Let me begin this review by saying that author John Inman is one of my go to writers for both romantic comedy and horror/mystery novels. This author never fails to amaze me with his versatility in crafting really top notch books that have left me entertained and satisfied. It is rather ironic that his latest release, Words, actually mentions the fact that sometime writers release works that may not be up to their normal standard. Words was an interesting mix of this writer’s two styles that I love—a bit of rom com and a bit of mystery, however this particular pairing didn’t always work and the mix tended to slow the overall pacing of the novel and water down the romance aspect of Logan and Max’s relationship.
Max is a writer, having released four successful novels. He is rescued from an agonizingly slow book signing by a handsome man who he soon discovers is also a popular book reviewer. The two men hit it off, but Logan, aka the reviewer named BookHunter, has some emotional baggage that threatens to derail the two getting any closer. Logan lost his husband just a year ago to a terrible accident and has finally escaped New York City, where memories haunted him, to land in sunny San Diego. While he is drawn to Max, he is also afraid that acting on the attraction will somehow destroy the loving memories he has of his deceased husband, Jerry. Letting go emotionally is something Logan must do if he is ever going to tell Max just how much the man means to him.
While these two are grappling with the idea of a new relationship, there is a serial killer on the loose making their way across the country killing reviewers who are known for their scathing, often cruel and career destroying reviews. The killer strikes with a cold hearted precision and leaves no clues behind as to their identity. Amidst this violent backdrop, our two lovers decide to take a leap of faith and begin a life together, never dreaming that violence will come to their doorstep before long.
By choosing to mix both the lighthearted, snappy romance for which he is known, with a more serious and bloodthirsty mystery, author John Inman stumbled for the first time I can recall. Neither story line got the page time it deserved and the romance between Max and Logan actually slowed down the overall feel of the novel. It left me slogging through the long-winded passages where the two main characters discussed their feelings in order to experience more of the tense murder mystery plot I really enjoyed. I never got a true sense of the connection that the author was trying to create between Max and Logan. I was surprised when Logan went full in with Max after what felt like a very short time of self doubt and guilt over betraying his love for Jerry. In the end, mixing these two genres left both story lies incomplete and rushed—something I have never seen in a John Inman novel before.
Words tried really hard to deliver a light hearted romance and a bloody suspenseful mystery in one novel. Unfortunately, each aspect of this book felt a bit neglected and unfinished. Inman is an excellent writer, but his latest novel, Words, is not the best example of the incredibly rich and satisfying stories this author create
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.