If Two of Them Are DeadRating: 4.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novella

When Detective Victor Van Voorhis is called to the scene of a crime, he knows he’s going to find a dead body.  What he doesn’t expect is for it to be a rich man’s wife.  It’s clear to him from the start that it wasn’t an accident.  She was shot in the head.  Victor knows this is going to be a tough case.  The dead woman husband is out of town on business, so Victor starts by questioning the brother-in-law and her children.

Abraham Westbrook didn’t kill his brother’s wife, but he knows that he’s a suspect.  There’s no love lost between them.  He never particularly cared for Permelia, but he certainly didn’t want to see her dead. He cooperates fully with the detective and wants to find out who did it just as badly as everyone else.

Victor can’t help but be drawn to Abraham, though he tries to keep a professional distance.  The man intrigues him.  But seeing as how Abraham was married and has three children, Victor thinks he’s straight.  The more time they spend together, the more Victor has to fight his attraction.  When it becomes clear that Abraham shares Victor’s interest, the two men begin a relationship.  But there is a murderer on the loose and Victor is repeatedly running into dead ends.  When he finally has all the pieces he needs to confront the murderer, it’s a race against time to stop them before they kill again.  After all, three people can only keep a secret if two of them are dead.

My entire review can simply be this: if you like steampunk, buy this book.  If you like a good murder mystery, buy this book.  If you like both, then run out and buy this book right now.  I was drawn in from the very beginning, and I didn’t put it down until I read the very last page.

Victor was the heart of this story and I enjoyed him to pieces.  He is kind and stalwart and determined.  Everything a good detective should be.  He thoughtfully and methodically sifted through the clues and put the pieces together, and he took me along for the ride.  I felt for him as he suffered through disparagement from the upper class.  I wanted nothing more than for him to get the man and solve the crime.  I was completely invested in him and his journey.

Abraham is another fantastic character.  He is wealthy and smart, but more than that, he is kind and a fabulous father.  It was easy to love him and very easy to understand Victor’s attraction to him.  Their relationship felt like it developed from an organic place.  Victor made frequent trips to Abraham’s home to keep him informed about the case.  A friendship developed from there, and then it moved on to more.  Abraham had to make the first move, but Victor was more than willing.  Though Victor knows he should have tried harder to keep their relationship professional, the two men just fit together so well that they just made sense.

The mystery was done really well too.  Denardo parceled out clues a little bit at a time, giving us the information we needed to see the conclusion.  In my case, I figured it out just before the murderer was revealed, and that’s how I like my whodunits.  It was a bit of a surprise, but it made perfect sense.  I don’t want it to be too obvious, nor do I want it to come out of left field.  It was done wonderfully here and I really appreciate that.

My only quibble is that I would have liked to see more of the whole steampunk aspect.  We got to see a few inventions, including a personal airship that I’d very much like to own, but at times it seemed like it was a secondary aspect to the story.  I wished that we were given more information about what the characters used in their day to day lives.  What we did see was utterly fantastic, but I would have liked more.

The writing was fantastic and the was setting described with just enough detail that I could see it clearly.  The characters were wonderfully portrayed.  I enjoyed this one from beginning to end and can absolutely recommend If Two of Them Are Dead.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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