Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Mermaid Murders by Josh Lanyon

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.


Kennedy went through the open square entrance framed between Ionic entablature and columns. A crumbling and weathered frieze offered images of sea creatures which would never have appeared in genuine classical architecture.

Jason followed.

A small entry hall with a boarded-up ticket kiosk opened onto a larger central room. In the wide doorway with its fake and chipped pillars sat an old-fashioned diving helmet perched on a pedestal as though someone had forgotten it on their way out of the lyceum.

Which was probably about right. Rexford had certainly experienced its share of looting and vandalism. The mystery was that it hadn’t been picked to its bones.

And speaking of bones…

“What the hell?” Jason murmured.

The lighter squares and rectangles on the floor spoke to exhibit cases safely removed to new and dryer locations. Embedded within the walls were what was left of four natural-history dioramas that must have been too complicated or too expensive to be relocated. Unfortunately, time, weather, and other predators had all but demolished the cases.

All that remained of the creatures within were bones and feathers scattered across peeling seascapes.

There was a sharp cracking sound as Kennedy put his foot through the floor. “Damn.” He called over his shoulder, “Watch where you’re walking. The floor is rotten in places.”

That was an understatement. In some places the floor was gone or was only represented by a few remaining floorboards. Through the gaps Jason could see only shining darkness. Water?

Their radios gave a burst of static as Gervase requested their status. Kennedy paused to reply, and Jason—his attention caught by an unnatural pattern in the blanket of dust—cautiously continued into the next room.

Were those boot prints? He wasn’t sure.

His nostrils were twitching at new and even stranger scents. Mold and decay and unidentifiable chemicals. Hopefully not some kind of poison gas. At this point, nothing would surprise him.

And a few feet farther on, any hope of confirming his suspicion of footprints was lost. The floor was covered with leaves and twigs and dirt thanks to a giant hole in the roof. In fact, a large tree branch had fallen into the room.

The leaves on the branches were green, so this latest destruction was fairly recent.

He could hear Kennedy talking from across the hall. Jason looked around himself. Not including the giant branch filling the middle of the space, this room was also empty, but the walls were studded with what appeared to be a variety of ferocious-looking jaws. Shark jaws?

All those rows of enormous teeth were disturbing. At least to someone who spent as much time surfing and diving as Jason. Not that he didn’t know he was sharing the ocean, but somehow…

“West?” Kennedy called.

“In here.”

He realized what he had mistaken for a square shadow on the wall was actually another doorway. Or, more exactly, the square entrance into what appeared to be a small antechamber. Jason walked toward it.

The sickly smell of decay and rot were much stronger in this part of the building. His stomach churned with a mix of unease and distaste.

Without the flood of natural light supplied by the giant hole in the roof, it was harder to see more than a few steps ahead. Jason could just make out what looked like one exhibit case. A long, narrow glass box that reminded him suddenly and unnervingly of a coffin.

He heard Kennedy’s footsteps approaching.

He stepped forward, feeling drawn toward the case, unable to tear his gaze from the dark misshapen thing lying inside on folds of blue material.

He gazed down through the grimy glass. Peered more closely, trying to make sense of what he saw. His heart seemed to stop in his chest.
“Kennedy?” His voice sounded weird. He felt almost light-headed, unable to tear his gaze away.

“What have you got?”

“I don’t…”

It was probably about six feet long. Most of it was tail. A fish tail with scales. The other half appeared to be human, but something terrible had happened to it—to her. Her flesh had been dried and blackened until it had shriveled like leather. It almost had a fuzzy look to it, but maybe that was dust. Though how could that much dust have collected so quickly? Her hair was waist long and coarse, yellow-gray in color, her arms with those strange misshapen hands were outstretched as though she had died in agony, and the expression on her face—could you call those bared jagged teeth and subhuman features a face really?—supported that impression.

“West?” Kennedy said in a very different voice. “What’s the matter?”

“God. God.” Jason threw Kennedy a horrified look. “Is that…”

Kennedy was staring at the contents of the case too. He shook his head. As if he didn’t know, or it wasn’t what Jason thought it was?

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.



Unlawful Attraction Box Set by MS Parker

Title: Unlawful Attraction
Author: MS Parker
Series: Unlawful Attraction #1-5
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: January 17, 2016
I'm not a selfish person. I mean, I'm thrilled that my friends are doing so well with their new jobs and their love lives. I just thought I'd be joining them, at least in the job department, now that I'm working for the DA. Unfortunately, nothing seems to be going like I planned.

Twenty-six year-old Dena Monroe is happy that her friends, Carrie and Krissy, have found love, but she's starting to wonder if that'll ever happen for her. Being a strong, willful woman, she has yet to find a man who can give her what she really needs.

Between work and romance, can Dena find what she's looking for?

Don't miss M.S. Parker's new steamy series that takes us back to Club Privé.

Author Bio:
M.S. Parker is a USA Today Bestselling author and the author of the Erotic Romance series, Club Privè and Chasing Perfection.

Living in Southern California, she enjoys sitting by the pool with her laptop writing on her next spicy romance.

Growing up all she wanted to be was a dancer, actor or author. So far only the latter has come true but M. S. Parker hasn't retired her dancing shoes just yet. She is still waiting for the call for her to appear on Dancing With The Stars.

When M. S. isn't writing, she can usually be found reading- oops, scratch that! She is always writing.


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