Author: Josh Lanyon
Publication Date: May 7, 2012 (second edition)
Page Length: 236 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening.
Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few hours later someone breaks into Adrien’s shop and ransacks it, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself.
Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he is next on the killer’s list.
This book was originally published in 2007, so there’s terminology and such that are a bit dated, and I’ve taken that into account with my rating. Trigger warnings for this book include homophobia (I think biphobia and transphobia as well) and rape/non-consensual sex in the last chapter of this book. It is not between the two love interests in this series, but it does happen, and it is not addressed by the characters (as far as I can tell) at any point in the remaining pages of this book or the beginning chapters of the next.
So, I flew through this book. I love mysteries, but haven’t really read mysteries in a while. And I miss the thrill of the chase. What better than to have a mystery subplot in a romance book? Well, this book is a bit older than the usual contemporaries, so there’s a few things that date it that I definitely don’t think would be acceptable terminology-wise if it were published today. But, there’s also fun things where video rentals are still a thing and the fact that the character rely more on landlines than cellphones in this book. There are some instances too where there’s a lot of British terms in the text even though the book is set in LA. It kind of takes me out of the story, but could possibly be explained away with Adrien having an English mother.
We meet Adrien, the 32-year-old bookstore owner and soon-to-be mystery book author. He’s wakes up to two policemen questioning him about the death of a long-time friend and employee of his, Robert. Robert was found stabbed to death in an alleyway and he had been last seen arguing with Adrien at a bar the night before. Very suddenly, Adrien is a potential suspect and he hasn’t even had his coffee yet.