Thursday, July 24, 2014

By Josh Lanyon

Fair Game
A crippling knee injury forced Elliot Mills to trade in his FBI badge for dusty chalkboards and bored college students. Now a history professor at Puget Sound university, the former agent has put his old life behind him—but it seems his old life isn't finished with him.

A young man has gone missing from campus—and as a favor to a family friend, Elliot agrees to do a little sniffing around. His investigations bring him face-to-face with his former lover, Tucker Lance, the special agent handling the case.

Things ended badly with Tucker, and neither man is ready to back down on the fight that drove them apart. But they have to figure out a way to move beyond their past and work together as more men go missing and Elliot becomes the target in a killer's obsessive game...

The mystery that seems to land at Elliot's feet, thanks to his dad, really grabbed me and didn't lose my interest all the way through, even as everyone was telling him to drop it.  The chemistry between Elliot and his former lover Tucker just leaps off the pages.  Despite the arguing and cross-purposes, you find yourself rooting for them all the way through, even when you want to sucker punch Tucker or give Elliot a solid shaking, you just know they will be better together.


Come Unto These Yellow Sands
Sometimes the adventure chooses you.

Lover of fine poetry and lousy choose-your-own-adventure novels, Professor Sebastian Swift was once the bad-boy darling of the literati. The only lines he does these days are Browning, Frost and Cummings. Even his relationship with the hot, handsome Wolfe Neck Police Chief Max Prescott is healthy.

When one of his most talented students comes to him bruised and begging for help, Swift hands over the keys to his Orson Island cabin—only to find out that the boy’s father is dead and the police are suspicious. In an instant, the stable life Swift has built for himself hangs on finding the boy and convincing him to give himself up before Max figures out Swift’s involvement in the case.

Max enjoys splitting an infinitive or two with his favorite nutty professor, but he’s not much for sonnets or Shakespeare. He likes being lied to even less. Yet his instincts—and his heart—tell him his lover is being played. Max can forgive lies and deception, but a dangerous enemy may not stop until Swift is heading up his own dead poet’s society.

This story had me from page 1 and as the mystery evolved I was swimming in theories of my own.  Let me tell you, my theories were no where near as intriguing as what Mr. Lanyon brought to us.  I fell in love with the characters and to be honest, I wouldn't mind seeing them reappear in another story down the line.  Bringing the choose-your-own-adventure stories into it really brought back some wonderful childhood reading memories as well.  Another well rounded package of mystery, love, and fun.


The Darkling Thrush
Fed up with his desk duty in the Imperial Arcane Library, book hunter Colin Bliss accepts a private commission to find The Sword’s Shadow, a legendary and dangerous witches’ grimoire. But to find the book, Colin must travel to the remote Western Isles and solve a centuries’ old murder.

It should be nothing more than an academic exercise, so why is dour — and unreasonably sexy — Magister Septimus Marx doing his best to keep Colin from accepting this mission — even going so far as to seduce Colin on their train journey north?

Septimus is not the only problem. Who is the strange fairy woman that keeps appearing at inconvenient times? And who is working behind the scenes with the sinister adventuress Irania Briggs? And why do Colin’s employers at the Museum of the Literary Occult keep accusing Colin of betraying them?

As Colin digs deeper and deeper into the Long Island’s mysterious past, he begins to understand why Septimus is willing to stop him at any price — but by then, it’s too late to turn back.

I won't lie, I had a hard time starting this one but by the 3rd chapter, I was hooked.  If you're a fan of paranormal and mystery than you'll love it.  The characters, the mystery, the search for the grimoire all mixed in with Josh's usual well written wit, love, and hotness.  You can't help but love Colin and the idea of who's side Septimus is really on keeps you guessing all the way through.


Snowball in Hell (Doyle & Spain #1)
Los Angeles, 1943
Reporter Nathan Doyle had his reasons to want Phil Arlen dead, but when he sees the man's body pulled from the La Brea tar pit, he knows he'll be the prime suspect. He also knows that his life won't stand up to intense police scrutiny, so he sets out to crack the case himself.

Lieutenant Matthew Spain's official inquiries soon lead him to believe that Nathan knows more than he's saying. But that's not the only reason Matt takes notice of the handsome journalist. Matt's been drawn to men before, but he must hide his true feelings—or risk his entire career.

As Nathan digs deeper, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay one step ahead of Matt Spain—and to deny his intense attraction to him. Nathan's secrets may not include murder, but has his hunt put him right in the path of the real killer?

Amazing!  More! Vintage!  Noir!  These are just some of the words that come to mind when I think of how to describe this book.  The characters are very vintage, intriguing, and burrow their way into your heart.  I don't do spoilers so that's about all I'm going to say other than just WOW! and definitely MORE of Doyle & Spain is needed to be written.


This Rough Magic (A Shot in the Dark #1)
Wealthy San Francisco playboy Brett Sheridan thinks he knows the score when he hires tough guy private eye Neil Patrick Rafferty to find a priceless stolen folio of Shakespeare's The Tempest. Brett's convinced his partner-in-crime sister is behind the theft -- a theft that's liable to bring more scandal to their eccentric family, and cost Brett his marriage to society heiress Juliet Lennox. What Brett doesn't count on is the instant and powerful attraction that flares between him and Rafferty.

Once before, Brett took a chance on loving a man, only to find himself betrayed and broken. This time around there's too much at risk. But as the Bard himself would say, Journey's end in lovers meeting.

Once again, I don't know what to say about this story other than I loved it.  I fell in love with private eye Rafferty and his tough guy exterior instantly.  And couldn't help but feel for Brett, considering his past and situation.  The fact that they are complete opposites and yet fit perfectly speaks to the author's  love of the written word and his ability to wrangle up a damn fine story.


The Haunted Heart:  Winter
Still grieving over the sudden death of his lover, antiques dealer Flynn Ambrose moves to the old, ramshackle house on Pitch Pine Lane to catalog and sell the large inventory of arcane and oddball items that once filled his late uncle's mysterious museum.

But not all the items are that easy to catalog -- or get rid of.

There was just the right amount of mystery, paranormal, humor, and romance to make this story almost perfect.  The only flaw I found was I wished it was longer because I wasn't ready to let go of Flynn & Kirk when I found myself looking at the last page.


The Dark Farewell
Don t talk to strangers, young man especially the dead ones.

It s the Roaring Twenties. Skirts are short, crime is rampant and booze is in short supply. Prohibition has hit Little Egypt, where newspaperman David Flynn has come to do a follow-up story on the Herren Massacre. The massacre isn t the only news in town though. Spiritualist medium Julian Devereux claims to speak to the dead and he charges a pretty penny for it.

Flynn knows a phoney when he sees one, and he s convinced Devereux is as fake as a cigar store Indian. But the reluctant attraction he feels for the deceptively soft, not-his-type Julian is as real as it gets.

Suddenly Julian begins to have authentic, bloodstained visions of a serial killer, and the cynical Mr. Flynn finds himself willing to defend Julian with not only his life, but his body.Warning: This novella contains phony spiritualists, cynical newspapermen, labor disputes, illicit love affairs, high-calorie southern cooking, and more than fifty-percent humidity!

I once again enjoyed the vintage, paranormal behind this mystery.  Passion, skepticism, drama, weariness abounds in this tale.  Once again my only flaw is that it's just not long enough.  Josh Lanyon creates characters and plots that just latch on to my heart, soul, and sets my imagination into overdrive that I just don't want to say goodbye when the last page hits.


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