Title: Winter Kill
Author: Josh Lanyon
Narrator: Gomez Pugh
Length: 7 hrs + 21 mins
Release: 30th October 2015
Genre: M/M (murder / mystery)
Clever and ambitious, Special Agent Adam Darling (yeah, he's heard all the jokes before) was on the fast track to promotion and success until his mishandling of a high profile operation left one person dead and Adam "on the beach". Now he's got a new partner, a new case, and a new chance to resurrect his career, hunting a legendary serial killer known as the Crow in a remote mountain resort in Oregon.
Deputy Sheriff Robert Haskell may seem laid-back, but he's a tough and efficient cop - and he's none too thrilled to see feebs on his turf - even when one of the agents is smart, handsome, and probably gay. But a butchered body in a Native American museum is out of his small town department's league. For that matter, icy, uptight Adam Darling is out of Rob's league, but that doesn't mean Rob won't take his best shot.
You can always trust Josh Lanyon to come up with a great murder-mystery, combine it with great characters and a dose of M/M romance. I loved listening to this gripping tale of murder in a small and remote town that has been turned on its head due to recent events.
The FBI are called in to investigate a body that has been found in the woods to see whether it ties in with a serial killer they are currently chasing. The scene is set and we are introduced to FBI agent Adam Darling. I loved this character and Josh definitely creates a persona of someone although trying to remain as detached and professional as possible also has his hang-ups and flaws. This gives him an air of detachment and aloofness that can be misread as being cold and distant. But I guess this is only to be expected from an FBI agent. He meets the local Deputy Sheriff Robert Haskell and the attraction is there immediately but as expected the physical attraction is one thing but can they find a way or a future together while being involved in an investigation? For me Robert is the more laid back one with his feet normally planted firmly on the ground until Adam throws him for a loop. Adam on the other hand tries to stay aloof for the sake of keeping a professional distance but as the investigation proceeds their “working relationship” quickly closes where they find themselves in situations where they need and depend on one another.
I loved how this aspect worked out. At first it’s just sexual attraction but they both start to feel something more. Although Rob is the first one to admit to himself and Adam that this is more than just stress relieving sex. Adam still tries to carry off the “we can’t get involved” facade as long as he can until there is also no way around admitting what he is feeling. Can Rob break down these walls put up by Adam? Well, he certainly takes the challenge on for sure not being someone who gives up easily. These two characters are well balanced and work perfectly together. I also found myself laughing at times how Robert would make fun of Adam and his FBI ways. Although at times they would also infuriate him, as the FBI can swoop in and leave a trail of disruption behind them but it’s Robert who still has to live there and get on with the locals after the mess has been cleared up.
I loved the whole murder-mystery aspect of this story too. With more bodies and people being killed than you can shake a stick at - lol! No seriously, I found it really intriguing to see how old cases that have long gone cold from the distant past start to have a direct bearing on recent ones. It’s all nicely plotted out with lots of action and will keep the reader intrigued and on the edge of their seats for the duration of the story. Josh really does write excellent murder / mystery stories in thier own right. I enjoyed these a-ha moments so much when something comes together that you hadn’t expected. I’m not the kind of reader who tries to work out whodunnit from the word go but like to sit back more and be taken for the ride. Even then I reckon Josh throws in so many red herrings as two murderers start to become apparent that even the most skilled whodunnit fan I think would have their fun and wouldn’t be able to guess until much later in the book. Especially along the lines of who killed who. If had but only one small critiscm is that I just felt for me personally everything came to light a little abruptly at the end considering all the build up.
An excellent thriller indeed with all the right ingredients to keep me invested every time I switched on the audiobook. And it’s this balance between an excellent thriller and having characters that are romantically involved that Josh gets just right in this book and most others I have read from her. You never get more of something and not of the other, the mix of romance and thriller never becomes distorted. The focus is always well balanced, you feel the romance developing at the same pace as the thriller both keeping me absolutely intrigued all the way.
Do Rob and Adam find a way to maybe make a relationship work? Well, all I can say is, as with everything in life, it’s always a matter of give and take. Rob and Adam meet a stalemate in their relationship and if it is to go to the next level then one has to give up something. For two people who love their jobs so much and living a long way from each other when not being involved in the same investigation will always be the defining question as to whether things can continue or not. Well, upon a lot of reflection someone does give something up to give the relationship a chance but I’m not saying who here as that would be telling. All I can say is I was left with a goofy grin and thinking, yes - right choice!
This was my first book by Gomez Ough and when the voice first came over my car speakers I must admit I wasn’t really sure what to make. I always keep an open mind as narrators like authors have thier own style or voice. However, after about the first chapter was done I was utterly convinced that this will be a great narration for a great book. So after getting warmed up to Gomez’s voice I was taken on a rollercoaster ride of action, mystery, intrigue and M/M lovin’. Combine this with fantastic voice characterisiations that were spot on for each character then I was sold completely. There are a lot of characters in this book, as is Josh’s writing all unique in their own way and all having their part to play. Gomez really brought these character’s to life and was sorrry when this listening experience had to end.
Meet Josh Lanyon
A distinct voice in gay fiction, JOSH LANYON is the multi-award-winning author of nearly seventy stories of male/male mystery, adventure and romance. Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews Award for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, and the first recipient of the Goodreads M/M Romance group's Hall of Fame award.