Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Monet Murders by Josh Lanyon

All those late night conversations when Sam had maybe a drink too many or Jason was half falling asleep. All those playful, provocative comments about what they’d do when they finally met up again.

Well, here they were.

The last thing Jason West, an ambitious young FBI Special Agent with the Art Crimes Team, wants--or needs--is his uncertain and unacknowledged romantic relationship with irascible legendary Behavioral Analysis Unit Chief Sam Kennedy.

And it’s starting to feel like Sam is not thrilled with the idea either.

But personal feelings must be put aside when Sam requests Jason’s help to catch a deranged killer targeting wealthy, upscale art collectors. A killer whose calling card is a series of grotesque paintings depicting the murders.

Sam and Jason are back!  Their relationship has been months of phone calls and skyping  but then they find themselves once again on a case together and the relationship that Jason believed they were heading towards is not quite the same page that Sam was reading.

As with book #1, The Mermaid Murders, Sam and Jason are still not quite up to the status of Jake and Adrien from the author's Adrien English Mysteries but for this reader they are definitely giving my favorite detecting odd couple a run for the top notch in my heart.  What can I say about the mystery?  Well, I won't say too much because I don't want to give anything away but I will note that my interest was piqued from the very beginning and not once did it falter.  The Monet Murders may be more relationship driven but the mystery is not forgotten.  The passion between the boys that began in The Mermaid Murders only grows with each page, despite Sam ending it before it really has a chance to begin.

Every time a new Josh Lanyon release pops up in my notifications I know that I am in for a treat and I was not disappointed with The Monet Murders.  I am already looking forward to Sam and Jason's next case.


For a time he was occupied in playing shuffleboard with the buses and delivery trucks and taxis clogging the crowded streets, but inevitably his thoughts circled back to the passenger in the seat beside him.

Given how irate Jason had been at being conscripted into Kennedy’s investigation, it was odd that what he mostly felt now was a sense of letdown, even disappointment, that Kennedy would not be returning.

But wasn’t it normal that his feelings should be confused? The situation was just…so strange. All those months. And when they finally did get together…


Worse than nothing. It was like they had never met. Never made lov— Oh, hell no. Not that. Never had sex. That’s what he meant.

His anger faded, leaving him depressed, disheartened. What the hell had happened to change everything? He just couldn’t understand it. He was baffled.

Yeah. Baffled.

The traffic lurched to a sudden standstill. Jason’s phone vibrated. He ignored it. Around them, a few impatient drivers vented their frustration with honks, but the seconds continued to tick by. Pedestrians in every size, shape, and color crowded the sidewalk beside them, darting around the cones and sawhorses and hoses of the workmen tearing up the pavement with jackhammers. The pound of the pneumatic drills was not as loud as the silence stretching between himself and Kennedy.

In disbelief, Jason heard his own voice—hesitant, slightly strained—break the silence.

“Look. Did I…do something?”

“No,” Kennedy said at once. And that was a relief. A relief that Kennedy did him the courtesy of not pretending he didn’t understand. In fact, it was as if he had been sitting there thinking the same thing as Jason. “It isn’t you. It’s nothing you’ve done or didn’t do.”

He didn’t elaborate, though, so Jason—who already felt like he was out on a very flimsy limb—had to stretch still further.

“Because I don’t understand.” Excruciating to have to put this into words. His face felt hot, and his heart was pounding as though this was a high-risk situation. He was not used to it. Not used to…caring so much. It wasn’t that he’d never been turned down before or even been dumped. It always stung, but it hadn’t hurt. Not really. Not like this.

Kennedy didn’t answer immediately, and Jason couldn’t bear the silence.

“Is it the promotion? Are you thinking that I would somehow trade on our friendship? Or that other people might think I was trading on our friendship?”

“No,” Kennedy said, again adamant. “I don’t think that. And I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks.”

So what the hell was it? Because he was not wrong, not imagining things. Kennedy was confirming it was over. But he wasn’t telling him why, and that really was the part Jason needed to understand. They’d talked two weeks ago, and there had been no hint that everything was not…

Was not what?

Okay? Fine? Normal? None of that applied. They’d had a long-distance relationship that was more like phone tag. In other words, they’d had nothing.

And kudos to Kennedy for recognizing that fact and breaking it off.

Although this was more like passive resistance than breaking it off. But whatever. Over. Done. Finito. Let it go, West. It only gets more embarrassing from here.

A couple of excruciatingly long seconds passed while he tried to think of a way to change the subject, scrabble to the solid ground of…anything, for the love of God. How about them Cubs?

The traffic ahead of them crept forward, and Jason eased off the brake, letting the Dodge roll a couple of inches.

Because I care about you, Jason. More than I thought I could.

His eyes blurred.

Jesus Fucking Christ. Was he about to cr—tear up over this? No way. And sure as hell not when Kennedy was sitting right beside him. For God’s sake.

Kennedy said suddenly, “I…like you. Nothing has changed.”

Right. Except everything.

Jason made a sound in the back of his throat that was supposed to be…not what it sounded like. Which made him angry and enabled him to get out a terse, “Right.”

“But it isn’t…practical to try to…” Kennedy was picking words as painstakingly as somebody gathering shards of glass. “It’s not enough to…build on.”

Wow. Maybe he was misremembering, but getting shot three times hadn’t hurt this much. And anyway, what the hell did that mean? It’s not like Jason had been pushing for more. He had accepted Sam’s terms. Not that Sam had really given him terms.

He wanted to say something to the effect of what he had said in Kingsfield: Whatever. It was just supposed to be a fucking date.

But of course it wasn’t just a date. Not anymore. Somehow they had managed to move beyond that never-to-be date to something more. Something deeper. And yet less concrete than even a date.

It made no sense for him to sit here like his heart was breaking when they didn’t even know each other. It was ridiculous. Pathetic.

“It’s okay,” he said flatly. “You’re right.”

He felt Kennedy look at him, but he kept staring straight ahead. He shrugged.

“I should have told you sooner,” Kennedy said. “Made my position clear.” Had it been anyone but Sam Kennedy, Jason would have said there was guilt—regret?—in his tone. “But I like talking to you.”

“Yeah. Well.” He was relieved his voice had steadied again, because inside he was a churning mess of confused emotion. Mostly pain. “I liked talking to you too.”

Neither of them had anything to say after that, and the nearby crush and crash of broken cement filled the distance between them.

The Mermaid Murders #1
Special Agent Jason West is seconded from the FBI Art Crime Team to temporarily partner with disgraced, legendary “manhunter” Sam Kennedy when it appears that Kennedy’s most famous case, the capture and conviction of a serial killer known as The Huntsman, may actually have been a disastrous failure.

The Huntsman is still out there…and the killing has begun again.

Sam Kennedy and Jason West have the potential to be the next Jake Riordan and Adrien English.  I know what you are thinking, "that's one helluva prediction".  Maybe it is, but considering Jake and Adrien are one of the couples I tend to use as a personal rating system when it comes to romantic mysteries, I think it is more than a prediction.  They have the kind of chemistry that ignites your soul to the point that you could care less about the mystery they are actually trying to solve.  Luckily, Sam and Jason don't let that "WOW" feeling get in the way of their job.  The mystery behind The Mermaid Murders may or may not keep you guessing all the way through, that depends on the way your mind works, this reader has been reading/watching murder mysteries since I was 10 years old so very few actually keep my creepy mind stumped.  That right there is what I rate a mystery on, keeping the reader hooked even when they are 99% sure they know who did the deed or deeds and that is why Josh Lanyon's latest thriller is a must read.


Author Bio:
A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews awards for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist.


The Monet Murders #2

The Mermaid Murders #1

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