Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 3.75 stars
Narrator: Brian Rollins
Length: 8 hours, 14 minutes
Kirk MacGregor is a painter and a private detective with a prestigious law firm in LA. When one of the firm’s most high profile clients requests a meeting, he knows it’s something important. Austin Hunter is a retired rock star. His brother Brent died six months ago when the man’s plane went down. Austin, his mother Claire, and his husband Jase, ask Kirk to look into the week before Brent’s death. Claire is convinced the plane crash wasn’t an accident, and that Kirk can uncover the truth if he finds out where her son went in the week before it happened. Kirk agrees to take the case.
Austin goes to Kirk’s home later that night and divulges the truth he kept secret in the meeting: Brent is alive and has been in contact with Austin. Austin has no idea where his brother is, only that Brent is in hiding and fears for his life. Austin has also gotten some disturbing and menacing phone calls threatening his life, and the lives of his twin sons, if Austin doesn’t divulge Brent’s whereabouts.
As Kirk starts to piece together information, people start dying in gruesome ways. First [spoiler]Austin’s husband Jase[/spoiler] is gutted and mutilated. And then more people connected to the mystery are found dead. Kirk quickly pinpoints who is actually doing the killing, but there are pieces missing as to who hired the contract killer. As Kirk and Austin work together, they realize that finding and talking to Brent will be the key to solving who is behind this. The killer is getting sloppy, but he has a job to complete, and people keep dying until there are only three loose ends left: Brent, Kirk, and Austin.
My summary is somewhat vague, but I really didn’t want to give anything away. This book was a great murder mystery and James does a pretty amazing job of parceling out the information and piecing things together. I had a little trouble getting into the story in the beginning, though I can’t honestly say if that was due to the story itself or the narration. Perhaps a bit of both. But only a couple of chapters in, I was immersed in the world and hanging on with baited breath to see what the author was going to throw at me next.
We know who the killer is from the very beginning. In fact, the story begins in his POV. But the great thing that James did here is that even though we are aware of who is committing murder, we also know that it’s at the direction of someone else. And that mystery is played out until nearly the very end. I had no clue who had ordered the hits until just before that person was revealed. And even then, it was just a guess on my part. Though I have to admit that person’s motive left me a bit wanting, because it didn’t explain the reason why so many people had to die. Fair warning, guys: there is a lot of death in this book. While most of it is related after the fact, some does happen on the page. And some of it, even in description, is pretty gruesome. Blood and guts don’t bother me in fiction, so I actually appreciated that fact. But if you’ve got a queasy stomach, you should be prepared.
We spend most of the time in Kirk’s head, and I have to say it’s a pretty good place to be. He’s solid, smart, and really intuitive. Since he’s investigating the disappearance of Brent Hunter, we get to follow along as he puts together the pieces and follows the clues. I loved this part, and really enjoyed the way Kirk’s mind worked. And while Kirk is working the case, he’s also dissolving his marriage to his wife and figuring out how to live as an out gay man. I liked this aspect too, and thought Kirk’s emotions really rang true.
This book isn’t a romance, per se. Though there are romantic elements, the focus of the plot is on the murders, finding Brent, and piecing together the mystery of why. This story was a well-crafted mystery, with twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I always appreciate that in a story of this nature. I like to be surprised, and sometimes even shocked, when the information is revealed. There were portions that had me on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what exactly a clue meant.
That being said, there were a couple of moments towards the end, that I won’t spoil, that shocked me in the bad way. In that “Holy crap, I can’t believe that just happened” and the “you just broke my heart a little” way. These were times when I had to actually pause the book and take a moment to get my brain in order.
I got to listen to this in audio format, so I want to talk about that. I thought the narrator did a pretty good job throughout. The MCs had distinctive voices, and I could usually tell who was speaking even when there wasn’t another indication. Especially for Kirk, Austin, and a couple of the other characters we saw regularly. But there were some characters whose voices changed while they were speaking, or had a slightly different sound when they showed up again. I also occasionally found that Rollin’s inflections didn’t quite fit the tone and mood of a scene, which pulled me out of the story some. There were a few times when the words weren’t enunciated quite clearly enough, and I had to rewind a little to listen again. The lines that had to be rerecorded stood out starkly from the rest of the narrative, and every time that happened, it jarred me out of the story, though thankfully they didn’t happen often or last long. Overall, though, Rollins had a nice voice and it worked well for the story.
Though I had a few quibbles with the story as a whole, I can definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a well done murder mystery. I really enjoyed Errors and Omissions, and consider my time immersed in this story as time well spent.