Friday, December 16, 2016

Audiobook Review: Desert Foxe (Skyler Foxe Mysteries #5) by Haley Walsh

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Title: Desert Foxe

Author: Haley Walsh

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Release: 4th April 2016

Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins

Synopsis

Skyler and his friends go to Palm Springs for the annual White Party and find murder!
Out and proud high school English teacher Skyler Foxe and his posse of friends go to the annual Palm Springs White Party for a weekend of fun, frivolity, and luscious men. But there are boy troubles of all kinds ahead. Skyler's boyfriend and high school coach Keith Fletcher has to endure an embarrassing number of Skyler's former hook-ups, one of the SFC might be going solo, Skyler encounters unexpected and unwelcome participants at the party, and there's a murder on the dance floor, literally at Skyler's feet! Both Skyler and Keith are drawn into investigating more than murder when the FBI asks Skyler to do the unthinkable.

STORY

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NARRATION

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Mark’s Review

This series just keeps getting better and better for me. The SFC is back and this time Skyler gets to play with the big boys. No, I’m not talking about appendage size here - lol! I’m talking about the fact he gets his chance to go undercover for real with the FBI. So yes, this is most definitely notching Skyler’s investigation talents up a notch for sure and as usual it’s something he never plans but just wrong place wrong time again.

Every year Skyler and his friends go to a “white party” at Palm Beach. To be honest I always find the idea of these parties somewhat over the top anyway, but if you’re going to have a backdrop for another Skyler Foxe mystery than this is hilarious in many ways. This is what I love so much about this series is alongside the serious business of murder investigation there is a light heartedness and natural humour there that had me laughing and smiling like a loon. For me this is a perfect balance, love it.

This time Haley shifted the focus away a little from Skyler and Keith and in this book we have a lot more of Philip and Rodolfo, Alex and Rick. There is trouble in paradise at the beginning with Philip and Rodolfo, Philip wants to go to the white party as it’s a tradition with Skyler and Rodolfo doesn’t. These two guys are polar opposites and although they seem to be constantly bickering at the beginning they do get things sorted and it’s nice to see how opposites can be good for each other. Rodolfo is a hot head due to his Latin temperament and Philip is the cool, calculating and needs everything to be planned type. On occasions you could bang their heads together just like the rest of their friends but on the other you just smile as you know they can’t live with each other anyway. So it was nice to see these two bonding and becoming stronger after they get over each other’s tantrums. Jamie and Dave are still going strong so maybe we might get a little more of their relationship in the next book. So the chapters are nicely balanced out just giving a little more attention to the other characters.

As for Alex and Rick well I just loved the way Skyler reacted when he saw his underage students turn up to the white party. But seriously, these guys are your typical teenagers, probably more trouble than they're worth but you just can’t help loving them all the same. They decided they wanted the “gay experience” two teenagers desperately trying to grow up and branching out into adults. So yes, they got in underage and on a shoestring budget. It was so cute seeing their innocence in many respects, completely agog at all the events at the party, caught between feeling like an adult but still a lot to learn. Yes, legally they shouldn’t be there but it’s difficult at this age to try and shelter them from absolutely everything and maybe that could do more harm than damage in the long run anyway. It’s like you have to introduce teenagers to life step-by-step, still being selective of where the limits are but knowing that they will have to learn certain things at certain times. I think this is the art of a good parent and teacher to realise that what you have in teenagers is basically “adults in training” so to speak.

Of course it wouldn’t be Skyler unless a dead body falls at his feet while on the dance floor at the white party. This draws him automatically into a web of lies and deceit. This leads on to him helping the FBI and going undercover to bust a ring of crooks. However, here I learnt a lot as in order to make the bust Skyler has to go to an Indian reservation. It was great reading about this other culture, as with any culture, the good points and bad, but in the whole good. I loved the way that the Indian culture never saw homosexuality as an aberration but was revered and gay people are known as Two Spirits. Sad to think that the influence of the west has also now tinged the thinking of this acceptance somewhat too. This mix of cultures, their differences, their good and bad points, makes for a beautiful moral in this story. It’s these differences that need to be respected and loved but alas, as is the case, far too often people only see the negative. Skyler is wonderful, empathetic and understanding but doesn’t put up with any injustice: I guess this is what makes him such a good investigator. There is one very touching scene where he has a conversation with a tribal elder that made me feel this respect that Skyler has for people.

Of course during all of this the boys, Alex and Rick, still need to be chaperoned home but as the plot thickens Skyler’s friends are called into the action and keep palming the teenagers off on to the other to get them home. This made me laugh too to see Alex and Rick being ping-ponged from the one adult to the next to take them home as they get dragged into the action one-by-one. Until finally Sidney is called in to take them home. I LOVE SIDNEY! This feisty cop with the black curly hair, a wisecrack for every situation and Skyler’s oldest and best friend. It felt like I was halfway through the book desperately waiting for Sidney to make an appearance. She always brings a smile to my face the minute she appears. I would also adopt her as a best friend too.

So once again the gang are in action, coming to the rescue and solving the case. There are a few twists in the plot that gave extra depth to it and kept me enthralled all the way to the end. The murder-mystery plots are not over complicated in this series which is also the attraction for me, again the balance I was talking about earlier. Another wonderful wonderful Skyler Foxe adventure and I’m now officially addicted to this series.

NARRATION

I have nothing more to add really to the narration from Joel Leslie. Another book wonderfully narrated and every bit as entertaining as the previous books. The voice characterisations have now settled down nicely compared to the first book giving a consistency that is a delight to hear. The one thing I felt that did change with this book is actually the quality of the recording. Now maybe it was just my ears but I always play my audiobooks using the Audible app in my car. The quality of this recording seems to be far superior to that of the previous books. I don’t know if different equipment was used, a different studio or recording technique but the clarity and quality of this recording has been the best by far. So another delightful performance by Joel and can’t wait to continue the 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.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | PINTEREST

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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Series Reading Order and Purchase Links

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Title: Foxe Tail (#1)

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)

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Title: Foxe Hunt (#2)

Author: Haley Walsh

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Release: 21st July 2015

Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins  

Synopsis

High school English teacher Skyler Foxe finally hooks up with gorgeous assistant football coach Keith Fletcher. But is the man what he seems to be? Skyler still has his doubts when he spies Keith in some shady circumstances. And there are still some unanswered questions as to what exactly is going on at the high school. Who thought high school could be so sinister? Meanwhile Skyler's friends from college have their own problems. Lovers and partners, Evan and Jeff were kicked out of the army for Don't Ask Don't Tell, and the depressed Evan is found dead. Suicide, says the police, but Skyler thinks otherwise. It's Skyler Foxe on the hunt for a killer once more!

©2015 Haley Walsh (P)2015 Haley Walsh

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Title: Out Foxed (#3)

Author: Haley Walsh

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Release: 13th August 2015

Synopsis

While chaperoning a high school dance, English teacher Skyler Foxe has just been dragged out of the closet by the hunky assistant football coach - a man he thought he knew. But when Sky discovers Keith has been keeping a big secret, he breaks it off, leaving both of them lonely and confused. With troubles mounting from the press, angry parents, confused students, Skyler's own mom, and a murdered teacher, what's a boy to do but discover - once and for all - who's behind all the dirty doings at James Polk High?

©2012 Haley Walsh (P)2015 Haley Walsh

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Title: Foxe Den (#3.5)

Author: Haley Walsh

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Release: 14th September 2015

Length: 4 hrs and 5 mins

Synopsis

Foxe Den follows high school English teacher Skyler Foxe and his friends throughout the holidays, from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Along the way, Skyler gets to inflict his mother on his boyfriend Keith, meets Keith's parents, and just generally tries to navigate the treacherous waters of a brand new relationship.

Unlike the novels, this novella hasn't any mystery to solve. It's the sort of stuff that happens between characters once the audio has ended.

©2012 Haley Walsh (P)2015 Haley Walsh

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29066016

Title: Foxe Fire (#4)

Author: Haley Walsh

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Release: 4th February 2016

Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins

Synopsis

Can out-and-proud high school teacher Skyler Foxe find the Redlands firebug before he falls prey to a killer?

High school  English teacher Skyler Foxe is now out and proud, even though a few months ago he had no intention of being so. But since the cat is now out of the bag, he embraces it as well as his boyfriend, head football coach, Keith Fletcher.

But who is that good-looking gay parent hanging around Keith, causing mischief at the school as well as in Skyler's private life? And then someone from Skyler's past returns, stirring up trouble. Add to that a firebug and suddenly everyone seems up to no good, especially when a smoldering corpse is found outside of the local gay bar.

Skyler can't help himself and he gets up to his old sleuthing tricks once more.

©2014 Haley Walsh (P)2016 Haley Walsh

 

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29872686

Title: Desert Foxe (#5)

Author: Haley Walsh

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Release: 4th April 2016

Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins

Synopsis

Skyler and his friends go to Palm Springs for the annual White Party and find murder!
Out and proud high school English teacher Skyler Foxe and his posse of friends go to the annual Palm Springs White Party for a weekend of fun, frivolity, and luscious men. But there are boy troubles of all kinds ahead. Skyler's boyfriend and high school coach Keith Fletcher has to endure an embarrassing number of Skyler's former hook-ups, one of the SFC might be going solo, Skyler encounters unexpected and unwelcome participants at the party, and there's a murder on the dance floor, literally at Skyler's feet! Both Skyler and Keith are drawn into investigating more than murder when the FBI asks Skyler to do the unthinkable.

Audiobook Purchase Links

AMAZON | AUDIBLE US | AUDIBLE UK

AUDIBLE AU | AUDIBLE DE | AUDIBLE FR

Ebook Purchase Links

AMAZON | B&N

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