Last Friday I was home for the day. It was a beautiful day of rest and I decided to spend the day relaxing by reading a few of Josh Lanyon's LGBT mystery and/or crime detective stories.
Snowball in Hell (Doyle and Spain, Book 1)
The story is successful on different fronts, the murder mystery is well done with all those small details picked up by the writer and no threads left open ended. Red herrings are used as a device, but nothing is outlandish and everything makes sense in this story. The investigation follows a logical pattern and I liked the way it stayed in the forefront together with the developing relationship between Detective Spain and Doyle.
The relationship between Spain and Doyle is based on mutual attraction, suspicion and fear at first. Doyle seems to "fall" fast and hard for Spain, while Spain on the other hand takes longer to own up to the attraction. Surpringly, although he's a widower and has never had a "relationship" with a man, Spain is also the one with the coolest head. Mr. Lanyon portrays a self-destructive Doyle who can't come to terms with his sexuality and the limitations it places in his life, and whose suffering is heart wrenching in this story. There's no real "resolution" to this relationship in the end, although Mr. Lanyon leaves it on a positive note that I'm sure he'll address in the follow-up books in the series.
Where I thought the novel was less successful was in its portrayal of secondary characters. They are not well defined and felt more like outline drawings that lacked shading and depth. I'm sure there will be further development for the recurring characters in this series and look forward to that. In summary I think this is another solid beginning by Mr. Layon to a series that is rich in atmosphere with a fascinating couple as central characters. Grade B
Dangerous Ground (Dangerous Ground, #1)
The French Have a Word
I continued my marathon by reading the short story, The French Have a Word. A man is in France and meets an old friend who during his young adulthood was his bodyguard. Trust. That's basically what this little short story is all about. Trust and love. This story is very short and not quite as satisfying or complete a read as the rest of Mr. Lanyon's works (short stories) have been for me. Grade C
Slings and Arrows (Petit Morts, #2)
The main character is a young man who is making decisions about his life that don't necessarily mesh with that of his old roommate or friends. His career goals have changed and that unsettles some of his friends. Now the man that he's attracted to is also not one that his friends like either. This man's personality is not overly attractive or easily understood by his peers. I liked the way these characters were portrayed. The youth and the passion, plus the doubts and lack of confidence that go along with that youth, were all captured quite nicely by Mr. Lanyon. Grade B
I had such a wonderful Friday with Mr. Lanyon's books that I picked up a few more on Saturday, but that's another post. :)