Much to my delight, the latest novel by Josh Lanyon is both a full on mystery and a cleverly done winsome romance as well. Fresh from college and certain he cannot marry the girl he’s been dating for the last three years, Jefferson Blythe decides to take the money he’d been saving for a engagement ring and use it to set out on a international vacation armed only with his grandfather’s book, Esquire’s Europe In Style. Along the way, Jefferson would be forced to meet up with a childhood friend whom he has been avoiding ever since said friend came out to him and shattered the comfortable friendship they shared. Shattered because Jefferson himself has been running from his own truth for far too many years and George was the catalyst that would finally make Jefferson face his own sexual confusion.
However, before he can even leave the London airport, Jefferson is mistaken for someone else—someone who had accepted a great deal of money and was supposed to be delivering a rare piece of art. Before he knows it, poor Jefferson is being followed, kidnapped, stalked, and shot at all over a misunderstanding that leads to so much mayhem that he’s now racing from one country to another evading a potential killer. Sounds like a wild ride? Welcome to Josh Lanyon’s new mystery, Jefferson Blythe, Esquire.
I could use so many superlatives to describe this story: clever, sharp and witty, tender, and a bit heartbreaking and every one would only begin to highlight this immensely entertaining novel. Jefferson is one confused young man and yet there is such an earnest way about him, particularly after he finally embraces who he is and discovers what he wants from life. George is so tightly wound, wanting so much to allow Jefferson to experience all that his new found life has to offer and yet so fully in love with his friend that he can hardly think straight when he is around him. Together, the two of them battle bad guys who fumble more than they succeed at crime and yet remained determined to tie up any loose ends—Jefferson being one of them.
What makes this mystery work so well, is Jefferson. The character is so well written, his thoughts so honest, and his character, though naïve, still so believable when it comes to his fiercely pursuing what he wants. Lanyon never stoops to easy relationships and has an uncanny knack for writing solidly male characters that reluctantly allow compromise to be the cornerstone of a careful and sometimes awkward beginning love affair. Never one to assure there will be a happy ever after, instead the reader is handed a wonderfully complex happy for now that still inspires hope that all will work out for the tentative couple at novel’s end. Jefferson and George are no exception and the journey they take to reach that wary start at something more than just friendship is packed full of adventure and intrigue and so worth the ride.
A bit of mystery, a tentative romance, and a coming out story all rolled into one, Jefferson Blythe, Esquire is classic Lanyon and a story you will not want to miss. I highly recommend it to you!