Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon

Adrien English, #1
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One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening.

Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few hours later someone breaks into Adrien's shop and ransacks it, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself.

Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he is next on the killer's list.

“Cops before breakfast. Before coffee even. As if Mondays weren't bad enough.”

Fatal Shadows is told through first person point of view, and the main character completely rocks. I absolutely loved him. He’s sympathetic with a sense of humor. He’s slightly fragile and real. He’s a total bookworm, a good friend, likes to look for the good in others, a loner. If it weren't for Adrien, the book wouldn't be nearly half as good. He owns a bookstore, has a heart condition, is sarcastic and funny, has a giant heart and forgiving constitution, loves old movies, has a calm tai chi ritual in front of his TV, and embraces his bad luck with humor.

Throw in other fun characters like the new "weird" assistant, Angus (the scene where Adrien discovers him reading a book about summoning demons is priceless), the quirky and controlling mother (although her better moments don't come until later in the series) and the oddball mystery book club that meets there once a week. It's especially amusing how one married couple is obviously modeling the main character in their book after Adrien but refusing to come right out and admit it. 

“They met at one of the Bouchercon mystery conferences. Love among the midlist. “It’s raining cats and dogs!” Ted announced, which gives you an idea of the sort of thing they write.”

The man he becomes interested in isn’t as much of a winner yet, but having a flawed character be the interest was refreshing. I find it mentally stimulating where there’s a conflict/contrast. There wasn’t romance in this one, but it was a slow build that fit in well and made me intrigued. The save and rescue act was endearing, but again, don't expect much romance this time around.  Eventually they become a favorite couple (I've read the full series twice by now), but Jake tries a reader's patience for several books. Keep reading!

With the mystery, I guessed who it was early on, but that was mainly due to there being so little in the suspect pool; still, the mystery was entertaining and the reasoning behind it - when it came to light - layered enough to make it be convincing. The ending showdown battle was tense, vulnerable, and kept my eyes glued.

Throw in the bonus that Adrien is of course a mystery fan who reads books. I have several classics and hard-boiled, noir, and other obscure titles I slowly want to search out because of this series.

Go into it expecting a fun mystery, but don’t go into it yet expecting romance or steam. It's all a fascinating story though and this has become one of my top favorite series when you take all the books collectively.

Book Quotes

“I couldn't see him putting up with the restraints and discipline of being a Bottom - he wouldn't have been able to remember half the rules - and no sane person would allow Rob to be his Top.”

Publisher or Author Information (Extras)

Chapter and Audio Preview on Author Website

Try a FREE Josh Lanyon sample from the author's website - Includes one complete short story, one complete novella and three partial novels.

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