Emery Hazard and John-Henry Somerset are committed to being together. Their relationship has already survived so much, but the men are better and happier when they are together. They are planning their wedding, Emery’s private investigator business is becoming more solid, and John has even gotten Emery to socialize more. But it’s not possible for life to stay calm for them for long.
There are changes at the police station, which causes John’s stressful days to become even more stressful. Also, no one can forget about the killer, known as the Keeper of Bees, especially Emery, and especially Mitchell Martin, the only one who got away from the killer. Mitchell is still recovering and terrified that the killer will come back for him and he wants Emery to protect him.
With new officers on the police force, John’s days are constantly disrupted and murder once again comes to Wahredua. The Keeper’s mark seems to be all over this murder and, when people close to Emery start to disappear, he and John will have to once again try to outrun and stop a serial killer.
This is the book that this series has been moving toward—the book where the identity of the Keeper of Bees is revealed. This series would never be classified as a comedy, but within the first pages of the book I was laughing at the antics between Hazard and Somerset. It’s the kind of verbal sparring that can only happen in a well-established series, with a well-established couple, and Ashe’s writing gets better with each book. The characters are so well layered and the timing and depth of these men is remarkable to read.
This series always has a lot going on. I do appreciate that at this part of Emery and John’s story, we get to see more of them as a couple outside of work. And work is stressful for both of them. With changes at the police department and Emery trying to protect Mitchell from the Keeper, their days are full. But still, they try and find time for each other, although Emery’s PTSD is still unchecked, so much so that he is finally realizing that he does need some help.
The tension was high in this book. Between finding the killer and other events trying to throw John off of his game, there was a lot of action taking place all of the time. As expected, there were misdirects leading up to the finding the killer and it worked to keep the anticipation high. Once the killer is revealed, though, there was substantially less follow up than I would have liked between the men regarding the killer, some events surrounding the investigation, and the trials both men were put through.
The ending once again pulled the men back together as more pieces of their future were firmly set into place. As this part of the series comes to a close, it’s rewarding to see where they end up. There is never a shortage of criminal activity in their small town and with John taking on career changes, the men will be back for more adventures next year. Reading a Hazard and Somerset novel is a complete event that pulls you into the lives of these men and it has been a true experience watching these two men find their home.