28-13
Book two of the series doesn’t take the easy way out, but continues the story of the main character in a very realistic way that takes his flaws and personality into account. As the main characters struggle to make their relationship work, Christopher Holmes is drawn into another mystery by his former mentor and friend Anna. She asks him to to teach her upcoming annual winter writing retreat at her estate and do some undercover sleuthing to find out who’s responsible for the recent attacks on her life.
Not only is Christopher (or as his lover J.X. Moriarity lovingly calls him -Kit) putting his relationship on the line to heed Anna’s request, it soon becomes obvious that he may have placed himself in great peril as well.
Again, this book has a wide array of wonderfully flawed characters with interesting and believable motives and it is fun to follow Kit, as he figures out more and more about the characters trying to piece this puzzle together. Again, there is a lot of humor and the many possible suspects keep the reader guessing until the end.
Like the previous book, the writer retreat setting gives glimpses into the literary profession, but from a different point of view. The mystery is very engaging and the book well-written and incredibly entertaining. I was happy that I bought both audio books because I didn’t want to stop and book two certainly didn’t disappoint 😉
In the end, I think this series might rate higher for me than the Adrien English series, because the humor appeals to me very much and the books were very entertaining. While the main protagonist of these series is very similar in many ways, the uber-closeted cop in the Adrien English series is very different than the young ex-cop turned successful writer that is J.X. Moriarity and as a result the romantic dynamic that drives these books are very different.
5 stars *****
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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