My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this Seattle based urban fantasy. Thad is at loose ends. He’s lost his job and is having trouble landing another. His self confidence has taken a blow. About the only thing in his life is his dog. One night he walks into a new local restaurant and meets the chef, Sam Lupino. They quickly end up in bed and just a quickly Sam backs off. It takes time for a relationship to build and while Thad isn’t new to one night stands, he feels the Italian immigrant is someone he wants a relationship with. Sam wants that too but there are secrets in Sam’s life, not the least of which is his relationship with his adult-aged son, Dominico (who’s probably closer to Thad’s age than Sam).
In the meantime, Thad has also struck up a new, platonic relationship with Jared a young man he’s met while doing charity work. Jared is definitely the one night stand type, frequently the clubs and burning a torch for Thad (even if he still isn’t interested in anything monogamous).
All of this is set against the backdrop of a the murders of several gay men in the area. At first it seemed to be a dog attack but as the body count rises, all of them gay men, they realize their might be a serial killer among them, one who kills like a werewolf. Thad and Jared realize they could be next.
I will sad Thad vacillates on whether or not he should stay with Sam a bit much for my taste and I felt like I knew Jared better than I did Sam (Most of Sam’s on page time seemed to be in bed). At the end I could have easily seen Thad going with Jared over Sam. That aside, I did have fun with this one.
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Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the second in the Helen trilogy. While most of the Pendergast books are stand alones, this is definitely part of a three story arc and wouldn’t make much sense if you’ve not read Fever Dream. Honestly, for me this was too Hollywood, especially the end. It was less mystery and more action/thriller which isn’t why I read Pendergast. I also don’t like vigilante stuff that much and that was this.
It opens with him and his betraying brother in law Judson Esterhazy trying to kill each other in the moors of Scotland. Judson knows he’s shot Pendergast but doesn’t do the intelligent thing, stay there until a) Pendergast bleeds out or b) disappears under the quick-mud of the bog and spends the first half of the book wondering if Pendergast is gone when the search party can’t find his body. The rest of the first part of the book are all of the characters trying to cope with Pendergast’s loss (except for Constance now locked up Pendergast’s aunt’s old room in the mental institute. We do get her strange story which makes it seems she’s been pulled out of the past to this day).
Once Pendergast is back in the picture, he’s trying to find Judson while Judson is trying to find a way to isolate and kill Pendergast by using his weaknesses against him (i.e. Constance). Pendergast is motivated because of what Judson told him after he’s been shot that Helen was still alive.
It was entertaining enough but I didn’t like the path it took Pendergast on and the ending and everything with Constance was obvious and rather dumb, too Hollywood. I’ll finish the trilogy of course but it’s not my favorite part of the Pendergast series
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