Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

From award-winning male/male author Josh Lanyon: a librarian finds himself in a plot right out of one of his favorite mystery novels.

Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can’t pass up a chance to meet his favorite author.

Carter’s roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa’s books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler’s death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there’s anyone on the tour he can trust.

Drawn into the intrigue, Carter searches for answers, trying to fend off his growing attraction toward John. As the unexplained tragedies continue, the whole tour must face the fact that there may be a murderer in their midst—but who?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the story of Carter, an American librarian who joins a coach tour around Scotland with a group of murder mystery superfans. After a lengthy tour, the group finds itself enmeshed in a real life crime story and ultimately stranded in a castle together during a fierce storm.

Carter is a bland but likeable main character. He quickly finds himself caught between a jealous ex and an attractive – if slightly suspicious – roommate. The book is full of relationship dramas and a little bit of insta-love. I liked Carter’s amateur sleuthing, but he feels much older than mid-thirties and I’m not sure we ever really understand why all of the men on the tour seem slightly obsessed with him.

While Carter’s observations of his American travelling companions are entertaining, his observations of Scotland are tired tourist clichés. The romanticised American view of Scotland in this book deprives the story of the depth and grit of my favourite Scottish mysteries by authors like Ian Rankin and Val McDermid.

As far as mysteries go, this is a relatively gentle ride. The characters are white, middle class and range in age from middle aged to elderly. A few slightly younger gay men are thrown into the mix for some added colour. It’s a slow mystery without any gore and a tiny bit of action and suspense at the very end. Most of the story is about the American tour group’s experiences in Scotland and the actual crime element of the book doesn’t come into play until the final quarter of the story.

This story really didn’t hold my attention very well. The American coach tour is as tedious as it sounds, and the staged Scottish cultural experiences are cringe worthy. The actual mystery is over before it really starts and I didn't really engage with any of the characters or their relationships.

Author of over sixty titles of classic male/male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance, Josh Lanyon’s work has been translated into eleven languages. Her FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondadori, then the largest romance publisher in Italy. Stranger on the Shore (HarperCollins Italia) was the first male/male title to be published in print. In 2016, Fatal Shadows placed #5 in Japan’s annual Boy Love novel list (the first and only title by a foreign author to place on the list). The Adrien English series was awarded the All Time Favorite Couple by the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist (twice for Gay Mystery), and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads All Time Favorite M/M Author award.

Josh is married and lives in Southern California.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon to read and review.

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