Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M mystery/romance from JL Merrow. I’ve recently enjoyed her recent books, PLAYED! and OUT! so I stepped into her murder-mystery M/M romance Plumber’s Mate series, and I was not disappointed! BLOW DOWN is the fourth book in the series, but I had no trouble loving it despite not reading the earlier books.
About the book:
Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.
The last thing newly engaged plumber Tom Paretski needs is to stumble over another dead body. He’s got enough on his mind already as the reality of his impending marriage sinks in. Not only is his family situation complicated, his heroism at a pub fire made him a local celebrity. Now everyone and their uncle wants a piece of his psychic talents.
Hired to find a missing necklace, Tom and his fiancé, private investigator Phil Morrison, wind up trying to unmask a killer—and there’s no shortage of suspects, up to and including the local bishop himself.
As Tom and Phil try to uncover the truth, they find themselves pulled in all directions by the conflicting pressures of their families and their own desires. But the murderer they’re up against is a ruthless schemer who won’t hesitate to kill again. If Tom and Phil aren’t careful, their love—and all their plans for the future—could be blown down like a house of straw.
Warning: Contains a bishop of questionable Christian charity, a necklace of questionable taste, and a plumber of questionable nationality who may be running out of time.
This is the fourth book in a series, but I didn’t have any trouble enjoying it without having read the previous three books.
Tom Paretsky is a plumber with a skill that allows him to find “lost” things. Unfortunately, he often finds dead bodies, it seems. He’s newly engaged to Phil Morrison, a private investigator. Tom’s called in as a favor to his sister Cherry, to find something lost, a valuable diamond necklace, for uppity Amelia Fenchurch-Majors. This puts him on the cross side of Amelia’s step-daughter, Violet Majors.
And, when he discovers a body in the midst of the church picnic fundraiser it’s a big, big problem.
Okay, so this is a mystery and it has lots of peril–some bits more mild than others–but it’s also a character study. Tom is fantastic. His language is sublime. I never, for an instant, was confused about his Britishness.
“So, I’ve had everyone and his bloody dog asking me all kinds of crap ever since, up to and including Will it rain tomorrow? and Can you just fill in this lottery form for me? ta very much.”
“That’s just silly. You can’t do anything like that.” She paused. “Can you?”
“Sis, I live in a two-bed semi in Fleetville. What do you think? But try telling them that. Everyone seems to think psychic means whatever they bloody well want it to mean.
Tom and Phil are a sweet couple, still trying to figure out what to do with their relationship. When will they marry? Where? Will they move to Tom’s house, Phil’s flat or elsewhere? Tom has yet to meet Phil’s family–and that’s a fun Sunday roast dinner scene.
Seriously, I was so entertained by Tom I almost didn’t care at all about the murder mystery. Though, the investigation continues and it’s complicated and sordid and there’s plenty of dead-ends and fits and starts. Tom has such a fun and fresh outlook. His dry humor just sings to my soul. I love his bestie, Gary, who makes it perfectly clear that he and his hubs wouldn’t mind a bit of four-way with Tom and Phil. Those sassy blokes! This regular-guy-with-a-gift mystery is just good reading. Expect a harrowing moment or two; the killer sure doesn’t want a psychic getting the better of him (or her!) and might take the opportunity to snuff Tom’s candle. Little bit of sexytimes, but it’s not a big part of this story at all. That said, I liked that their relationship progressed nicely, and in a way that very likely leads us into further mystery stories down the pike.
Sign me up!
About the Author:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, and English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards Finalists.
JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.