Criminal Intentions S1E3 – The Man With the Glass Eye by Cole McCade (audiobook) – Narrated by Curt Bonnem

the man with the glass eye

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Multiple execution-style murders hint at a mob hit, but when Malcolm and Seong-Jae follow the clues, the last thing they expect is a host of very familiar—and very dead—faces. They say dead men tell no tales, but if Malcolm and Seong-Jae can’t even trust the words of the living, they’ll never catch a hit man dead set on burying every trace of an underworld secret . . . along with a few more bodies.

But it’s not just the cold bodies on their minds when a little undercover work sends them to a nightclub once owned by none other than Marion Garvey. Forced to play at being lovers, neither man can ignore the distraction of the very warm body in his arms. To Malcolm, Seong-Jae remains as aloof as ever . . . but what’s really smoldering under that icy mask?

Rating:  Narration – A-; Content – B+

I listened to and reviewed the first two audiobooks in Cole McCade’s addictive Criminal Intentions series when they came out in 2022, but didn’t get around to reviewing the third for some reason – so I thought that with the rest of the series due to release in audio over the next few months, I’d rectify that! A quick recap; Criminal Intentions is a long running series featuring the same central couple (there are twenty-nine books so far with more to come), and is divided up into three ‘seasons’ of thirteen books each. In this first season, each book comprises one case for homicide detectives Malcolm Khalaji and Seong-Jae Yoon, but there’s also an overarching plot across the series, so I really would suggest starting with book one – The Cardigans – if you’re intrigued by this premise. The central romance, the characterisation and character exploration develop throughout, and the scope of the series as a whole means that the author has time to really delve deeply into what makes Malcolm and Seong-Jae tick, to explore how their backgrounds have made them into the people they are today, and also to develop the important recurring characters so that they, too, become people we care about and want to keep tabs on.

As the two leads are homicide detectives, it’s not surprising that there are some disturbing scenes to be found here, and these stories can go to some dark places when considering the motivations of the killers. The first chapter in each book usually depicts the murder to be solved from the PoV of the victim or killer; the author includes a list of warnings at the beginning of each book which can be read using the “Look Inside” feature at Amazon if you want to check anything out.

Okay, so on to the actual book.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Total Creative Control (Creative Types #1) by Joanna Chambers & Sally Malcolm (audiobook) – Narrated by Simon Goldhill

total creative control

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

When fanfic writer Aaron Page landed a temp job with the creator of hit TV show, Leeches, it was only meant to last a week. Three years later, Aaron’s still there….

It could be because he loves the creative challenge. It could be because he’s a huge Leeches fanboy. It’s definitely notbecause of Lewis Hunter, his extremely demanding, staggeringly rude…and breathtakingly gorgeous boss.

Is it?

Lewis Hunter grew up the hard way and fought for everything he’s got. His priority is the show, and personal relationships come a distant second. Besides, who needs romance when you have a steady stream of hot men hopping in and out of your bed?

His only meaningful relationship is with Aaron, his chief confidante and indispensable assistant. And no matter how appealing he finds Aaron’s cute boy-next-door charms, Lewis would never risk their professional partnership just to scratch an itch.

But when Lewis finds himself trapped at a hilariously awful corporate retreat, Aaron is his only friend and ally. As the professional lines between them begin to blur, their simmering attraction starts to sizzle

And they’re both about to get burned.

Rating: Narration – A-; Content – A-

Individually, Joanna Chambers and Sally Malcolm are two of my favourite authors, so I was delighted when, back in 2021, they announced that they were collaborating on a series of contemporary m/m romances set in and around the world of TV production. Total Creative Control is the first book in the Creative Types series, one they’ve described as an “angsty rom-com”, in which a grumpy boss – showrunner of a popular TV show – and his sunshiny PA fall for each other… despite trying very hard not to.

Lewis Hunter is the creator and head writer of the TV series Leeches (an urban fantasy/vampire show), which has been running for three years when the story begins. Lewis is driven, hugely talented and charismatic – but he’s also demanding, brusque, unfiltered and very difficult to work for, so unsurprisingly, his PAs don’t last long. On this particular morning, his most recent one – the latest in a string of temps – has just quit and HR quickly rustles up a replacement in the form of one Aaron Page, who is to work for Lewis for the rest of the week. Aaron is quick on the uptake and not at all fazed by Lewis’ abrupt manner, and he’s also, to Lewis’ surprise and delight, a big fan of Leeches. Lewis has never had anyone working for him who actually knows much about the show, and he suggests that if things work out this week, he can arrange for Aaron to stay until September, when Aaron is due to start the teaching job he’s got lined up. Aaron is very much on board with that idea.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Inevitable Disclosure (Valor and Doyle #4) by Nicky James (audiobook) – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

inevitable disclosure

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Quaid is adrift in MPU. With his partner on extended leave, he’s alone and unsure if he wants to continue working on missing persons cases now that his sister’s case is closed. When the missing teen he’s been seeking for a week turns up dead, it’s the icing on the cake.

Maybe it’s time to explore a different career path.

Aslan and his partner, Torin, take over Quaid’s case, but Quaid can’t help but get involved. He wants justice for the girl. Justice for her grieving family.

Is homicide the career change he’s been looking for?

The trio makes a solid team, and their banter takes the edge off a serious case. Working alongside Aslan again is fantastic. They have found a balance that works, but for as comfortable as they have become as a couple, for as inevitable as their future together seems, something’s missing.

Aslan is ready to take the next step in their relationship, but Quaid needs certain feelings to be disclosed first.

Do actions speak louder than words? Or is there magic in saying I love you?

Rating: Narration – A; Content – A

Note: This is a same-couple series in which the relationship development is ongoing, and there are references to events in earlier books in this review.

Nicky James hits it out of the park again with Inevitable Disclosure, book four in her superb series of romantic mysteries featuring detectives Aslan Doyle and Quaid Valor, who, in this story, end up working together to investigate the murder of a teenaged girl.

With his partner, Eden, on extended leave while she cares for her sick daughter, Quaid has been working solo on the case of seventeen-year-old Saphira Nottingham, who went missing from the parental home after a row with her boyfriend. Saphira has a history of storming off whenever she doesn’t get her own way and has always turned up within the next twenty-four hours or so, but she’s been missing for six days now, and Quaid is starting to think the worst. His suspicions are confirmed when he receives a call telling him that the body of a young woman has been found floating in the creek south of Centennial Park, and he suggests to Aslan that they should both take a ride out there. If the body is Saphira’s and her death wasn’t accidental, then chances are Aslan and his partner Torin Fox will begin a homicide investigation.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

The Jackal’s House (Lancaster’s Luck #2) by Anna Butler (audiobook) – Narrated by Gary Furlong

the jackal's house

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy? Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case. Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed.

What begins as tricks and pranks escalate to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?

Rating: Narration – A; Content – B+

The Jackal’s House is book two in Anna Butler’s Lancaster’s Luck steampunk trilogy featuring aeronaut-turned-coffee-house-owner Rafe Lancaster and his lover, Ned Winter, renowned Aegyptologist and heir to the head of Britain’s most powerful political House. All the things I enjoyed about book one (The Gilded Scarab) – the fabulous worldbuilding and Rafe’s distinctive voice and wonderful sense of irony among them – are all very much in evidence, together with a compelling mystery, well-realised setting and some likeable (and not-so-likeable) well drawn secondary characters.

It’s the summer of 1900 and all Rafe wants to do is make the best coffee in Londinium, spend as much time as he can with the man he loves and keep as far away from house politics as is humanly possible. As a younger son of one of the minor Houses (in this universe, Britain is ruled, under the monarch, by the eight Convocation Houses) Rafe doesn’t have too much trouble doing that; he’s always been something of the black sheep of House Stravaigor, and is happy to keep it that way.

But when he receives an unexpected visit from the Stravaigor himself, it becomes clear that however much Rafe wants to escape the tangled webs of intrigue woven by the Houses, he’s not going to be able to. The Stravaigor is pleasant and surprisingly good-humoured, which only makes Rafe more suspicious as to his motives; and he’s surprised when in the end, all the Stravaigor asks is for him to maintain his friendship with Ned which, given Ned’s status as heir to House Gallowglass, could prove valuable to House Stravaigor. Rafe isn’t pleased that his relationship with Ned is seen as something to be exploited, and his relief at being asked for so little is tempered by the knowledge that that is unlikely to be the end of the matter.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen (The Doomsday Books #1) by K.J. Charles

the secret lives of country gentlemen

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Abandoned by his father, Gareth Inglis grew up lonely, prickly, and used to disappointment. Still, he longs for a connection. When he meets a charming stranger, he falls head over heels—until everything goes wrong and he’s left alone again.

Then Gareth’s father dies, turning the shabby London clerk into Sir Gareth, with a grand house on the remote Romney Marsh and a family he doesn’t know. The Marsh is another world, a strange, empty place notorious for its ruthless gangs of smugglers. And one of them is dangerously familiar…

Joss Doomsday has run the Doomsday smuggling clan since he was a boy. When the new baronet—his old lover—agrees to testify against Joss’s sister, Joss acts fast to stop him. Their reunion is anything but happy, yet after the dust settles, neither can stay away. Soon, all Joss and Gareth want is the chance to be together. But the bleak, bare Marsh holds deadly secrets. And when Gareth finds himself threatened from every side, the gentleman and the smuggler must trust one another not just with their hearts but also with their lives.

Rating: A-

I’ve yet to meet a book by K.J. Charles that I haven’t at the very least liked – or more usually, loved – and her latest title, The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen is no exception. The story is set in and around Romney Marsh in Kent – a fairly desolate part of the country even today and one that from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, was something of a smuggler’s paradise due to its topography, location and isolation. TSLoCG is a fabulous mix of frenemies-to-lovers romance and mystery boasting a wonderfully evoked setting, lots of interesting historical detail and plenty of the wry humour and sharp observation that I so enjoy about the author’s work.

After the death of his wife, Sir Hugo Inglis sent his six-year-old son Gareth to live in London with his uncle. It very much a case of out of sight, out of mind for Sir Hugo, who married again and ignored his son’s pleas to be brought home. Gareth grew up without love and affection, knowing he was unwanted from the moment Henry Inglis made it very clear to his bereaved, exiled nephew that he had taken him in on sufferance and because he was being paid to. Gareth eventually studied law and has worked as his uncle’s clerk for several years, when, completely out of the blue, Inglis dismisses him for no reason. Just two days later, Gareth learns that his father is dead and that he has inherited the baronetcy, his house in Romney Marsh in Kent and a fairly respectable sum of money.

Going through his father’s books and papers, Gareth finds himself intrigued by his collection of books on natural history, maps of the local area and the collection of notebooks in which Sir Hugo made copious notes about the local birds, wildlife, flora and fauna and his particular interest in insects. Gareth has always been interested in natural history and at first thinks that by reading the notebooks, he might learn something about his father… but there’s nothing by way of personal reflection or insight to be found. Still, his own interest is piqued and he begins to explore his surroundings, starting in his own garden and then going further afield and onto the marshes. Out late one night, he stumbles across a string of ponies laden with packs and barrels; realising immediately what this means, he steps back out of sight, but can’t help overhearing voices raised in argument and then seeing a man pull off the cloth covering his companion’s face. Gareth is surprised to recognise the young woman, but before he can think much about it, she barks a command and the train moves on. The next day, Gareth thoughtlessly mentions this in front of his half-sister Cecilia’s beau, a revenue officer; the young woman is arrested and brought for trial, and Gareth, despite not really wanting to rock any boats, is called to give evidence against her.

You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.

Lord of Leaves (Wild Hearts #2) by Nazri Noor (audiobook) – Narrated by Greg Boudreaux

lord of leaves

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

The Blood of the Earth. The Breath of the Wind.

Lochlann Wilde is a true summoner at last, earning his Crest, the admiration of his peers, and a hunky fae prince in one fell swoop. With the headstrong Prince Sylvain at his side, Locke is finally ready to walk in his father’s legendary footsteps.

And to collect his inheritance, too, except for what he finds in the family vault. No one said anything about a fast-talking familiar. They certainly never mentioned a dragon.

But deeper danger awaits. Sylvain and Locke must untangle the twisted curse threatening to strangle all life, first in the Oriel of Earth, and now in the Oriel of Air.

They must face the Withering.

Rating: Narration – A; Content – B

Lord of Leaves, book two in Nazri Noor’s Wild Hearts series of fantasy romances, picks up about a week after the end of Prince of Flowers, and, like its predecessor, is a fun, inventive and light-hearted adventure romp through the magical worlds of the Black Market, the Wispwood and the Verdance in the company of our hero, newly-minted summoner Lochlann Wilde, and Sylvain, the gorgeous fae prince he summoned by accident and then fell for.

When the book begins, Locke and Sylvain are making their way through the Black Market to the Convent of Infinite Sorrow, where Locke is at last going to claim the inheritance left him by his father, Grand Summoner Baylor Wilde. With any luck, said inheritance will be a pile of fabulous riches, and he’s optimistic as he arrives at the convent – which has to be one of the strangest banks in existence and is run by a most unusual order of nuns.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Liar City (Sugar & Vice #1) by Allie Therin

liar cityThis title may be purchased from Amazon

A murder has Seattle on edge, and it falls to a pacifist empath—and a notorious empath hunter—to find the killer before it’s too late.

It’s the middle of the night when part-time police consultant and full-time empath Reece gets an anonymous call warning him that his detective sister needs his help. At an out-of-the-way Seattle marina, he discovers that three people have been butchered—including the author of the country’s strictest anti-empathy bill, which is just days from being passed into law.

Soon, Reece’s caller arrives: a shadowy government agent known as The Dead Man, who is rumored to deal exclusively in cases involving empathy. He immediately takes over the investigation, locking out both local PD and the FBI, but, strangely, keeps Reece by his side.

As the two track an ever-growing trail of violence and destruction across Seattle, Reece must navigate a scared and angry city, an irritating attraction to his mysterious agent companion, and a rising fear that perhaps empaths like him aren’t all flight and no fight after all…

Rating: A-

Allie Therin moves from East to West and from the 1920s to the present day for her new Sugar & Spice series of paranormals set in an AU Seattle. Her début series – Magic in Manhattan – is a clever and imaginative combination of romance and magical adventure set in prohibition-era New York, and I enjoyed it a lot, even though I felt the overarching plot took a while to really hit its stride. But Ms. Therin’s latest release, Liar City, comes strong out of the gate and had me hooked right from the start. The story is an intriguing, fast-paced murder mystery where nothing is quite as it seems, the lines between good and evil are blurred and you’ll find yourself thinking about who the real monsters are and who the victims. It’s a strong start to what promises to be a compelling series, but one thing I have to say right now is don’t go into this book expecting an HEA or HFN, because there isn’t one. Even though it’s published by Carina Adores (an LGBTQ+ romance publisher) and is very clearly labelled as a romance on Amazon, it is NOT a romance in the generally accepted sense. (The two leads don’t even touch deliberately – their one accidental touch knocks one of them unconscious!) That said, this is only the first book in a series and it’s clear the author is setting up a very slooooow-burn.

Reece Davis is one of only two empaths in Seattle. Empaths can read other people’s emotions, but are subject to very strict regulations – such as having to wear special gloves whenever they are out in public, which not only identify them but also prevent them from reading people should they accidentally touch them. Empaths are avowed pacifists who are incredibly sensitive to acts of violence and would allow themselves to be hurt rather than hurt someone else – but despite that they are feared and mistrusted by many, who believe they are a threat to democracy, and this has given rise to conspiracy-theorist lobby groups and think-tanks, companies like Stone Solutions (which develops and manufactures anti-empathy devices), and to a new anti-empath bill designed to strip empaths of basic civil rights.

Reece is battling yet another bout of insomnia when he gets a phone call from an unknown number telling him that his sister, who is a detective with the Seattle PD, has just landed the biggest case of her career and needs his help. When asked, the caller says he’s Evan Grayson – which means nothing to Reece – but if there’s even a chance that Jamey needs him, Reece is going to be there. Detective Briony St. James has been called to the small Orca’s Gate Marina where three people – including a US senator, the originator of the new anti-empathy bill – have been brutally murdered aboard the yacht belonging to Cedric Stone (CEO of Stone Solutions). When Reece arrives, he can see Jamey is more than a bit rattled, and when he tells her who called him, she becomes even moreso, practically marching him towards one of their makeshift tents and instructing him firmly to stay put. The name Evan Grayson clearly means something to her, but she refuses to discuss it, saying only that she’s worried he’s going to show up.

You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.

The Strangest Forms (The Adventures of Holloway Holmes #1) by Gregory Ashe

the strangest forms

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Watson is dead. Holmes is alone. And Jack is desperate.

Sixteen-year-old Jack Moreno is managing to hold his life together. Barely. After a terrible car accident leaves his father unable to work, Jack makes ends meet by dropping out of school and covering his dad’s custodial shifts at a school for troubled teens, high in the Wasatch Mountains. Everything is going all right until the night Jack finds Sarah Watson—yes, descendant of that Watson—dead.

When the icy but intriguing Holloway Holmes—yes, descendant of that Holmes—learns of Watson’s death, he is determined to discover the killer on his own. But Jack and his father are the prime suspects in the official investigation, and Jack refuses to sit by and wait.

In an uneasy alliance with Holmes, Jack must hurry to learn what really happened to Sarah Watson, which means facing down a Moriarty, unearthing secrets and blackmail, and trying to solve the other murder at the Walker School, one that happened more than twenty years before. Working together is the only way Jack and Holmes might find the killer before he catches up with them, but both boys are keeping secrets of their own—secrets that threaten the fragile trust they’ve managed to build between them.

Rating: A-

Having a number of established and ongoing series on the go for the last couple of years means it’s been a while since we’ve had any new characters and situations from Gregory Ashe, but he’s starting 2023 with a bang and a new mystery series featuring a descendant of literature’s most famous detective. The Strangest Forms, book one of The Adventures of Holloway Holmes, is angsty, it’s funny, it’s poignant, it’s clever and it’s compelling – and despite the age of its protagonists, it’s a Gregory Ashe novel in every respect, featuring complex, flawed characters with trauma in their pasts and messy, difficult lives, and an intriguing, twisty mystery that doesn’t pull any punches.

Jack Moreno’s life was upended just over a year earlier, when a terrible car accident killed his mother and left his father with a TBI (traumatic brain injury) which causes mobility and memory issues, migranes and seizures. With his dad often unable to work, Jack dropped out of school so he could cover his custodial shifts at the Walker School for “troubled teens” in the Wasach Mountains of Utah, basically somewhere the wealthy elite dump their rebellious kids and then pretty much forget about them. With bills continually mounting up – a custodian’s salary doesn’t go far – Jack very quickly learned that there’s money to be made by someone who knows how to procure things, from booze, drugs and condoms to manga and gum – and when the book begins, he’s waiting for Sarah Watson to show so he can hand over the five hundred bucks worth of Xanax he’s sourced for her – on credit – and get paid, which is the most important thing if he wants to remain in one piece. Jack’s night goes downhill really fast when he finds Watson’s dead body laid out on top of the black garbage bags in a dumpster.

Jack’s thoughts are a mess – worrying about how he’s going to pay his dealer is, he realises, a shitty thing to do given the dead girl in front of him – but self-preservation is understandably high on Jack’s agenda; he extracts the money she owes him from Watson’s purse, reasoning that he needs it more than she does now. While doing this, Watson’s phone rings and the initials MM light up on the screen, but Jack doesn’t have much time to think about that; making sure he’s left no traces, he makes his way to the custodial office and calls the police.

That may not have been the best idea, it turns out, because the lead detective seems to have it in for Jack, big time. Realising – with shock and a sense of inevitability – that he and his dad are their prime suspects, Jack realises the only way to prove them innocent is to find out who really killed Watson, and for that, he’s going to need help.

Thus is Jack’s uneasy alliance with the icy and aloof Holloway Holmes born. Jack has never had anything to do with Holmes – he knows he’s gorgeous as a Greek statue and scary as hell, and that’s about it – but he hadn’t expected to find him quite so intriguing, and, in spite of himself, wanting to get to know him better.

You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.

Radio Static by Nicky James (audiobook) – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

radio static

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Two single dads. Two headstrong teenagers. One dead body.

A cabin in the middle of nowhere, nature all around, peace and serenity. It was supposed to be a vacation to help Nova reconnect with his son.

But he didn’t expect to fall for his neighbor in the cabin across the lake.

He didn’t expect an erratic and unusual broadcast on a radio station no longer in existence.

And he definitely didn’t expect a dead body in the water.

Mercy likes his mysteries to stay within the pages of his novels. When strange things start to happen at his summer cabin, he and his daughter team up with the man and his son on the other side of the lake to get to the bottom of it. A little amateur sleuthing won’t hurt anyone, right?

Someone out there knows the truth.
Who is the man on the radio?
What does he know?
Mercy and Nova are determined to solve the mystery, but are they willing to risk life and limb for answers? Because someone doesn’t want their secrets revealed.

Rating: Narration – A; Content – B

Nicky James has become one of my favourite authors over the past couple of years, her well-structured stories featuring complex, well-drawn characters and – usually – mid-to-high levels of angst – have made her a must read. Radio Static is a standalone romantic mystery (originally published in 2021) in which two single dads in their forties (together with their teenaged son and daughter) become embroiled in the mystery surrounding a decades-old disappearance. This is very much an amateur sleuth story in which the characters sometimes do things that made me facepalm, but which Jessica Fletcher and her ilk of cosy TV detectives would probably do without batting an eyelid! So it’s worth bearing that that in mind before jumping in – these guys aren’t Valor and Doyle with guns, badges and all their experience of detective work to call on.

Nova Charrette and his sixteen-year-old son, Cooper, are on their way to the remote cabin his family has owned for years by the lake near the small town of Drysdale. Nova hasn’t been there for around twenty-five years, since he was eighteen, but has decided that its remote location with its range of activities (swimming, fishing, hiking etc.) and lack of wifi and mobile connectivity is just the place for him to spend a bit of time reconnecting with Cooper – who lives with his mother – before it’s too late and Cooper heads off to college. Cooper isn’t impressed when Nova tells him there’s no wifi or 4g, and scoffs at the idea that a month without Spotify and Netflix is going to be “fun”. Trying to rally him, Nova suggests he try to find the local music station on the jeep’s radio, but all he can find is a bunch of static – until suddenly, the radio crackles to life and they hear a rough, gravelly voice rambling about the murder, thirty years before, of a young woman named Vivian Malone, and how it’s been covered up. Nova vaguely remembers hearing about Vivian’s disappearance when he was a teen, but nothing more – and wonders if what they’d heard was a talk show or a true crime podcast.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Subway Slayings (Memento Mori #2) by C.S. Poe (audiobook) – Narrated by Kale Williams

subway slayings

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Detective Everett Larkin of New York City’s Cold Case Squad has been on medical leave since catching the serial killer responsible for what the media has dubbed the “Death Mask Murders.” But Larkin hasn’t forgotten that another memento—another death—is waiting to be found.

Summer brings the grisly discovery of human remains in the subway system, but the clues point to one of Larkin’s already-open cases, so he resumes active duty. And when a postmortem photograph, akin to those taken during the Victorian Era, is located at the scene, Larkin requests aid from the most qualified man he knows: Detective Ira Doyle of the Forensic Artists Unit.

An unsolved case that suffered from tunnel vision, as well as the deconstruction of death portraits, leads Larkin and Doyle down a rabbit hole more complex than the tunnels beneath Manhattan. And if this investigation isn’t enough, both are struggling with how to address the growing intimacy between them. Because sometimes, love is more grave than murder.

Rating: Narration – A; Content – A

C.S. Poe’s Subway Slayings was one of my favourite books of last year, a wonderful combination of clever, tightly-plotted mystery and gorgeous slow-burn romance that gave me a book hangover of the very best kind – and now I get to experience the story all over again with the added benefit of a superlative performance from Kale Williams.

Detective Everett Larkin of the Cold Case Squad has been on medical leave to recover from the broken arm he sustained while apprehending the ‘Death Mask Killer’ at the end of Madison Square Murders. It’s the nineteenth of May and exactly fifty-nine days later (Larkin is nothing if not precise!) and one day before he is due to return to work, he’s called to the Fifty-Seventh Street subway station where a dead body has been found, stuffed in a blue IKEA tote bag, inside a utility closet on the platform. He’s a little confused though, as this is clearly a recent death and is surely a case for Homicide rather than Cold Cases – but the reason becomes clear when the CSU hands him an evidence bag containing a photograph of a teenaged girl slumped on one of the platform benches. The girl is wearing clothes that appear to date from the eighties or nineties and she looks to be asleep – or drunk or stoned – and there’s a message scrawled across the back: “Deliver me to Detective Larkin.”

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.