Icasrus AscendingRating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Kirk MacGregor is the investigator at his father’s law firm. One of the firms’ prime clients comes to see about having Kirk investigate the last days of rock star Brent Hunter’s life before his plane crashed in the Arctic. In what is probably the most perplexing investigation of his career, Kirk finds himself following a trail of dead-end leads, lethal lies, and a string of homicides as he scours the underworld of the City of Angels for a killer and the person who hired him.

The plot of this story revolves around the mysterious plane crash that supposedly took the life of rock star Brent Hunter. Since the accident, several suspicious events have taken place that has put the Hunter family on edge – fearing for their safety and wondering whether Brent really died in the crash. They request that Kirk look into the last two weeks of Brent’s life – which are told to readers in flashback-like scenes.

In this mystery/suspense tale, readers may be surprised to find themselves knowing exactly who the killer is in the story right off the bat. John Phillips was a spoiled rich kid who grew up hating pretty much everyone – his parents, people of color, disabled people, welfare recipients, liberals, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, sodomites, and the neighbor’s dog…who may have been this cold blooded killer’s first kill. Though John loves the thrill of the kill, he refrains from killing just for the sake of killing, especially when someone else is paying him well to ensure that he only takes the lives of those who have somehow harmed him or her…the mysterious person who is calling all the shots. Despite John’s Code of Honor, the body count stacks up and there is only one person who can stop him, and that’s Kirk MacGregor.

Kirk had a gay relationship as a teenager. When he finds out that his teenage lover married, Kirk finds himself walking down the aisle to marry Madilyn. Now, in the process of divorce, Kirk has resigned himself to dates with other closeted gay married men. While he has a sex life, he doesn’t have a love life, and this is something he finds himself wanting more and more, especially when he is around his clients (and friends ) Austin Hunter and his new husband, Jase Ruether. As the investigation heats up, Kirk finds himself paring up with Brent’s brother, Austin, as they search for a killer.

Readers should know that this is a DSP Publication, so the focus is not on romance. Instead, readers are treated to a suspense and mystery with just a touch of romance.

As a fan of mystery/suspense stories, I was itching to read this book. As I stated above, the idea of knowing who the killer was right off the bat was intriguing and I wanted to see where the author was going with all of this. Like most mysteries, there are a lot of characters thrown at readers as everyone is a suspect. In this case, I will admit at times I felt like I needed a score card just to remember who was who, never mind trying to figure out who was important to the storyline and who was just there for the sake of the story. It was just too convoluted, in my opinion. It made it difficult to get right into the story for me. Instead, it was nearly 1/3 of the way into the book before I found myself becoming thoroughly entrenched in the plot.

Once that happened, I will admit the mystery had me wondering who was the mastermind behind these killing and what their motive was. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this person to be who they were. I never saw it coming.

There were a few issues that I had with this story. The first was that throughout the book we are constantly being told by Austin about how Jase is the love of his life. [spoiler] Yet, his behavior after Jase’s death just didn’t come across as the norm for someone grieving. I understand everyone grieves differently, but it seemed as if he went from one extreme to the other. While Austin plays the role of the grieving spouse to perfection in some cases, in the next paragraph/chapter Austin’s behavior leaves one to wonder just how deep those affections truly were. I’m sorry, I know this book isn’t a romance, but when a character says that they will never love again, but a few days after burying their husband is throwing himself into the investigation, riding around in restored Corvette, and flirting with the investigator – something just felt off.[/spoiler]

The second issue that I had was that it felt as if the author just tried too hard to be original that it fell flat. First there were the continuous referrals to the wealth of these characters – yeah, we got it the first time, and the second, and the third. The second was the use of original phrases and terms used to describe people and body parts that left me shaking my head. As a reader, the constant referral to wealth, the use of poorly chosen phrases, coupled with the unique plot of knowing the killer right off the start seemed to be going overboard with trying to be original and instead it fell flat to me.

Overall, as a whole, this wasn’t a bad read. I would have liked to have been more thoroughly engaged in the story much sooner than I was, but once I got there, it continued to hold my attention. While not my favorite mystery, I did appreciate the author going for an original take on the mystery by revealing the killer right from the start. Though this book wasn’t a hit for me, this author has peaked my interest to see what he comes up with next.

A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.

Wendy sig

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