Christopher (Kit) Holmes is such a wonderfully normal character; a bit of a coward, just out of a bad relationship, writing career going down the drain and, according to his publicist, in need of a make over and a new story concept. He can be whiny and is truly resentful about being dragged down to a writers' convention, to try and save his career. On top of that he comes face to face with J.X. Moriarity, former cop turned writer and the man he had a wonderful interlude with, before coming home to a seemingly sincere and very apologetic lover, causing him to cave and stay with him. Both men seem to be good at hurting each other, despite their immediate re-attraction.
Despite the make over and attempts at coming up with a new story concept, the editor Christopher is supposed to impress has already made his mind up about dumping him anyway, not to mention the man gets killed, the same night Christopher issues a threat to poison him. It’s not the first murder.
No, the trouble for Christopher starts before that. He stumbles across a dead woman while trots through the worst weather in his new look to get to the convention. With Christopher discovering both deaths, convention members seem less than eager to spend time with him, suspecting him of being the murderer and J.X., being a former cop, locks him in his cabin. This part was a little tough for me, because even with J.X. being resentful of their past, he could have made it clearer upfront he wasn’t only acting on behalf of the others, but for Christopher’s protection as well. This had nothing to do with the excellent writing, but with my inability of handling this sort of situation.
Anyway, I understand J.X.’s reasoning, partly, at wanting to see Christopher suffering a bit (or maybe more than a bit) and behaving the way he does after they had sex. I can forgive him for that, but only because he did not know Christopher was no longer with David.
I thought the turning point for Christopher was when he finally admitted to himself that he was a coward for letting J.X. slip through his fingers and continuing his elderly sleuth series because it was safe. I can wait to find out what he’ll be writing in the second book of this series.
For J.X. it seemed there were two moments. First he leaves Christopher the key to his own cabin, which shows he still does trust Christopher and is done playing games. This essentially saves his life, because Christopher moves heaven and earth, so to speak, to get him found, while all the convention members suddenly seem to think J.X. is the murderer and skipped town. But, in the end, Christopher manages to find him and I think that is the turning point for J.X., seeing Christopher’s reaction, hearing about his frantic attempts to involve everyone in finding him. And they talk things out.
The ending is classic detective style; gathering all the suspects in one room, the sort of thing Christopher writes about. Only with Christopher leading it, being dragged into it against his will by J.X.. At first that is exactly what you get from the setting, Christopher feeling around, going through the motions. You start to think he has no idea about the killer, he even takes a moment to get back to J.X., making it look like he had plenty of motive to be the murderer. But then he turns around and points to the real killer. He admits they have no proof, but with some prodding he does manage to get a confession.
Reaching the last line of the book, I couldn’t help but think Josh wrote the whole story, just to be able to say that. :D
Great story, brilliant characterisation. It makes me want more and I think it’s a must for mystery lovers!!