death on denial audioStory Rating: 3.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 5 hours, 45 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links:  Amazon | iBooks

Matt and his selkie boyfriend, Lachlan, are finally able to be together now that they have tracked down Lachlan’s missing husband and the two have officially separated. Matt is eager for a chance to finally get some intimacy with his man, so he is less than thrilled when Lachlan wants to go for a swim together in the chilly Pacific first. But that isn’t the worst of it. First, a whole group of selkies show up (while Matt is naked, no less) hoping to speed the marriage along between Matt and Lachlan. Then, Matt gets served court papers because someone is suing him, though Matt has no idea who the guy is or what the case could be about.

When they make it back to Quest, Matt learns he is being sued by an Ankou, a psychopomp whose job it is to escort departed souls onward. The guy is suing Matt because he believes that one of Matt’s cases caused a huge influx in souls in need of guiding and it is more than he wants to deal with. The Ankou, who Matt dubs “slacker Death,” has basically abandoned his job completely, complaining that it is now too much work. Unfortunately, that means that not only are the souls left with no one to guide them, but their numbers are increasing and they are getting restless. Even worse, one of the souls is looking to make a return to the (sort of) living by trying to possess bodies of supernaturals. Now, Matt needs to track down the Ankou (who has made himself quite scarce) and get him to start doing his job and help these souls move on before anyone else becomes the victim of possession. Oh, and some time with his boyfriend at some point might be nice as well.

Death on Denial is the fourth and final book in the Quest Investigations series. While each book has a unique mystery and standalone elements, the larger story carries over across the books and these are best read in order. The case here once again has Matt and his gang attempting to solve a supernatural crisis. Russell does a nice job in these books bringing together a lot of seemingly disparate threads and having them all coalesce. Here we also bring together some various world building elements and things from past cases that tie together well. This one isn’t really a mystery per se, like the previous books. Technically, there is the open question of who is doing the possessing, and we do get an answer, though it isn’t really critical to the story. This is more of a situation of Matt and company needing to track down the Ankou and get things sorted with these souls before more damage can be done. I think the story comes together nicely, and I particularly like how things hit close to home, but it may be just a little less tight than some of the prior cases. Still, I think Russell does a nice job here with the storyline, and the world building on this series is a lot of fun. We get to reunite with various characters from prior books and really get a sense of the family they have all built together.

We also get a happy ending for Matt and Lachlan, though they have to work for it here. There is some major interference by the selkies, which causes some conflict between them, though mostly the problem is that Matt is running around trying to put out fires at Quest and so the guys don’t have much time to actually spend together working it all out. I like Lachlan and Matt together, and I found myself happy for Matt that he is ending up a real part of the supernatural world (both through his job/friends, as well as his relationship with Lachlan), as it is something so important to him. But I do find that the relationship side of things feels like the weakest part of the series for me. Russell notes in the blurbs for these books that they are not romances, but instead have a romantic subplot, so I knew not to expect a traditional romance. But that line feels sort of fuzzy to me. On one hand, we see the men meet, fall in love, declare feelings for each other, and have an HEA. So despite the disclaimer, it’s hard not to see this as a romance when we get multiple scenes of heartfelt declarations of love across the series. But at the same time, the guys spend most of each book separated and their relationship is clearly not the primary focus. In this book, there is a major relationship event that happens early on and then Lachlan is off page almost completely until the end of the story. So I guess I needed the line a little clearer one way or the other. If I am going to have two men falling in love, having an HEA, etc, then I wanted to actually see it happening and have it be more a part of the story. But instead, we get declarations of love and intense feelings that don’t really feel grounded in anything we see developing between them. I’ll also note that while I have really liked Lachlan throughout the series, here I found myself a little frustrated with him. His selkies take an action that really upsets Matt (understandably so) and Lachlan doesn’t seem all that concerned because HE is happy with what happened. I wanted to see him more empathetic and maybe taking some action here given the situation. All that said, the guys have a nice HEA and things come together well for them as a couple at the end.

I have been listening to this one in audio with Greg Boudreaux and he has just been an excellent narrator for the series. Boudreaux’s style is such a good fit for these quirky, humorous books and he gets the tone spot on. There is a large cast of characters here and he does a nice job keeping the voices consistent across the books. So if you are interested in this series, definitely consider them in audio.

Overall, I found this one a really fun series. The books are relatively short (and the audios are only about 5-6 hours), so the stories are tight and snappy. This is an entertaining world and the four books come together really nicely as a set. If you like paranormal stories with a dose of humor, definitely give this series a try.