by Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: April 23, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Romance
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
From award-winning male/male author Josh Lanyon: a librarian finds himself in a plot right out of one of his favorite mystery novels
Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can’t pass up a chance to meet his favorite author.
Carter’s roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa’s books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler’s death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there’s anyone on the tour he can trust.
Drawn into the intrigue, Carter searches for answers, trying to fend off his growing attraction toward John. As unexplained tragedies continue, the whole tour must face the fact that there may be a murderer in their midst—but who?
This book is approximately 60,000 words
I haven’t read anything by Josh Lanyon before, but I’m always up for a good romantic murder mystery. While this was heavier on the mystery side than the romance side, I still very much enjoyed it.
“As much as I loved reading about murder and mayhem, I had never kidded myself I’d make a good detective. The extent of my sleuthing ability was finding misfiled books and lost editions.”
Carter is quite possibly the coziest amateur sleuth I’ve ever read about, a complete cinnamon roll hero. He’s a librarian who prefers reading books and gardening to traveling, but this trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet one of his favorite authors. Unfortunately, he booked the trip years ago, before his (now ex) boyfriend cheated on him – and they’re both going on the trip, as well. At least Carter has a room to himself – until a last minute addition to the tour is set to room with him. Luckily, the new guy is hot, single and setting off Carter’s gaydar. If only he wasn’t setting off Carter’s something’s-not-right-o-meter, too!
The entire book happens in less than a week and is entirely from Carter’s POV, so the romance felt a bit rushed. While I definitely felt the chemistry between Carter and John, I was glad their relationship ended on a happily-for-now note rather than a true HEA, just because a week on a tour bus in Scotland didn’t seem like enough to build a relationship on. I’m honestly hoping that this will be the first in a series starting Carter and John, as I really enjoyed Carter’s POV and his approach to solving the mystery.
“I was thinking maybe we should…” Once again, she let it trail.
“We should what?”
“I don’t know. Investigate?”
I gawked at her. “What? Us? How? Why?”
She seemed startled at my response. “Why? Well, because.”
“We’re all mystery buffs, after all. Who better?”
“Police. The local constabulary. The not local constabulary. Scotland Yard. The gamekeeper. The gatekeeper. The keymaster. I don’t know. Pretty much anyone other than us.”
As for the mystery piece, there’s lots of red herrings, so it was fun to pick through and figure out what was important and what wasn’t. If anything, I think I’d complain that it’s all a bit too much – there’s too many things going on and too many secondary characters. There are quite a few people – more than twenty – on the bus tour, and some are developed more than others, so it was easy to figure out who was important to the plot and who wasn’t. There’s an entire subplot with Carter’s ex and his new boyfriend View Spoiler »that I felt wasn’t fully fleshed out – they seemed to be playing a much larger part earlier in the book and then it just fizzled out « Hide Spoiler. I was pleased with the final resolution of the mystery, though, and especially liked the way Carter solved it.
Overall, I very much enjoyed the mixture of romance and mystery, and I’ll definitely be looking up more of the author’s books! Recommended if you like cozy mysteries with a side of librarian romance!