Rating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

For the past few years, Keegan’s life has been hell. His mother’s new husband — his stepfather — is an abusive drunk. The only good thing about him is the fact that he gave Keegan a baby brother who Keegan adores. While his stepfather hasn’t laid a finger on Keegan or Jonnie yet, it’s only a matter of time. Keegan’s mother has already had to lie more than once about a new bruise. Keegan’s one hope is to get to university, and maybe get a good job so he can afford to move himself, his mom, and his brother away.

But college comes with its own problems, namely Owen, who has picked up on Keegan’s subtle flinches and who sees him as a perfect victim. If it weren’t for Ginny, the homeless woman he brings lunches to, Keegan would have no one to talk to about any of this. All of his old friends have moved on with their own lives, or moved away, and Keegan doesn’t want to be a burden. One day, after a particularly bad encounter between them, Owen finds a chunk of pondweed in his locker and all his things ruined by slimy, stagnant water. Of course, he blames Keegan.

Between a new boyfriend, the arrival of a trio of paranormal investigators, and a murder, Keegan’s life has as much chance of getting better as it does of getting worse. And those are the best odds he’s had in a very long time.

This is a standalone story set in the Devil’s in the Details series, and while Emery, Alex, and Kadin show up to deal with the goings on, their introduction to the story doesn’t take over, leaving the bulk of the focus on Keegan and his growing friendship and relationship with Bo. Bo is gentle and calm, with a cool head and a devoted heart, and he falls in love with Keegan almost at first sight. He’s certain the two of them are soul mates, but he’s willing to wait until Keegan is just as in love with him as he is with Keegan before he goes too far. Bo’s often asking permission — is this enough, is this too much, what do you want — and for Keegan, who has for so long had his body and his spirit attacked by people who saw him as a target or a thing due to his sexuality, it’s almost overwhelming.

Keegan is bold, compassionate, and willing to endure anything and everything if it will help his mother and brother. His mother won’t leave while she has a five-year-old child and no safe place for him, but she’s willing to let her oldest son be torn to shreds with yelling and threats. Keegan knows this, but loves her anyway, willing to be the one to make the plans for both of them. It’s the same acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion that earns him the trust of the homeless woman, Ginny, who eats his chips and listens to him unburden his heart.

The story is sweet, the world building is nicely grounding, the pacing is bright and quick, and overall, this was an enjoyable little monster murder mystery. Certainly I liked it enough that I’ll be hunting down the author’s other stories!

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