A bum heart, a missing father, and a small artist community with deep secrets. All this and more preoccupies every waking and dreaming thought of Kyle Bari, son of a famous painter who mysteriously vanished from his life. When Kyle sees Adam Mackinnon, a man he has loved for as long as he can remember, the past creeps out from the shadows and unleashes a series of murders that will rock the sleepy art community Kyle calls home. But Adam is not alone. He brings with him a young man who bears an uncanny resemblance to Kyle. Brett is a wild man, filled with sarcasm, an overactive libido, and an axe to grind.
As Brett digs away at the members of Steeple Hill, wielding both sex and snark to uncover secrets long since buried, things begin to unravel and seemingly innocent people who have always been there for Kyle become suspect—particularly after the first murder takes place. Now Kyle must trust his heart in more ways than one for Adam is still the love of his life and now more than ever, Kyle needs someone he can trust before he too falls victim to the mysterious killer wreaking havoc on their quiet little town.
Murder in Pastel is both classic Josh Lanyon and a wee bit more blatant than this author’s writing has been in the past. I say blatant because there was something loud and messy about this novel that really gave it an edgier feel than most of this author’s other work. Perhaps it was the brilliantly portrayed Brett who was such a loose canon and nearly unlikeable, while being an almost feral sexual predator. Juxtaposed with Adam, who was always in control, tightly wound but endlessly patient, the two made for the most fascinating of couples I have ever seen in a Lanyon story.
Then there was Kyle, who flirted on the edge of being a victim—but not a pretty one, rather, almost a whiny sort who could not come to terms with what he wanted or come out and declare his needs to a man whom he was still desperately in love with despite the passage of so many years. Yet Kyle captured this reader and despite that naïve and somewhat foolish outlook he maintained through most of the novel, I found myself liking him more and more as the story progressed. Finally, perhaps it was the mystery itself that signaled a slight shift in what we know to be Lanyon’s style. It was a bit more simplistic than we are used to seeing from this author, but that in no way diminished the well-written plot and action packed chapters. I say simplistic because I was able to figure out the end moves before they occurred but again, this author has such a deft hand at writing in the mystery genre I still raced rather breathlessly to the ending just to verify I was correct.
All in all, Murder In Pastel takes its rightful place on the Lanyon bookshelf. Filled with fascinating characters, a worthy mystery, murder and mayhem, this one is a story fans of this author will welcome into the fold with eager arms. I highly recommend Murder in Pastel by Josh Lanyon to you.