Aubrey Grant lives in the tropical paradise of Old Town, Key West, has a cute cottage, a sweet moped, and a great job managing the historical property of a former sea captain. With his soon-to-be-boyfriend, hotshot FBI agent Jun Tanaka, visiting for a little R&R, not even Aubrey’s narcolepsy can put a damper on their vacation plans.
But a skeleton in a closet of the Smith Family Historical Home throws a wrench into the works. Despite Aubrey and Jun’s attempts to enjoy some time together, the skeleton’s identity drags them into a mystery with origins over a century in the past. They uncover a tale of long-lost treasure, the pirate king it belonged to, and a modern-day murderer who will stop at nothing to find the hidden riches. If a killer on the loose isn’t enough to keep Aubrey out of the mess, it seems even the restless spirit of Captain Smith is warning him away.
The unlikely partnership of a special agent and historian may be exactly what it takes to crack this mystery wide-open and finally put an old Key West tragedy to rest. But while Aubrey tracks down the X that marks the spot, one wrong move could be his last.
FOR CURIOUS readers, Southernmost Murder takes place between the events of book two and three in the Snow & Winter series but can be read entirely as a standalone.
Aubrey Grant enjoys his job of managing the Smith Family Historical Home, property once belonging to former sea captain Thomas Smith. Trying to finish up a few things before his vacation begins and his soon-to-be boyfriend FBI Agent Jun Tanaka arrives, Aubrey stumbles across a skeleton in a newly discovered closet. Just as quickly as the skeleton is discovered it disappears. Soon Aubrey and Jun find themselves in the middle of break-ins, possible theft, and murder. Will their vacation ever happen or will the murderer claim more victims? Who really was Captain Smith and is he still lurking within the walls of his former home?
Southernmost Murder was such a lovely surprise, not because I wasn't expecting a great story but because I wasn't expecting the story in the first place. As I wrote in my reviews for CS Poe's Snow & Winter series, they had completely slipped by my reader radar well so did this one. I only came across it as I was putting together my blog post for Snow & Winter and when I saw Sebastian Snow's friend Aubrey Grant was one of the two main characters I immediately "1-clicked". Aubrey wasn't exactly featured in Snow & Winter, just the occasional phone or skype chat but enough to know he would make an interesting story of his own and low-and-behold here he was smack dab in the middle of his own little mystery.
I won't go into the mystery side of the story too much because as you all know "I don't do spoilers" but I will say I love the blend of historical and contemporary. Like the series Southernmost is a spin-off(my label not the author's) of, Aubrey is what I lovingly call a history nerd so meshing the historical side of his job in Captain Smith's mystery with the contemporary side of Aubrey and Jun's romance as well as the theft and murder they find at their door is perfectly done. You can tell the author has a healthy respect for the past and little known facts which only heightens the enjoyment for me.
Something I failed to mention in my reviews for Snow & Winter was Seb's eye condition well Aubrey has his own health situation in that he is narcoleptic. I'm not dumb or naive, I know these conditions hugely effect a person's life but I found it fascinating how the author showed the reader just how heavily it can impact everyday things that most of us take for granted and CS Poe does this entertainingly without making it seem like a school health class lesson. Being able to make murder and mayhem fun and freaky takes talent and that is exactly what Aubrey and Jun's tale is: freaky, fun, and simply put purely entertaining.
As the author said at the end of the blurb, "Southernmost Murder takes place between the events of book two and three in the Snow & Winter series but can be read entirely as a standalone" and I heartily agree. If you have read and loved Snow & Winter then you definitely want to check out Aubrey & Jun's tale of love and mystery. The same goes for the flip side of the coin, if you loved Southernmost than go back and read Seb & Cal's journey in Snow & Winter. I just want to add that I hope this isn't the last we've seen of Aubrey and Jun because I think Aubrey has found a taste for crime solving just like his buddy Seb and I would love to ride along for whatever mystery falls at his feet.
C.S. Poe is a Lambda Literary and EPIC award finalist author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.
She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited-edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.
She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued two cats—Milo and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.
C.S. is a member of the International Thriller Writers organization.
Her debut novel, The Mystery of Nevermore, was published by DSP Publications, 2016.