Two Book Reviews

Tangled Web by Lee Rowan

image I absolutely loved this, from beginning to end, as my previous posts have indicated.  Brendan Townsend is a slightly naive 23 year old who has been entangled with a fellow from his university – whilst in college the relationship has been slightly circumspect and Brendan didn’t realise how rash and indiscreet his friend and lover was, but once they move into rooms together, Tony’s full “ungentlemany” behaviour comes to light when he rashly takes part in a publicly viewed sex act in a Molly House.  Brendan seeks advice from his elder brother, and then is referred to Major Carlisle, his brother’s superior officer in the Peninsular War. Brendan then realises that his boyhood infatuation with Tony is nothing compared with the true love he begins to feel for Philip Carlisle.

This is probably the truest “Regency Romance” I’ve read in the M/M genre since I started out – Lee’s expertly light touch is perfect for the wit and the style of the era.  You would never guess that the writer wasn’t English to the core, and that’s the biggest compliment I can give it.  The inborn sense of Class within the book seems like it could only be written by someone raised in a class-fuelled society.  Brendan’s (and others) inherent snobbery about Tony’s background as the son of a Merchant is nicely explored, and that sense of “Well, you can’t expect anything more from a man of his type” is ingrained throughout, even echoed by other merchants, who consider Tony to be “jumped up” and “nouveau riche”.  The research regarding smuggling and the sections involving the horses were so impressive, and I learned a lot, which I don’t often end up saying in this period!

I’ve seen this described as a “gay for you” and a “May and December” – but in fact it’s neither. Carlisle is 20 years older than Brendan, and May to December in my eyes needs to be a lot more than that! – and Carlisle isn’t GFY, he’s bisexual. (If we are going to define things by today’s terms, whereas I rather think he just loves souls, rather than plumbing.)

Anyone who loves Georgette Heyer will enjoy this hugely. If you already love Lee’s nautical stories, this is a sure fire winner, but if you’ve shied away from reading the nautical stories because boats don’t float your boat, then give this a try—because it’s a winner.

L.A. Heat by P.A. Brown


I am probably the last reader of the genre to get my hands on this, so my review is probably quite superfluous, but I enjoyed this one hugely too. I’m a big fan of good mysteries, but they really have to be the sort of book where there are enough suspects to have me charging down the Red Herring route, and L A Heat certainly does that.  This is the first in Pat’s series of LA novels.

Los Angeles Homicide Detective David Eric Laine, himself deep in the closet, is determined to bring the killer to justice. The last thing he wants or needs is the complication of a lover. Then he meets Chris Bellamere, computer analyst and Silverlake slut and just maybe their closest link to the serial killer. Then all hell breaks loose when David finds that he’s falling in love with his prime suspect.

Chris Bellamere isn’t looking for attachments, but he finds himself drawn into Homicide Detective David Eric Laine’s dark world of death, criminal records and brutality despite some serious misgivings. Then it becomes clear the sadistic killer David is hunting has focused his cruel attention on Chris. Will even David be able to save him?

I really can’t say more without spoiling it, but as there IS a series with the same protags, I think you can guess the answer to the rhetorical question!  Brown leads us into the rich, and the seamy world of LA gay communities, and we meet enough blond men to give us more than enough suspects. I suspected everyone by the end.  I loved the growing relationship, the way that David deals with his job, his hideously bigoted partner, and his growing attraction to Chris. I really liked the fact that David was flawed in many ways, physically and otherwise – and that his body wasn’t Hollywood perfect but still managed to exude such sex appeal.

Highly recommended.  I shall be buying the set now, even though i got the first one from the library.

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