Thursday, October 27, 2016

Audiobook Review: Foxe Tail (Skyler Foxe Mystery #1) by Hayley Walsh

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Title: Foxe Tail

Author: Hayley Walsh

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Release: 14th April 2015

Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins

Synopsis

Gay teacher Skyler Foxe thought teaching English was murder. Wait till he falls into the real thing.

Skyler Foxe is a brand new English teacher in his hometown of Redlands, CA. He loves literature, loves his students, loves his friends, especially his best friend Detective Sidney Feldman. But he doesn't love keeping his orientation a secret, afraid of the backlash in this conservative county. But will murder thrust him into unwanted limelight?

Who killed the principal's son outside a gay dance club? And what's the connection to James Polk High? Is the macho football coach or his mysterious and gorgeous new assistant coach involved? Can Skyler trust anyone at the high school when there seems to be conspiracies around every corner?

©2010 Haley Walsh (Jeri Westerson) (P)2015 Haley Walsh (Jeri Westerson)

STORY

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NARRATION

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Mark’s Review

Now this book has been out for quite a while and it’s probably been on my TBR list for as long. so possibly nothing new for some but for others like me then maybe this might give the kick to get reading or listening. If it’s new to you then all the better. So many books and not enough hours in the day. I’m so delighted that after staying strong, ignoring the temptation of all the new releases I decided at last to listen to this book. I knew straight from the word go this book was going to tick all my boxes.

Cute English teacher? > Check! | Sexy protagonist? > Check! | Difficult students? > Check! | Good murder/mystery? > Check! | Good supporting characters? > Check!

So with all those boxes ticked off I joined Skyler and his merry band of friends on their first adventure. Maybe it’s not fair that I’m making all sound like the Famous Five, it’s certainly not. First my heart immediately warmed to the MC, Sklyer. All I can say is what a cutie! He’s just started his first teaching job so is trying to keep the fact he’s gay under wraps. Even though the law says he can’t be sacked for being gay he’s decided that discretion is the better part of valour. He wants the best for the kids he teaches and this came across very well in his character. However, his private life is something very different. He just hasn’t found Mr Right yet. He’s a bit of a tart and has been playing the field but nothing has lasted and now he has the reputation for being a bit of a whore among his friends. Even though his circle of friends consists of people who he’s had a fling with anyway, with the exception of one but I’ll come to her in a minute. Jamie is the computer techno whizz, as camp as a row of tents, to be honest screaming, but I absolutely adored him. Phillip the cafĂ© owner, who I found to be a little on the morose or negative side, maybe me but he definitely has an extremely dry sense of humour. Then there is Rodolfo the sexy Latin lover who is Skyler’s recent quest and then rejected. All in all a mixed bag of normal gay men / characters and that is what I particular like about this book. They are all natural, no six-pack, bicep bulging alpha-males but just normal gay guys. The dialogues are witty and natural and had my laughing out loud at times, funny as hell and even reduced me to a couple of snorts as well with some of the quips coming from them. All the time thinking this could be a night out with my friends – lol! This alone was enough to keep me reading.

Now we get Sidney, no it’s not a man, but Skyler’s oldest closet friend from school who is a detective in the police. She is in many ways the polar opposite to Skyler in a brother and sister kind of way. I loved the way how Sidney is always the calm and grounded person who is constantly having to bring Skyler back down to earth. The dynamics here were just super!

But what do you do when the man of all your wet dream fantasies turns up at school as a new teacher at the beginning of term? Yes, you make a big mess of first introductions, making you look like a bumbling idiot. This would so be me and this is Skyler too –lol! This guy, Keith, is sex on legs but he is also a bit of a mystery too. So a twisted love / hate relationship develops especially from Skyler's side. As far as Skyler is concerned he seems to blow hot and cold all the time. An absolutely impossible person to get to know. Just when you think he showing some kind of interest in Skyler the next minute he’s giving Skyler the snub. So Skyler is always in a complete dilemma over this guy, his emptions and hormones battling out inside over Keith with his logic and intellect. It was as though he too as a teacher has a high school crush himself. Again loved the dynamics between these.

But what happens when you stumble over a dead body in an alley way next to night club you’re visiting? Yes, you would be shocked, maybe want to throw up, go white, panic a little and then call the police. Skyler does all this but when he discovers who the victim is he has one major flaw in his character. Most normal people would now forget it and leave it to the police, but no not Skyler. Due to a little bit of fate, an insatiable curiosity that gets the better of him, decides to start a little investigating himself. Curiosity being his one real weakness and is almost the death of him as well. I just loved how this panned out, Skyler pretending to be innocent in all his snooping, while his friends are trying to talk sense into him he also gets them more or less involved. He drives Sidney mad, but what do you do when your best friend actually finds the breakthroughs that the police haven't yet discovered? Yes, Sidney gives him more than one ticking off but is glad of the info all the same. I just loved this balance of amateur, Miss Marple kind of investigating paired off with Sidney as the professional. It worked well for me and loved it. The murder / mystery is well thought out but it doesn’t take long to realise that something is going down n the school too. Is Keith involved? A question that drives Skyler crazy. Is it connected to the current investigation or has he just stumbled on it by accident? Again another thing that drives him crazy. So all in all a thoroughly entertaining murder/mystery that had me wanting to slap Skyler for his misplaced good intentions but hug him due lots of cuteness.

There’s a side plot I liked a lot too that is worth mentioning. He has one very troubled and disruptive teenager in his class. Skyler doesn’t see him as a bad person but someone who needs a little help and guidance. All his problems stem from the fact he’s gay but having trouble coming to terms and coping with let alone outing himself in small rural town with very conservative values. However, when Skyler breaks through that wall of defence and he opens up, it such a sweet moment to see how a teacher can really help and shape kids for the better. Maybe a pipe dream but every so often you will get through to that one teenager and set them on the right road. That’s why I and many others teach. Just for those moments where you know you can really be of help and make a difference in some small way.

As for Mr Sex on Legs, Coach and Biology teacher, Keith? Do Skyler’s wet dreams come true? Is Skyler’s gaydar completely out of order? Well, there is an HEA but the story isn’t over there yet I feel. That’s why I’M not delaying on going straight on to book two.

NARRATION

Joel Leslie is a new to me narrator and I was impressed with the way he narrated this book. I loved his voice characterisations but sometimes I felt they got a little confused but it didn’t detract from the listening experience. Jamie was suitably camp and had me creased up with laughter. Rodolfo’s Latin-American accent though was a little too thick or laid on for me which unfortunately made him sound a little unnatural. There are a lot of characters to play out in this book and this for me was the only criticism. The other voices I felt were wonderfully done brining the characters to life and suitable for their nature. I’m delighted to see that he’ll be narrating book two as the one thing I hate is changing narrators in the middle of a series.

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Audio Excerpt

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Meet Hayley Walsh

Haley Walsh tried acting, but decided the actor’s life was not for her. Instead, she became a successful graphic designer in Los Angeles, her hometown. After fifteen years of burning money in the ’80s and early ’90s, she retired from the graphics industry and turned her interests toward writing. She became a freelance newspaper reporter, wrote articles for quirky magazines, published award-winning short stories, and now writes an acclaimed gay mystery series, the Skyler Foxe Mysteries. She’s lived all her life in southern California, sampling wines and chomping chocolate. Yeah, it’s a living.

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Trailer

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