Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4.25 stars
Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 5 hours, 51 minutes
After his last case, things are going well for Matt at Quest Investigations and he is actually getting to do some real investigating. Unfortunately, he gets himself in trouble once again after an unsanctioned trip into the fae realm goes awry while trying to find a way to track down Lachlan’s errant husband. All too fast, Matt finds himself back on surveillance duty, this time staking out the local Burgervilles where there are reports of an enormous dog with glowing eyes stalking the dumpsters. Matt is pretty sure it is all a waste of time and the guy reporting the dog is just imaging things. But when he gets there, he finds himself shocked that there really is a giant hellhound nosing around the local fast food joints.
Matt realizes the beast is one of the Cwn Annwn, Herne the Hunter’s traitor-tracking dogs. Knowing they need to get the situation contained before more humans see the hound, Matt decides the best bet it is to get the dog back to the kennels in the fae realm with the rest of his pack. Unfortunately, when they arrive, they find the pack missing, Herne nowhere to be found, and a dead body as well. Now, with the help of Lachlan, as well as the rest of the Quest Investigations team, Matt must track down Herne and the dogs, and figure out who is behind the plot and what they want before the situation becomes even more dire.
The Hound of the Burgervilles is the second book in the Quest Investigations series and the story has much of the same humor and charm as the first. I like Russell’s style with these books, as we start with seemingly disparate events that set the stage and then suddenly all the pieces begin to fit together. We get to explore different aspects of the world building here than in the first book, and I enjoyed the look at the Cwn Annwn, as well as their trip to the underworld. Matt has now been adopted by Eleri, the dryad, who is now working for Quest and has determined she and Matt are besties. The two of them are a fun team, especially when Jordan tags along. This isn’t an intense mystery, but the case is fun and I enjoyed getting some new places in this world to explore and learn about.
On the relationship end, Matt and Lachlan are still stymied by the fact that Lachlan’s husband is MIA and so they can’t officially dissolve their relationship. For the early part of the book, Lachlan is mostly out of the story, and I did wish to see more of him and Matt together, but things do pick up later in the book. The guys are pretty committed to each other emotionally, even if they are keeping things strictly non-physical until Lachlan is free and clear of his marriage. I like the men together and there is a nice sense of Matt finding someone who really cares about him and treats him well. I will say, I don’t fully get why Matt and Lachlan can’t more forward with things, considering Lachlan and his husband already decided they are splitting up and it is all paperwork formality at this point. I’m not sure why Lachlan kissing Matt would be some big violation of Lachlan’s vows, yet being in a committed emotional and romantic relationship with Matt is not. But this conflict of the men being unable to be together is a set up of the series, so it’s one you just have to go with.
I also feel like at this point I am over hearing about Ted, Matt’s former crush. It was a lot in the first book, but that at least was a transitional story between the two series. But Ted still has never appeared on page in this series, Matt doesn’t seem to even have had a chance with Ted, and Matt is now in a romantic relationship with Lachlan. Yet it still feels like we keep circling back to Ted over and over and it started to become just too much for me. Maybe it is because I never read the book where Ted finds his own happy ending, but I feel no real connection to this crush and don’t know why it is still getting so much focus; perhaps those who have read the series that features Ted will feel differently.
Once again I listened to this in audio form with Greg Boudreaux and he continues to provide excellent narration. As I said in my last review, Boudreaux is so good in this light comedic style. He does a great job with all the character voices and there is nice consistency from the first book. There are a lot of accents and a lot of words not in English, so this isn’t a super easy narration, but Boudreaux really handles it all smoothly and brings the story to life so well. I am finding these books really so much fun and I definitely can recommend the audio version.
Things wind up here with some new revelations and I am excited to see where Russell takes things next.