Tyack and Frayne are back in action. You can’t keep these two down for very long even if their intention is to take a holiday in deepest darkest Cornwall away from everything and everyone, but with Lee around they’re never alone for very long…… Another excellent instalment in the Tyack and Frayne mystery series, full of Cornish mystery, magic, celtic folklore and ceremonies. Want to find out more? Then read on……..
We are also jumping with joy on SSBR as Harper is here with us today in person and will be talking a little about her book and will be doing a reading for us – WOOHOO!!! Plus an amazing giveaway. Check it out!
Author: Harper Fox
Release: 20th June 2014
Genre: M/M (mystery)
Now Lee is free from the malevolent ghost of Morris Hawke, his clairvoyant gifts are expanding fast. Too fast for comfort, and he and Gideon find themselves wrestling with his unsettling capacity to see the future. In some ways this new power is wonderful, and Lee finds himself a local hero after predicting a flood.
But there’s one aspect he can’t bear, and that’s the blind spot he sees when he thinks about the wedding plans he and Gideon have started to make. It’s as if this event, which he wants more than life, simply isn't going to happen. He’s troubled and stressed out, and Gideon decides to intervene, whisking him off to an isolated creek-side cabin in the mysterious Cornish ria country. All is peaceful there, and the clamour in Lee’s head subsides. It’s time for companionship, peace, good food and plenty of sex...
Then a young man wanders out of the woods and turns their blissed-out retreat into chaos. Kitto is harmless – a charming drifter, very handsome. To Gideon he’s just a kid, flesh and blood and a bit of a nuisance. But Lee reacts with horror. Since when can Gideon – Lee’s rock, his connection to the real world and sanity – see ghosts?
Mysterious midsummer is rising in the deep green Cornish countryside, and as the village gears up for the eerie Golowan festival, Lee and Gideon face their toughest case yet: a battle between the real and spirit worlds that threatens to tear their own apart.
Cornwall; land of Celtic legend, myth and the occasional Celtic festival. This provided the backdrop and once again Lee Tyack and Gideon Frayne find themselves in the midst of evil doings in a small Cornish village. I just LOVE this series. I LOVE Lee and Tyack. I LOVE the setting. That’s a whole lot of love going on there, but I can’t help myself when I latch onto something I love. OK, I could be bias here being a born and bred Cornishman, but Harper's powerful and evocative writing brings all the vivid imagery of Cornwall to life and weaves a psychic thriller style story with what for me now is two of her most wonderful characters.
The story begins with them both out on their own looking for wedding rings for each other. Lee is with Ziek and has a premonition in the middle of the shopping centre. Lee managed to save many lives on that day but his premonition immediately catches the attention of the media. When I read this it reminded me very much of a natural disaster that happened several years ago now in the village of Boscastle in North Cornwall where unfortunately and number of people did lose their lives. Oh if only they had Lee there for real at the time. The thing is Lee is stunned that his abilities have not only incorporated the now but also has predicted the future. This puts him in a flat spin which he can't fathom out. I could so feel the confusion in him. The locals, the media, all start descending on him as some kind of saint and prophet at which stage it becomes all too much and Lee and Gideon decide to take a break and get away from it all on a holiday.
They choose a remote cabin run by Ray Tregrear and shop keeper in a very small village that sells all kinds of mystical and herbal stuff. There are very few places left in the UK that are remote and lost to time, but even today Cornwall still has pockets of remoteness that all technological advances seem to have missed completely and this is where Lee and Gideon find their little getaway break; no internet, no cell phone reception, just pure nature and no trimmings. Well, this led to one of the hottest open air love making scenes I have ever read. The heat level between these guys having their wicked way on the cabin veranda in broad daylight was off the heat scale. A cold shower was definitely needed after that and oh my was my husband’s luck in that night – lol! Harper takes the sex to a whole new level between these guys at the beginning of the book that had me constantly adjusting myself. HOT, HOT, HOT!! I just loved the whole backdrop, very rural, very Cornish and very real. Harper brings her characters to life, but always stays true to the area and local inhabitants.
However, as they were enjoying their unfettered love making they were not so alone as it appears. This then leads the pair of them into another Lee and Gideon style investigation of sinister village goings-ons. A young man has gone missing and believed to have run off, but his disappearance is a lot more mysterious then first thought.
I just love the way that Harper gets the balance just right between the ethereal, mystic and paranormal side of the story balanced out with the down to earth solid facts and reality. The one woven into the other very nicely making even the more paranormal occurrences very believable. This time it's Gideon's turn to start seeing ghosts? Or is it? Well, as down to earth that Gideon the Copper is he first refuses to believe what is staring him in the face. It also leads to considerable tension in the relationship between him and Lee. It was heart-breaking at times to hear how these two could even have a cross word with each other. When they did, oh my, you could so feel the regret that both of them had in doing so. I believe this is also a test of a true relationship too and why should Lee and Gideon be any different, made them even more real for me. But they could never be mad at each other for long and riddled with guilt the forgiveness always comes and was also beautiful to read.
However, the more Gideon digs around asking locals about a certain boy called Kitto that disappeared a while ago, the more he starts to unearth and the more the alarm bells start to ring for the pair of them. The whole affair comes to a climax at the height of a midsummer's Celtic festival, all quite pagan in nature, but also a super backdrop for a supernatural kind of thriller with Celtic / pagan rituals that still take place in Cornwall today. Well, I can assure you they do and are very much alive. Here Harper uses the midsummer's festival of Golowan as her backdrop with the Celtic figure of Old Penglas to everything to a breath-taking conclusion. I found this was a fantastic idea to bring in the local traditions, giving the whole mystery a dark, Celtic, almost gothic feeling to the story.
During the final chase Lee falls and knocks his head and seems to have lost his powers, putting their lives on the line to rescue another and the final scene to this crime was as breath-taking and exciting as it was beautiful. I also had a few tears of joy and relief rolled into one myself.
Lee and Gideon are two of my all time favourite characters and the book ends on a high and was a joy to read. However, there’s hope as Lee starts to get a hint that his powers are possibly coming back. Nothing certain, but I ask myself is Harper leaving herself open maybe to another Tyack and Frayne adventure, by leaving the door open a little. I so hope so as I think I would be in withdrawal if I don’t get my next Tyack and Frayne fix!
Masked and Unmasked: the significance of Old Penglas in Kitto
Old Penglas was a perfect theme and symbol for Kitto, the fourth book in my Tyack & Frayne series. If you haven’t yet read the book, I’d love to give you some background – don’t worry, no plot spoilers!
Well, who or what is Old Penglas? You’ll also find him called Old Penglaze, but the translation is basically the same – Old Grey Head. On the simplest level, he’s a man dressed up in a sheet, carrying a wooden horse’s skull on a stick. He can make the skull’s jaws clack and frighten the kiddies. Not too scary, right? A quaint custom, a bit of fun for the tourists at Cornwall’s midsummer festivals.
Look deeper, and there’s something much darker beneath. Old Grey Head is very old indeed. The midsummer festival of Golowan is revived, but you don’t have to look far to find these sinister figures in much older contexts. Has anyone been to Padstow on May Day and got up close and personal with the ’Obby ’Oss? One flick of those sweeping black skirts, one painted glare from the enigmatic mask, and you know you’re in the presence of a numinous and ancient figure whose job it was to cast out Death and Winter at Beltane and, at Midsummer, to help the great wheel of the year turn from the Light to the Dark Half. Add percussive, heart-beat drums, a crowd of people chanting, firelight from flaming tar barrels, and Old Penglas is alive – quite independent of the dancer who bears him along, real and vivid, brought to terrifying life by the spirit of the crowd.
And what if those skirts are a real horse’s hide?
And what if that wooden skull looks heavier than it should be, and those carved sockets have a wicked gleam inside?
Yes, a perfect symbol for Kitto, and I couldn’t wait to use and explore it. Those of you who’ve followed along with Gideon and Lee’s adventures so far will know that Lee’s villains, the child-snatchers and murderers he’s helped the police track down, have appeared in his dreams and psychic flashes as mask-wearing monsters. It’s been Gideon’s task to help make them human again, to remove the masks. Yes, solid Gideon, feet on the ground, immune to ghosts and otherworldly visions…
What a great time to turn the tables! The press is hounding Lee after one of his psychic feats makes headlines. Gideon, ever protective, takes him away to a tiny creekside village. But no sooner have they settled into their holiday home when the spirit of a lost young man appears to Lee, asking him for help. The only trouble? Gideon can see this ghost too. In fact, as far as Gid’s concerned, Kitto isn’t a ghost at all. He’s real, nothing more than a runaway teen.
Gideon and Lee have been planning their wedding, but this role reversal throws them into conflict. Gideon can’t believe that he’s taking on some of Lee’s powers, and Lee is dismayed at the idea of losing his level-headed copper to the kind of life he’s been forced to live himself. So there was my symbolic dynamic right there – the biggest threat to Lee being the spirit unmasked, just an ordinary human face.
Against that I could set the Old Penglas figure in the village Golowan festival as a very real and tangible threat, but hidden away behind that terrible old horse’s skull. This gave me the opportunity to play with the ideas of life and death, to keep the suspense of Kitto’s identity woven all the way through the book.
I hope this has given you a taster of the Kitto story and the deeper dynamics behind it. Thank you to Mark for inviting me to talk to you today, and I hope you’ll leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning one of two sets of the whole Tyack & Frayne ebook series.
Video Author Reading
Watch it on our YouTube Channel ~ HERE.
Click on the cover for Amazon Purchase Links.
1) Once Upon a Haunted Moor ~ (Mark’s Review)
2) Tinsel Fish ~ (Mark’s Review)
3) Don’t Let Go (Mark’s Review)
About The Author
Bestselling British author Harper Fox has established herself as a firm favourite with readers of M/M romance. Over the past three years, she’s delivered thirteen critically acclaimed novels, novellas and short stories, including Scrap Metal (Rainbow Awards Honourable Mention),The Salisbury Key (CAPA nominated) and Life After Joe (Band of Thebes Best LGBT Book, 2011).
Harper takes her inspiration from a wide range of British settings – wild countryside, edgy urban and most things in between – and loves to use these backdrops for stories about sexy gay men sharing passion, adventure and happy endings. She also runs her own publishing imprint, FoxTales.
Harper is enjoying life in Cornwall after her move from Northumberland, and soaking up ideas and inspiration from the wildly lovely Cornish coasts.
Contact The Author
Also by Harper Fox…….
Harper will be giving away two sets of all four eBooks in the Tyack and Frayne mystery series. Just enter the rafflecopter below. Good Luck!
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