This book has just rocked my socks! WOW - LOVED IT!!!!
We have JL Merrow with us today in the house talking about impure thoughts. But nobody has ever had those now, or have they?
A Word From the Author
Impure Thoughts... in holy places!
Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m thrilled to be here today as part of the Relief Valve blog tour.
I’ve blogged before about how some places, when you visit them, just yell, “Set a story here!” It happened with the Forbidden Planet bookstore, and It’s All Geek to Me; it happened with Iceland and Fall Hard.
But I wasn’t expecting to get ideas for murder when I visited a church.
The church in question is in Beverley, in the North of England. As Tom says about the fictional St Leonards,
“(it) was one of those places that must have been pretty important when the cathedral was built around eight hundred years ago, or else they wouldn’t have bothered, but to say it had fallen into a bit of a decline since then was like saying the Russian government was just a little bit anti-gay. It was a nice enough market town, but sleepy.”
Which is a bit unfair when applied to Beverley—in 2007 it was apparently judged the best place to live in the UK by a Royal Bank of Scotland survey—but there’s no denying the town is no longer as vital and prosperous as it was in the Middle Ages, at the height of the wool trade.
But back to the church—Beverley Minster. Before the Reformation (and the invention of package holidays to the sun, which came along just a little later) it was an important stop on the well-travelled pilgrim’s tour, and it’s actually bigger and grander than many cathedrals. Modern visitors can tour the roof, which houses the largest surviving treadwheel crane in England, or as Tom puts it:
“a man-sized, wooden hamster wheel”
Unlike the instruments of punishment Oscar Wilde endured in Reading Gaol, this treadwheel was used, in medieval times, to raise building supplies through a hole in the minster ceiling. Or, from the point of view of anyone actually up in the roof, a flippin’ great hole in the floor.
With a dizzyingly long drop onto unforgiving tiles below.
Better watch your step, Tom.…….
Question: Have you ever had inappropriate thoughts in a place of worship?
Title: Relief Valve
Author: JL Merrow
Released: 25th March 2014
Genre: M/M (murder/mystery)
Rating: 5 Stars
"If you dig up the past, be prepared to get dirty."
It hasn't been all smooth sailing since plumber Tom Paretski and P.I. Phil Morrison became connected at the heart, if not always at Tom's dodgy hip. Neither of their families has been shy about voicing their disapproval, which hasn't helped Tom's uneasy relationship with his prickly older sister, Cherry.
But when Cherry is poisoned at her own engagement party, the horror of her near death has Tom's head spinning with possible culprits. Is it her fiance Gregory, a cathedral canon with an unfortunate manner and an alarming taste for taxidermy? Someone from her old writers' circle, which she left after a row? Or could the attack be connected to her work as a barrister?
Phil is just as desperate to solve the case before someone ends up dead-and he fears it could be Tom. At least one of their suspects has a dark secret to hide, which makes Tom's sixth sense for finding things like a target painted on his back..
Warning: Contains a strong, silent, macho PI; a cheeky, chirpy, cat-owning plumber; and a gag gift from beyond the grave that'll put the cat firmly among the pigeons.
This book has just rocked my socks! WOW - LOVED IT!!!! Tom Paretski has just become one of my all time favourite characters. Once again he gets involved in solving an attempted murder on his sister and lands himself in situations that had me on the edge of my seat, but also had me laughing out loud just reading about the characters and their antics.
His elder sister, who he hasn't had much contact with over the last few years, contacts him and arranges to meet him for tea. His sister is a barrister, very conservative and straight laced. She informs him that their Aunt Lol has died, however in her will she leaves the advice that she has hidden something for him in the house and he should use his talent for finding things to discover it. Maybe a last little game from his Aunt? But she always believed in his power and his sister has been named executor of her will. What he finds there changes his whole look on life.
While they are out his sister informs him that she is seeing someone and even more surprising he is a vicar. Well, I just loved this whole conversation between the two of them. JL writes the most engaging dialogues and the fact that this is written in first person from Tom's point of view let's you read his thoughts, which are absolutely hilarious at times. As a good friend of mine says, Mandy, on Goodreads writes in her review, "Tom's head is the best place to be." I couldn't agree more! That's exactly the whole charm of these books is getting in Tom's head and you soon realise this is one great guy, with a great look on life and heart of gold.
Cherry ate polite for breakfast. “We didn’t see you at Mum and Dad’s for Christmas. Again.” It sounded like her court voice.
And I put it to you, m’lud, that the defendant wilfully and culpably spurned his mother’s roast turkey and all the trimmings (cries of horror from the gallery)
Anyway, the evening comes to meet Gregory the vicar, his future brother-in-law and brings Phil with him. Upon arriving at the house…….
I pushed the antique doorbell, one of those fancy Victorian ones with “Press” written on it in fancy font, presumably for the benefit of those who couldn’t work it out without instructions. It jangled sonorously.
“They don’t make ‘em like that anymore, do they?” Phil muttered as we shuffled our feet on the Old Dean’s doorstep.
“Yeah, they do. You can get them online. There’s this site: Snobs’ Knobs and Posh Knockers, it’s called.”
“oh yeah? I’ve never been that into knockers, personally. Knobs, on the other hand….” Phil smirked.
This vicar is quite progressive for the church and has no problem with gay people. Well, Gregory also has a rather unusual hobby for a vicar and once again the evening they spend together at Gregory’s with his sister had me snorting on the sofa with laughter. Seriously, JL can really write the funniest situations in a superb way. You get Tom's angle on everything and left me splitting my sides with laughter. It takes a lot before a book makes me laugh out loud, but this one did it on several occasions. The humour is never trivial or banal, but very British and set within a more serious situation just makes it absolutely hilarious. The evening is a success and then Phil and Tom are invited to a party arranged by Greg and his sister so all the family and friends can meet each other.
On the evening of the party Richard, Tom's older brother, and his wife are also there. Richard is successful doctor and is wife a little stuck up to say the least. So Tom has a barrister for a sister and a doctor for a brother.......and then there is Tom, a plumber? You could possibly ask yourself what went wrong? Tom always has an excuse why he didn't turn out so educated and successful, but what I like is that fact he is never ashamed of his job. This is so correct, he loves his job, earns an honest dollar and now he has Phil at his side everything is perfect. Until his sister collapses at the party after having a drink. Richard rushes to the rescue and she is rushed off to hospital where they save her life and find out later that what she drank had been poisoned. Now the perpetrator has to be found.
This leads to a great murder-mystery with twists and turns and a great plot. I really liked the way that at the beginning you feel anyone could be the suspect and bit by bit the perpetrator is revealed. Again another great build up and climax to the story. There was at least for me no guessing the murderer too early and JL leads to another great final showdown. Apart from the main murder / mystery plot there are also several sub-plots. The shenanigans with Gary and Darren his friends. The family drama, etc. All brilliantly woven into each other to make for the most entertaining book I have read in a while.
This book's strength also lies in the vibrancy of its characters, the dialogues and the plot. Phil and Tom start to become more involved with each other and you really feel the process of them falling in love until the fact is undeniable. Phil is really protective of Tom but only out of his concern for him becoming involved in situations that puts his life in danger which Tom seems to have a talent of doing. I also like the secondary characters, Tom's best friend Gary who is a complete drama queen but lovable all the same. A great sub-plot if you will, letting you know that Tom is still dealing with everyday life and its trials while in the middle of being involved in an attempts murder on his sister. The characters just leap off the page at you. The very traditional British feel is still there as with the first book, with continuous tea drinking, customs and traditions.
I have loved both books! Tom is now one of my fav all time characters and I really hope that there will be more adventures to come. After all, where Tom is, murder is only around the corner.
About The Author
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.
She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Contact The Author
Also by Jl Merrow
I’m offering a free signed paperback copy of the 2013 Rainbow Award winning romantic comedy Slam!
(I’m happy to ship internationally) to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour, plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate!
Don’t forget the question at the end of my post.
I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 7th April, GMT on my website.
Good luck! :D
Blog Tour Dates
Tues 25th March: Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews: Impure Thoughts
Weds 26th March: Cup o’Porn Wednesday Whine & Wine: What’s your poison?
Thurs 27th March: Joyfully Jay: More tea, vicar?
Fri 28th March: Cup o’Porn: Giveaway post
Tues 1st April: The Novel Approach: Ever Decreasing Circles
Weds 2nd April: Top 2 Bottom: Inns and Outs of British Law
Thurs 3rd April: Elisa Rolle: Excerpt
Fri 4th April: RJ Scott: Pets in fiction