Review: Dead in the Desert by Lou Harper

dead in the desertRating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel


Jon Cooper and Leander Thorne have been roommates for about 10 months, and for the past seven, also officially friends with benefits.  Unofficially there are stronger feelings there, but Jon isn’t ready to open himself up to a relationship.  Despite the fact that he cares for Leander and feels quite protective over him (as well as awfully growly at the idea of Leander with anyone else), Jon’s past loss makes him wary of getting hurt again.  His motto: you can’t lose what you never had.  But that doesn’t stop him from wanting to be with Leander all the time despite himself.

In this second book in the L.A. Paranormal series, the men find themselves once again involved in an investigation using Leander’s psychic abilities. Leander’s specialty is finding lost things — usually pets or missing objects.  But occasionally he is hired (or brought on by the police) to find missing people.  It is much more draining for him, but he enjoys the challenge and the thrill of these more complicated cases, even though Jon gets all overprotective and insists on coming along. This time, Leander is hired to locate the missing great-nephew of a man who recently died, leaving the young man his estate.  The case is complicated by the fact that the young man is the son of a convicted serial killer and the killer’s girlfriend (and possible accomplice).

Leander’s psychic skills lead the two men through the desert searching for clues. As they dig into the young man’s past, they uncover more than they expected about the man and his family.  And at the same time, Jon and Leander continue to grow closer and it is clear that things between them are becoming more serious.  But before they can really move things forward, Jon must come to terms with his past to have a future with Leander.

Ah, this book just totally hit the spot for me. A light and sweet story, a clever mystery, and a nice easy feel.  Dead in the Desert reunites us with Jon and Leander who we first met in Dead in L.A.   I loved these guys in the first book and continue to adore them here.  Jon is only a few years older, but definitely comes across as more stuffy and perhaps a bit too on the responsible side.  Jon is a little stodgy, a little grumpy, and super protective over Leander.  Jon is still a little haunted by his past, which is holding him back from letting go completely with Leander.  But he is also sort of adorable in his need to take care of Leander almost despite himself, reminding him to wear sunscreen, making sure he is eating, and otherwise doting. Leander is sweetness to Jon’s more rough edges. He is happy and kind and out to help out others the best he can. I love that opposites attract element here and the two make an adorable pair.

Unlike the first book, Dead in the Desert gives us one long mystery.  I found the investigation interesting and clever and quite well done.  Although the case is not high intensity and drama,we get enough going on to keep things moving and I was definitely engaged in finding out what happened to this poor young man.

The thing I enjoyed most about this book is that I just found it so charming.  Jon and Leander are so likable (even with Jon being a bit of a curmudgeon). It is low on the angst, just a really pleasant and engaging story featuring two likable guys who I wanted to see make it together.  The mystery was complicated enough to be challenging and engrossing, but also not weighed down with too much intensity.  Jon and Leander are lovely together and I enjoyed following their journey as they develop their relationship.  I’d love to see more of these guys for sure.  So if you are in the mood for a light and easy read with a great mix of sweetness and romance, engaging mystery, and great characters, definitely give this one a try.

P.S. This book will stand alone fine, but a lot of Jon’s backstory will be clearer if you read the first book.  They are both relatively short and it is worth picking up both books for sure.

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