Review: In Plain Sight by Josh Lanyon

in plain sightRating: 5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Short Story


I have always maintained that writing a good short story can be more difficult than a full-length novel.  I say this because the key elements like a developed plot and in-depth characters are often sacrificed so that the small window the author is choosing to write about is kept concise.  It is a rare author who can write a compelling and complete short story.  Josh Lanyon would be one of those “rare” authors.

In Plain Sight is a quick sip of a story that introduces an FBI agent, Nash West, as he travels on site to do a compressed training course for the police officers of the Bear County Lake area.  Neither hiding nor touting his sexuality, Nash nonetheless manages to have a brief but impacting fling with Glen Harlow, an officer on the Montpelier force.  After an awkward goodbye that gives the impression that both men wish they had just a little more time to spend with the other, Nash returns home.  Finally giving in to the strong urge to hear Glen’s voice one more time, he calls and another officer picks up the phone only to inform Nash that Glen has disappeared.  Realizing that his presence will be questioned but not caring, Nash heads back to Montpelier to find Glen.  As hours slip into days, the idea that Nash may have missed that one incredible chance to make Glen more than a fling comes rushing to the fore and Nash becomes determined that he will find Glen, dead or alive.

I find the most fascinating aspect of Lanyon’s storytelling abilities is how he manages to unearth so many details about the way his characters think by having them tell us what they don’t believe in, what they scoff at as impossible or ridiculous.  Slowly this author reveals the very heart and soul of his creations by showing us their inner conflicts, the war they wage with themselves.  Outwardly Nash is cool and collected, professional and determined.  Inwardly he slowly allows his doubts to give way to berating himself for not only failing to get to know Glen better, but also for not trying harder to somehow stick around to see where the relationship could potentially go to, if given time and energy.  Not only does Lanyon use this constant inner dialogue to reveal how Nash thinks and feels, he also gives us a birds-eye view of the kind of person Glen is as seen through his lover’s filter.

And then there is the taut little mystery itself.  This author has the “slow build of suspense and growing sense of intrigue” down to an art form in my opinion.  For such a brief amount of page time, the idea of a “race against time” was weaved into the story so well that I was clutching the kindle in a near death grip by the last few pages.  With phrases like ”Nate’s heart thumped hard with excitement and dread,” the knowledge that the end is upon Nash becomes a startling reality and I found myself wringing my hands in despair that he is just too late to save Glen.  The idea that there is no wasted moment in this author’s work is brought home decisively when reading a story by Josh Lanyon.  Mix that with some of the most sensual romantic interests and you have a heated, sexy mystery that kept me engaged from beginning to end.

As usual, In Plain Sight by Josh Lanyon delivers in spades!  Always too quick whether a short story or full length novel, this author gives us characters and plot that we can sink our teeth into and who delight the senses!  I highly recommend In Plain Sight by Josh Lanyon to you!

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Comments

  1. Great review! I have been a Lanyonphile for nearly two years, have read almost everything Josh Lanyon has written. In Plain Sight is a gem of a short story. As you say, the author creates such a wonderful, suspenseful, life-affirming love story, it left me speechless. Glen’s and Nash’s story is so precious, so fragile, you’re there with Nash, with both men really, empathising with them both and worrying they seem to have missed their chance of developing a stronger, more lasting bond. I agree with you that Josh Lanyon is very capable in letting important aspects of a character emerge ‘indirectly’, from what other characters say about him, from little external signs, from apparently insignificant details. This is a short story I have read and read many times, I can’t seem to be able to stay without it for too long.

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