Five friends. All hiding a secret that prevents them from interacting with each other while at school. Evan, Meyer, Preston, Lazlo, and Peter all met at a LGBT support group and get together to hang out at a gay club on the weekends. One night after leaving the club, they are discovered by fellow student, Jack, who threatens to expose their secret the following Monday at school. Monday comes and they arrive at school to find Jack’s jacket in a pool of blood. In each of their lockers is a glass jar containing a piece of Jack.
Fourteen years later, Meyer Stanton is called to the scene of a murder. Former friend, Evan Danvers is standing over the body of another former friend, Peter Stokely. Evan tells him Peter called him on the phone to tell him Jack was alive and chasing him. As the attacks on the five friends heat up, Meyer and his partner Corin “Westie” West have to find a killer before they all die.
This book is one of the best mysteries I have read in a while! It had me guessing from the first chapter. Each of the five friends had something to lose if Jack exposed their homosexuality. For some, it would be relatively minor social ostracism; for others, it would mean being disowned by their family. After Jack’s death, each of their lives drastically changed as their friendship disintegrated as they all suspected one another of committing the murder. When a killer emerges fourteen years later, you wonder whether Jack really did die that Monday morning.
The story then adds in some romance. Meyer may have hidden in the closet back in high school, but vowed never to hide again once he graduated. Meyer and his partner Westie were friends with benefits, until Meyer suggested they date. When Westie refused to come out of the closet, they struggled to remain friends and partners. Though Westie continuously suggests they may try again, Meyer doesn’t want to go back down that road.
Evan is a shell of the person he was back in high school. Dependent upon his brother for a job, he hasn’t ever had a real relationship, preferring anonymous hookups at the club… hookups who remind him of Meyer, the one he never had a chance with until a killer emerges. One by one the friends are threatened throwing Evan, Meyer, and Westie into the game of a psychopath forcing Meyer to choose between the kid he had feelings for fourteen years ago and his partner and former lover.
I would consider this book more of a thriller/suspense with romantic undertones. The murders and attempts on their lives are fairly graphic, enough that the hair on the back of my neck stood up. There is definitely some romance, complete with some fairly mild to moderate heated sex scenes, but the focus of the story is more on the mystery of what actually happened to Jack.
My only complaint about the book is some of the choices that Meyer makes as a police detective in investigating this case. For someone who refused to hide his sexuality after high school, the idea he was engaging in conduct that jeopardized a case seemed a bit out of character.
If you like mystery/intrigue/thriller type books and with a bit of M/M romance and sex, you have to read this book. It will keep you on the edge of your set from start to finish!