Author ~ Angel Martinez
Publisher ~ Pride Publishing
Published ~ 20th September 2016
Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance
Vikash Soren, the perfect police officer except for his odd paranormal ability, never seems to lose his temper. Always serene and competent, he’s taken on the role of mediator in a squad room full of misfits. But on the inside, he’s a mess. Unable to tell his police partner that he loves him, Vikash struggles silently, terrified of losing Kyle as a lover, partner and friend.
But life in the 77th Precinct doesn’t leave much room for internal reflection. A confrontation with a stick-throwing tumbleweed in Fairmount Park leads to bizarre consequences involving pill bugs, statues and…time travel? If Vikash manages to survive the week and stay in one point in time, he might be able to address normal things like relationship problems. He just needs Kyle to have a little more patience. Maybe a few centuries’ worth.
This is the second book in the series, Offbeat Crimes, and whilst I think your reading experience would be richer if you read Lime Gelatin & Other Monsters first, this book can be read as a standalone.
The stories are set in Philadelphia and really bring the city to life. They are, I suppose, crime stories, but they’re definitely not just crime stories.
The 77th Precinct is in every way a Special Branch. They have on staff a werewolf, a vampire who can only eat washed blood, a snake-man, a pyro who can only produce fire when there is no humidity, a ghost who makes terrible coffee, a pink and blue raven with a filthy mouth and penchant for art, and the Lieutenant is a High Priestess to an Elder God, who must sacrifice regularly to prevent catastrophic manifestation. In Book 2 they add an animated leather jacket and a furry…Tim.
The book balances the mundane, the unbelievable and the absurd, weaving them into a story that could very easily have been either messy and confusing, or cliché. However, in this case the weave is masterful and the book amused, captivated and, as a writer, impressed me. The use of language is rich and poetic
Four inches of snow had fallen the night before, coating the browns and greens of the park in a uniform layer of white, softening the aggressive lines of statue plinths, hiding the imperfections that the spring thaw would reveal in shameless stripper fashion.
…and often very funny
Perched on top of the lieutenant’s doorframe, a bright-blue and neon-pink bundle of feathers flapped its wings and let out a raucous croaking laugh. Edgar, the department’s foulmouthed raven, finally decided to weigh in. “Water sports!” he called out. “Not safe for work! Fucking amateurs!”
The core story regards bugs; common or garden pill bugs. Except they grow to the size of a lorry, can teleport through time, and inject a venom that takes the mind of the victim with them. However, as in book one, there are many side stories, interesting snippets and pop culture woven through, along with the ongoing story of two men struggling to find a way to be together when the odds are stacked against them.
The sex is good, and relevant in the development of the characters and their relationship. I normally skip past the sex but there are funny and sometimes important little snippets imparted during the intimate scenes that make it worth reading every word. I particularly loved the scene in Book I where Kash and Kyle are making love while watching Lord of the Rings. The scene-by-scene progress of the lovemaking matched seamlessly the progression of scenes in the film.
Some people might consider that, at times, the book gets just a little too strange, especially when the time-slips start happening, and the matter-of-fact treatment of the ludicrous next to the mundane might put some people off. If you like everything neat and making logical sense you might struggle sometimes.
This is seriously the only “bad” thing I can find to say about this story. I not only loved, but was impressed by everything in both books. I’m very glad I got to read and review them and I will be looking out for any more in this series or by this author generally.
Lime Gelatin & Other Monsters (Off Beat Crimes #1)
Kyle Monroe’s encounter with a strange gelatinous creature in an alley leaves him scarred and forever changed, revealing odd abilities he wishes he didn’t have and earning him reassignment to a precinct where all the cops have defective paranormal abilities.
Just as he’s starting to adjust to his fellow misfit squad mates, Kyle’s new partner arrives. Tall, physically perfect, reserved, and claiming he has no broken psychic talents, Vikash Soren irritates Kyle in every way. But as much as he’d like to hate Vikash, Kyle finds himself oddly drawn to him, their non-abilities meshing in unexpected ways. If they can learn to work together, they might be able to stop the mysterious killer who has been leaving mutilated bodies along the banks of the Schuylkill.
Meet Angel Martinez
The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.
Published since 2006, Angel's cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You'll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don't expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.
She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.