Monday, October 14, 2019

Conspiracy Theory by Elle Keaton Blog Tour

Years of grueling police work have left Niall Hamarsson jaded and disillusioned with life… although it’s likely he’s been that way all along. The last straw lands when the DA refuses to try a case Niall worked for years to bring to justice. Within hours he finds himself heading to the only place he’s ever been able to call home—a place he knows he doesn’t belong.

Mat Dempsey returned to Piedras Island after his father’s death. These days he’s Island County’s sheriff. He’s happy enough, even if moving home from San Francisco effectively forced him back into the closet. Mat’s well-ordered universe collapses when a local’s body is discovered floating in the cold waters of Hidden Harbor’s marina. All hell breaks loose in the community, and accusations fly… all coinciding with Niall Hamarsson’s return.

Niall and Mat have a history, and it’s not one Mat’s proud of. He owes Niall an apology, even if it means getting down on his knees. However, Mat’s first priority is investigating the murder before his community tears itself apart and he may have to ask the aloof Niall Hamarsson for help.

Push apart, pull together, yes or no... The chemistry crackles between them but will the two men be able to put aside their pasts and embrace a future?

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The flow of Conspiracy Theory is wonderful. It meanders along and we spend time with both Mat and Niall individually as they deal with the goings on in Piedras Island in a week that turns out to be much busier than Mat is used to in the cold of February. They are each dealing with different events in their days and it was fun trying to figure out if and how all these things were connected and if they were even connected at all.

During dealing with murder, arson, and random dead sheep, Niall and Mat find themselves repeatedly in each other’s paths. Niall is an emotionally distant man; he does not allow people to get close to him, but Mat is stubborn and persistent in just the right way. He is able to give Niall help when he needs it the most.

Conspiracy Theory is superb and is a contender for my favourite book of 2019. I loved the mystery, the happenings on the island, and the romance that we get a taste of. This story is the sweetest, slow-burn romance I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and it is clear that this is just the beginning. The next instalment of Hamarsson and Dempsey’s story is due out in Spring 2020 (US) and it can’t come fast enough for me.

This is a slow and atmospheric crime story set on an island in the Pacific Northwest. It’s the story of Mat, the island sheriff, and Niall, a Seattle detective who returns to the island when his life in Seattle becomes overwhelming. While Mat is deeply connected to his family and his community, Niall does his best to keep to himself and avoid people. But Niall might be the only person on the island who can help Mat with a spate of crimes across the island.

This book has a melancholic Scandi Noir feel to it. Niall is a perfect Scandi detective – he’s antisocial, borderline alcoholic, and his back story is as dark as gets. The book is as much about Niall, his place on the island, and his history as it is about the crimes Niall helps Mat investigate. Mat is a little bit too much of a chirpy, small town American to fit the Scandi feel to this series, but he balances Niall and provides readers with one character who is easily likeable. The relationship between these two is an intense slow burn and this first book ends with an almost happily for now (HFN). The romance in this book is probably a bit too slow for me and I almost wonder if the story would have worked just as well without a romance storyline.

For a murder mystery, the pace of this story is almost painfully slow. Readers get to know the island’s residents in colourful detail and all of Mat and Niall’s relationships are scrutinised carefully. The story works better when it is observing characters and relationships than it does when trying to build suspense or intrigue. It’s only at the end that readers start to understand the novel’s title. I’m never sure how I feel about cliffhanger series. This first book ties up a few of the mystery threads but it leaves more questions unanswered. Overall, I love the setting for this story and I really enjoyed the characters. I love the sense of atmosphere the writer brings to the book, but I think the series needs a bit more action if I’m going to stay invested to the end.

Oh, and one final note. I read this pre-publication so I'm hoping this copyediting error will be picked up before publication. Niall is from a Norwegian family and he constantly refers to his mother's parents as Mormor and Farmor. This translates as mother's mother and father's mother. It should be Mormor and Morfar. The error occurs over and over and I grew more irritated each time. Urgh.

Author, photographer, rare Pacific Northwest Native, Elle grew up in Seattle, WA., with the Cascade Mountain range to the east and Olympics to the west. Less than two hours northwest lie the majestic San Juan Islands. To the northeast is the Methow Valley and the scrub deserts of Eastern Washington. Geography ripe with material.

A graduate of Western Washington University, Elle has a BS in biology which taught her to be tenacious. The closest she has come to biology since then is having two kids. Like an experiment or something. She’s lived in four states (none of which were gaseous), London England, and Hong Kong; always knows what time it is, and has no problem finding parking even in the most difficult places. Cannot balance a checking account.

Elle's series Accidental Roots, mostly set in the Skagit Valley of Western Washington, will make its debut spring of 2017. Storm Season is tender, sometimes irreverent, full of nosy neighbors and help when the hero didn’t think he needed it. Writing has always been a passion but not something she was able to take seriously until recently. Now her head is full of ideas and not enough time in each day.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Conspiracy Theory (Hamarsson & Dempsey #1) by Elle Keaton to read and review for this tour.

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