Wolf-Beast Lowell Kanaan has brought his boyfriend, John Tilney, a mystery author and elemental, into his private investigation business. The two solve crimes for the supernatural communities of Boston. One day the men are approached by a man whose boyfriend has been murdered. The man fears that because his boyfriend was a packless Beast that the police will not be too interested in getting to the bottom of the case. Given that Lowell himself is packless and has seen the discrimination they face, he understands the concerns and he and John take the case.
It turns out the man was not only killed, but bitten and had organs removed. People are quick to blame another Beast for the crime, especially as more dead bodies appear. The case definitely hits close to home for Lowell and John. John is terrified for his boyfriend as it becomes clear the killer is targeting the packless. And Lowell is forced to face the prejudices against the packless, as well as his own past. As the men get closer to finding the killer, they definitely begin to draw unwanted attention from a variety of fronts. And the closer they get to figuring out who is behind the murders, the more dangerous things get for John and Lowell.
The Case of the Man Eater is the second book in Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne’s Kanaan & Tilney series. The first book came out over two years ago, so I’ll admit I needed to reread my review of The Case of the Arms Dealers to remember the specifics. Given that I was able to jump back in here with no trouble, you could probably read this as a standalone even though it continues John and Lowell’s story. That said, I really enjoyed the first book and it gives you a foundation on the world building, as well as the couple, so you may do better starting there.
I enjoyed this mystery and following along with John and Lowell on their case. They are a fun team with the more gruff and surly former cop Lowell contrasted with the bright and lively author John. John is learning to be a PI, so he still needs Lowell to lead the way sometimes. But I loved their dynamic as they worked together. Some of the best scenes were watching John put on a false persona to get information and watching his performances as Lowell tries not to crack up. The mystery was interesting and combined the investigation itself with some of the larger politics and issues in this world the authors have created, particularly toward Beasts. Given Lowell’s background, the case hits very close to home and there are some nice dynamics as both Lowell and John work through their emotions about it all. The investigation is interesting and the mystery well done. My only complaint is that I wanted to understand a little more about the bad guy here. We find out who is behind it all, but don’t learn much about the why. I was left feeling like there were some loose ends here that could have been rounded out.
The highlight of the story for me here is John and Lowell themselves. As I said, there is kind of an opposites attract vibe going on that I always enjoy. But what really did it for me here is how loving these guys are to one another. Yes, they are sexy together, but there is also a tenderness that comes through in all their interactions, romantic or otherwise. They clearly care about one another and as this case stirs up some emotions, they are both rock solid in their support for one another. So I really love these guys as a couple and enjoyed the way their relationship is incorporated into the suspense elements so nicely.
So I am really glad the authors are back with another installment in this series after so long. I am really enjoying this couple and the world Rose and Hawthorne have created. I am definitely hoping for more in this series.