Every time this book would come up in the suggested list, I wondered if it would be really worth it. But I am glad I decided to pick it up this time. It actually falls into a lot of genres , love-romance-mm-lgbt-mystery-thriller. And I got to say that first ever MM Romance Mystery Thriller that really got me hooked until I completed the set. I have read a couple of others too. But nothing comes close to this series. It got me to complete it this week not withstanding the work schedule which actually drove me to these books in the evening. I am not going in to the story in depth at least related to the thriller and the mystery part of it, because this was a good mystery series. But I do however will give a glimpse of what I liked in the whole series. Warning: Might be a slightly long post.
The story of Mr Adrien-with-a-e English and that of Mr Jake , the cop in LAPD starts with the ‘Fatal Shadows‘ when one of Adrien’s employee-cum-recently out-of-closet gay friend is murdered and apparently the last person to have met him and quarreled with him was Adrien, that too in a public restaurant. Adrien is an out of the closet Gay person who owns a book store called ‘Cloaks and Daggers’, apart from being a part time writer. He is also a person who has arrhythmia and suffers from a less than perfect heart. And Jake does nothing other than suspect him to be the murderer and yet give him some mixed signals which frustrates Adrien. And in his own way, being the Curious George he is, can not resist sleuthing to find out who murdered his friend. And when another of his friend is murdered shortly after he visited him at the dead of the night, he now has to find out the murderer or go behind bars. And for weird reason, Jake , even though is exasperated about Adrien’s involvement, finally helps him out to catch the murderer without a second thought. There is this slight undercurrent that is ever present between Adrien and Jake, but Jake is straight, according to Adrien and yet has been giving mixed signals to Adrien that puts him in the spot, most of the times 🙂
And when they sort of reach an agreement that will be the keep-it-casual sort of people now that Jake saved Adrien during ‘Fatal Shadows’, Adrien just couldn’t resist the kind of frustration with , being too-deeply-in-the-closet and yet doing a little of the BDSM, cop Jake. So he decides to take a break to his ranch house somewhere so far from Jake, and the first thing he sees out there is a corpse of a man shot and that becomes ‘A Dangerous Thing‘. And when he calls the cops in that place, they come back to find that the corpse is missing. Murder seems to be following Adrien and when he sees a huge plot of his land fill with narc plants and a distant group of university students and archaeologists who are doing a digging on ‘his’ land to find a mine, apart from someone trying to scare him off, he loses his peace of mind and finally calls Jake to help him out there. And as usual Jake lands there and they start with the sleuthing to find out who and what is going on around his land and why is that discovery of mine so important to some and scary to others. And there is an attempt on Adrien’s life and things change a lot between Jake and Adrien after that, especially when Jake gets hurt while saving Adrien. Even with his uneven beating heart, Adrien does try to find out who is behind the mining , the deathly encounters, the old folk lore and well the gun shots too.
Once they are back from the Ranch after all those ‘Dangerous Thing’s , Adrien who now becomes a magnet for all things that spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e gets involved in a cult thing which first threatens his store assistant Angus. And by helping him escape for some time from those anonymous calls and threatening messages, Adrien becomes sort of a target, which pisses him off so badly that he says ‘The Hell you Say’. Not to mention his complicated relationship with still-in-the-closet cop Jake who is afraid of the consequences of getting out of the closet, no matter that he is a wonderful cop. But then he cannot give up Adrien too and helps him out as usual when Adrien tries to find out who is behind him for all those weird messages and symbols that keep creeping up him in his store and his life every now and then threatening him , along with a few dead bodies which Adrien feels that Angus is somehow involved because they are cult sacrifices. And there is one killing where Adrien is almost implicated except that Jake makes sure he is out of it, the only time Adrien feels that Jake gives him a wide berth. And even though Jake threatens him to keep out of it, his curiosity gets the better of him and he goes sleuthing only to get introduced to Guy, a professor in cult theories and almost getting killed in the process too. In the love front, Jake announces that he is marrying Kate, because she is pregnant with his child and Adrien’s mother , a widow, decides to remarry thus giving Adrien an extended family with three sisters 🙂 That sort of puts Adrien’s life at cross roads.
‘Death of a Pirate King‘ comes to Adrien because his first book ‘Murder will out’ is being optioned for movies and in a party, a drink that was handed to him to be given to the producer, kills him due to an overdose of the same medicine that Adrien uses for his heart. Which puts him on the spot because Paul Kane, the person who asks him to investigate the rest of the high profile people involved in that incident with the blessings of Jake, is the person who gave him the drink and who is also on the suspect list. But what confuses or rather surprises Adrien is the fact that Paul and Jake are involved and have been for 5 years, according to Paul. Not to mention the heart condition of his getting worse by the day almost leading him to a surgery which he is not keen on getting done sooner. Guy and Adrien are going steady even though things are a little weird for Adrien because Jake seems to be a part of his life in one way or the other. Paul playing games between him and his estranged lover Jake makes things worse for Adrien because the list of suspects gets dwindled even though the police does make an arrest of first the wife of the victim and then a person involved with Paul and the victim at one point of time. But the sleuthing that Adrien does first for Paul and then for himself somehow convinces that something runs deep and when he almost finds out what that is, he becomes the target. And this time after everything else, Jake is the one who comes to his rescue even taking a bullet for him at the end. That sort of triggers the events where Jake leaves his job, comes out of the closet and leaves Adrien to decide on where to go from there.
When Adrien gets his heart valve repaired along with the bullet wound , things proceed in a very slow pace for him, recovering from his heart surgery and not to mention that Jake is trying his level best to be there for him. He is sort of flowing in a ‘Dark Tide‘ where Mel (his first ex) comes back try to invade his life because he is all lonely suddenly but Adrien is still confused as to what he really wants , especially with Jake. But then something happens which gives him a reason to bring Jake closer to him. When Adrien is expanding his store with the building next to his, they dig out a body. Well, it shouldn’t have been any surprise by now that Adrien is a synonym for trouble or rather murders. He gets Jake, a private investigator now, to look into the issue, which actually digs up more past history and more deaths. Joe Stevens , the body of the person whom they dug out has a history to tell which might jeopardize those who are living and who have escaped their previous lives ever since Stevens was buried. Not to mention the hint of a treasure that might also be involved in it. The sleuthing this time along with Jake brings them closer together and Adrien who is coming out of his post surgical stress finds that Jake has been the one who has been there for him through all the thick and thin. Not to mention the drama that happens in his newly extended family. The events that take place at the end breaks down Adrien who does appreciate what they have between them and tries to move on with a new life now with Jake.
That is about the series actually. Even though the way I wrote it might tell you more about the love/romance part of the story but that is only a small part of it. The bigger part is the mystery element and the way they go about solving it. He is not Sherlock , not even a Watson. He is an amateur sleuth who relies mostly on his better thinking and his curiosity. Along with the fact that he has got a rock in the form of Jake to help him out of the tight spots, forever. As a person, Adrien-with-a-e is a very down to earth, simple, yet confused and complicated with respect to relationships person. He is the person who loves his own space and doesn’t want a commitment unless and otherwise it is someone without whom he feels himself half a person. Jake, for his role, is almost in the closet for four books but yet is also a person who is so willing to help out Adrien even if it is just as a friend or a cop or a PI. I should say that the book was so well written that I felt a sort of kinship with Adrien. There were times I really want to give him a slap on his head for being the stupidest person and to put himself on the murderer’s way and sometimes because he is so dense with Jake. I did find Jake a sort of irritating character at times because he was using Adrien, but it was also Adrien’s mistake because he just wanted to take what he could from Jake and also leave the commitment out of it, conveniently. But when Jake was ready to move on, that is when Adrien realizes that he took a few things with Jake for granted, as did Jake earlier. The stories also were very varied. If it was a cult thing in one, it was a movie star murder in the next and then came the historical treasure related murder. Even a century old mine discovery with loads of hidden treasures. And Adrien with almost zero experience (not considering his writing skills as a mystery author) stumbles over the clues and is smart enough to put two and two together when it matters. He is also not beyond asking for help when needed, considering his heart problems. There is no action or bashing or anything extraordinary for a guy with a irregular heart. It was very realistic in nature, the way it was written, as if it was someone you know as a friend or a brother. It may not fall into the romance category unless you consider the small small things that happen between them as romantic (which I do). But as far as Mystery and Thriller goes this was a good read and as a series, gave a variety too. Not to mention the slow and steady growth of a relationship between the two protagonists. I would feel better if this ends here now everyone is in a good place. But if it continues, I will still look forward for Adrien-with-a-e English 🙂