Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
You know that thing about Death Be Not Proud? Well, Fear Be Not Proud either. And Fear Be Not Elegant. What Fear be is stumbling, bumbling flight, crashing through brush, slip-sliding on pine needles, sloshing through puddles that are always deeper than you expect.
When former bestselling author Christopher Holmes loses his contract with one of the biggest publishing houses in New York and the home of his career for as long as he’s had one, forty-year-old Christopher reluctantly takes the advice of his agent and attends a writing conference in the middle of nowhere. The point is to reinvent himself and convince the new big shot editor of Wheaton & Woodhouse, Satan… erm, Steven Krass, to take a chance on his new image (thanks to the kid at Macy’s) and the new and edgy series he’s planning on pitching (except the new, edgy series doesn’t exist yet.)
On the bridge to the remote island where the retreat is being held, Christopher gets a flat and while a literal dark stormy cloud hangs over his head, he races to stable ground in way too expensive shoes on a flooding bridge that’s quickly floating away under his feet. Once on soggy ground, with luggage in tow, he finds minimum shelter in the woods to change shoes, only to stumble upon a Japanese teahouse of a shrine with the dead body of a woman, complete with murder weapon, in front of it. A mystery writer he may be, but the body and the strange feeling that someone is watching him is enough to see him running away.
Finally arriving at the lodge, Christopher comes face to face with another nightmare: J.X. Moriarity—former cop and former more-than-one-night stand. Wet, frustrated, angry, and a bit afraid, Christopher breaks the news to the inhabitants of the lodge. After showing J.X. and Edgar (co-owner of the lodge) to the body of the now named and not so loved author Peaches Sadler, Christopher finds himself in a whirlwind of brainstorming and plotting before his meeting with Steven. But when the meeting comes along, not only does the editor want to talk about Peaches and how wonderful she was, but he takes the opportunity to publicly humiliate Christopher.
When Christopher finds another dead body the next morning and that body happens to be none other than Steven Krass, Christopher turns into suspect number one in everyone’s eyes. Everyone but J.X., who Christopher dumped ten years ago without word and who is now married. Christopher is torn because he has his own trust issues with J.X., yet he’s the only person in Christoper’s corner and he’s also the only person Christopher can’t keep his mind and hands off of. With a crazed killer on the loose, J.X. locks Christopher in his cabin to keep him safe and to appease guests of the lodge, and Christopher realizes it’s up to him and him alone to prove his innocence until the killer sets his sights on him and J.X.
Hi. I’m Crissy, and I’m a Fanyon. This is a thing, for real. You think I kid. We have a support group/fan club and everything. Have you ever read a Josh Lanyon novel? Cozy mystery meets steamy man on man romance? This is not your mother’s Agatha Christie, she says with a leer. And Somebody Killed His Editor is a prime example of every single reason I love this author and his books. Full of shady, conflicted characters, this story is a trek through lies, deceit, murder, and mayhem.
And then there’s Christopher and J.X. I’m telling you guys, these two are magnetic as only part of the mystery/suspense plot, but add romance and angst to them and they set the pages on fire. Christopher Holmes is a former bestselling author who made is name writing a series about an old spinster gumshoe and her cat. He’s basically in a rut and now he’s an author without a publisher. On top of all of that, Christopher’s lover of the past decade has run off with Christopher’s personal assistant. So add all of that to facing the guy whose heart he broke ten years ago and find out that that same guy is also married, and finding two dead bodies, then being accused of murder. Christopher… he’s not having the best few days. But here’s the thing about Christopher—with everything piled on top of him and the walls closing in around him, he doesn’t give up. When the going gets tough, Christopher Holmes gets going. He’s bitchy and snarky and full of attitude, but when it really counts he can show part of himself that is buried so far down deep not even he knows it exists. I adore him.
Once upon a time, J.X. Moriarity, bestselling author of a detective series, was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed newbie who was enamored to be in the presence of the amazing Christopher Holmes, but a disappearing act later left the man jaded and toughened him up a bit. This story is written completely in Christopher’s POV, so most of what we get of J.X. (Julian Xavier, by the way) is from Christopher’s musings. Besides being a sexy beast, J.X. is full of mystery. While Christopher is certain the man is gay, he’s been assured J.X. is married with a kid on the way. You all know by now how much I love my growly alpha characters. Well, may I introduce you to prime piece of meat… umm… example Julian Xavier Moriarity. J.X. is nothing if not commanding and strong without being controlling and overbearing. I’m in love.
This story… There’s so much I want to say, but how to say it without giving everything away? Cozy mystery is a stronghold for Lanyon. While mysteries in general are high powered and in your face, the cozy mystery is more laid back, subtler while still holding one’s interest. There’s a fine balance where this author excels—somewhere in the combination of eccentric, vibrant characters and personalities with quick, attention-grabbing plots mixed together with struggling relationships and scalding romance. This story is all of that. The story begins with a scene that is so absurd it’s hilarious, then transitions into the discovery of a woman in the middle of the woods. The air of this story is that Christopher, a career-crippled mystery author, finds himself in the midst of a twisted plot that could turn out to be the unexpected inspiration he needs to reinvent his writing career and his romantic life. Now, that being said, the ending to this story while perfectly satisfactory on the mystery end, is a little baffling on the romantic end—as in it just ends. I flipped the (digital) page and there was not another. I almost cried. I wanted more of Christopher and J.X.’s relationship, at least one more scene. But alas, it was not meant to be. Lucky for me this is a series.
Overall, I loved this story and absolutely adore Christopher and J.X. I am looking forward to delving into book two and (soon) book three. If you are a Fanyon, you’ve probably already read this one. I say read it again. If you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for? I highly recommend Somebody Killed His Editor by Josh Lanyon.