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‘Nathan Burgoine’s 2019 Audiobook Review

(‘Nathan not pictured. This is Max.)

Ever since Max entered our lives, I’ve been listening to even more audiobooks than normal. A young husky demands far, far more walks than an adult husky does, and so we’re often out and about, tromping through all sorts of weather. Luckily, my phone and some earbuds turn this into valuable listening time (and it turns out I routinely break 50 kilometres a week doing so—that’s thirty-odd miles for the imperials among us).

This year, Max’s walks treated me to some great audiobook experiences. Not always new (but new to me), here are a few of the real queer highlights of 2019, and some brief words about each.

Beautiful Dreamer, by Melissa Brayden (performed by Melissa Sternenberg) — Brayden accomplishes something I honestly thought impossible with Beautiful Dreamer: she gave me a familial reconciliation plot that I not only enjoyed, but rooted for. Elizabeth Draper is a little ball of sunshine in a small town running her own helping-hand/Jane-of-all-Trades business, and Devyn Winters is a high-powered real estate broker from the big city. Devyn’s brought back to Dreamer’s Bay after a family crisis, and Elizabeth helps her pick up the pieces. Beyond the family reconciliation plot, Brayden also does a brilliant job of depicting a small town without over-sugaring the realities, she continues to evoke wonderful, supportive friendships as equal to families, and I am here for all of that.

(Melissa Sternenberg is, as always, brilliant in her performance, and has done many of Brayden’s audiobooks, including the Seven Shores quartet.)

Not Dead Yet, by Jenn Burke (performed by Greg Boudreaux) — I love a fun paranormal, and Jenn Burke delivers a fresh take on the genre here, and Greg Boudreaux’s performance is top-notch. We meet not-quite-dead (but, not-quite-alive, either) “not-ghost” retriever of lost things, Wes Cooper, when he’s really not having a good day. He’s been hired to reclaim a stolen object, and stumbles into a murder mystery. Worse, despite him being invisible and ghostly at the time, the murderer seemed to be able to see him. When one of the only guys he’s ever loved becomes the lead investigator, things get all the more complicated, and the banter, snark, and mystery all balance out into a great story. It begins a series with the fellas, too, so there’s more where that came from.

Four Novellas, by Alyssa Cole (performed by Karen Chilton) — These four historical novellas, “Be Not Afraid,” “That Could Be Enough,” “Let Us Dream,” and “Let It Shine,” cross different time periods in US history and are all fantastic, but to keep it queer, “That Could Be Enough,” where quiet, staid, done-with-love Mercy Halston (maid to Eliza Hamilton) and a vivacious, flirtatious and gregarious dressmaker Andromeda Steil end up in each other’s orbits was flipping brilliant. I love stories that place queerness in history with equal parts hope and passion, and all the more so when done with Cole’s eye for detail and history. Every time someone says it’s impossible to tell uplifting stories about the marginalized in history without doing some sort of disservice, I bring up this quartet. And as if that weren’t enough, Chilton brings such an incredible performance to each of these stories she immediately hopped onto my “check out anything and everything she performs” list for future audiobooks, which was also how I found the contemporary Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, also by Cole.

Never the Bride, by Paul Magrs (performed by Joanna Tope) — This was the Bride-of-Frankenstein-settles-in-Whitby-to-run-a-B&B novel I never knew I needed, but desperately did. Older women buddy heroines fighting off the various (and delightfully sci-fi pulp) villains coming their way was a sheer joy to listen to, and Joanna Tope blows every moment out of the water with her performance. The structure of Never the Bride is all the more wonderful to listen to in pieces, as each chapter is quite self-contained, almost like a series of linked short stories, while building to a single climax. This is definitely one in the “not new, but new to me” pile, and I wish I’d bumped into it years and years ago, and while the main characters aren’t specifically queer, the story as a whole is so incredibly so, and supporting cast pop in and out.

Queers Destroy Science Fiction, edited by Seanan McGuire — There are some truly fantastic stories in this collection, and ditto the variety of performers. There were a couple of mis-matches of the two, but overall this collection was fantastic. If you’re looking for an upbeat whole, be forewarned that QDSF definitely comes down on the darker side of the scale, with a few stories peppered throughout to offer lighter, more optimistic takes, but the quality is worth the ride. Maybe just listen when the sun is out, and there’s a happy husky playing at your feet. J.Y. Yang, John Chu, Charles Payseur, and Jessica Yang penned four of the major standouts for me, and led me down rabbit-holes to find more of their work.

The Inn at Netherfield Green, by Aurora Rey (performed by Kiera Grace) — Aurora Rey audiobooks are the audiobook equivalent of putting on a warm sweater and finally sipping a hot tea on a chilly rainy day. The Inn at Netherfield Green made me break my usual pattern of only listening to books while walking the dog, and I listened to it throughout the day, indoors and out, from beginning to end. Rey spins a wonderful story using both opposites-attract and city-mouse/country-mouse tropes, giving us Lauren, a big-city New York advertising executive and Cam, a small-town English gin-maker. Rey creates realistic obstacles (not the least of which is the thousands of miles between their lives) when Lauren inherits the small-town pub and inn. Family, friendships, and chemistry round this out into the feel-good it becomes, investing the listener from step one.

This was just the most recent of a long string of audiobook successes I’ve had from Aurora Rey, including her Cape End Romance series, and her farm-to-table romance, Recipe for Love.

Reviewed by ‘Nathan Burgoine

 

 

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Reverie – Ryan La Sala (Sourcebooks Fire)

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A team of super-powered gay/straight high schoolers must save the world by traveling through perilous dreamscapes in Ryan La Sala’s enjoyably splashy debut novel Reverie.

The back cover hook: “Inception meets The Magicians” is a good way to approach describing the high concept fantasy storyline. Though it begins more like the film Memento, or, for a gay YA reference point Greg Herren’s Sleeping Angel.

Kane Montgomery is home from the hospital after being in a car accident he doesn’t remember. He’s lost memory of any events leading up to the crash, and the circumstances were pretty disturbing. The police found him on the bank of a river after he apparently stole his parents’ car and drove it into an historic mill where the car ignited. The specter of criminality or attempted suicide follows him around though he doesn’t feel like the kind of person who would do something so reckless. He’s also confounded by the fact the only damage he suffered was short-term amnesia and an odd pattern of burns around his head.

When he visits the scene of his accident, hoping to regain memories, the supernatural enters the story in the form of a giant, shadowy Lovecraftian creature that chases Kane from the burnt mill. At an appointment for a court-ordered psychological evaluation, he’s introduced to Mr. Poesy, an effete bald gentleman who wears make-up and nail polish and seems a lot more interested in finding out what Kane forgot rather than evaluating his mental status. Upon Kane’s return to school, things get even weirder as a group of students he only vaguely recalls are watching him like a hawk and possibly conspiring against him.

It’s off to a damn fun start.

Gradually, Kane comes to understand he’s part of the “Others,” a band of four teens who realized their magical abilities when people in their sleepy town of East Amity, Connecticut started having dangerous dreams from which they might not wake up without the Others’ intervention. After school, Kane gets sucked into one that involves a classmate’s daydream of a barbaric fantasy world where teenage virgins are being sacrificed to a giant spider. There, he discovers he can fire rainbow energy bolts from his hands. His lesbian teammate Ursula has super strength. Elliot creates illusions, and Adeline can penetrate people’s minds.

Kane also meets a mysterious fifth magical character Dean. Dean may or may not have been Kane’s secret boyfriend prior to the accident, which was actually a far bigger parapsychological catastrophe.

The turf for Kane’s adventure is inventive, and La Sala creates intriguing dream worlds that draw upon the curious workings of the subconscious mind. Everyday folks take on unexpected roles from futuristic storm troopers to Victorian ladies of high society, and the settings are grand and vivid with inspiration points from the sleeper’s waking day. La Sala’s writing is crisp and vibrant, and particularly in the book’s second half when the action ramps up, it makes you want to speed-read to the end.

The only problem is the workings of Reverie’s dream world get so knotty and elusive, the reader struggles to wrap their brain around how dreams spun out of control in the first place and what’s really at stake. Similarly, Kane’s magical ability: figuring out the plotline of dreams, never really shows up as an element of much consequence. Magic pops and flashes from the pages, but through the end one wonders what rules enable the characters to get from A to Z.

Still, there’s much to recommend La Sala’s début novel. It’s an unapologetic queer fantasy extravaganza, complete with a drag queen sorceress pulling the strings. For sure, the story has its campy moments, but another nice achievement is it never runs aground as parody. It’s YA urban fantasy from a gay male gaze meant to stand up to the work of Cassandra Clare and Rick Riordan. Notwithstanding some worldbuilding holes, La Sala largely succeeds in that endeavor.

Another nice facet is that Kane’s gayness isn’t a source of angst or external conflict. Though through visiting the inner worlds of older LGBT characters, La Sala pays tribute to the courageous shoulders on which young LGBTs like Kane stand.

An excellent pick for YA fantasy readers and especially fans of C.B. Lee, Rainbow Rowell, and ‘Nathan Burgoine.

Reviewed by Andrew J. Peters

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Tinsel – Kris Bryant (Bold Strokes Books)

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I’m a slowly recovering, though still unapologetic, Grinch when it comes to the holidays. The relentlessness of “Family is Everything!” isn’t always the most realistic message for queer people, and after multiple decades working retail and withstanding both holiday customers and holiday music, my joy for the season is, at best, muted.

Also, there’s that magic trick that happens as a queer person when you put on pretty much any holiday movie and see people like yourself magically vanish (unless in a more recent movie, where the heroine might have an queer-coded friend there to toss a finger-snap or two when she needs, I don’t know, a makeover or a shoulder to cry on about the chisel-chinned Christmas tree farmer who’ll be out of work if she follows her boss-slash-fiancé’s plans to level the town for a mall or whatever).

So, when I seek out some queerness for the holidays, I almost always head right on over to queer holiday romances, where the happy-ever-afters (or -for-nows) are all about us.

This was how I found myself with Tinsel, Kris Bryant’s most recent holiday romance novella, and found myself almost immediately smitten with the main character, Jessica, because Jessica, to put it mildly, is not in the spirit.

She’s recently dumped, albeit out of a relationship she knew had no real foundation to speak of, but worse, she’s been dumped because her former girlfriend has found someone else—and that someone else is one of Jessica’s co-workers, which is just awkward and awful on so many levels.

Added to that, someone she’d normally find attractive just spilled coffee all over her because they weren’t paying attention to where they were going.

So Jessica is already understandably grumpy, and that’s before she catches someone swatting a stray kitten out of his way on the street, and ends up with said silver kitten tucked in her coat, and heading to the closet vet to find out if the kitty is chipped or not.

Whereupon the beautiful woman who dumped coffee on her turns out to be the vet.

As meet-cutes (meet-spills?) go, this is not an auspicious start for Jessica and Taylor, and I was wholeheartedly buckled in for the ride. Because Jessica in a foul mood is self-aware enough to know she’s in a foul mood, but doesn’t quite have the impulse control to stop herself from snapping at, well, everyone, she never quite pushes the line into completely unredeemable jerk. But I did mention I’m a Grinch myself, so I personally was raising my metaphorical glass to Jessica at nearly every grumpy turn.

The good news, for those of a less Grinchy persuasion, is that Jessica does manage to gather her frayed reserves of patience and kindness, and it’s mostly to do with the aforementioned kitten and the beautiful veterinarian. With a little tiny fluffball of purring, huggy love in her life, Jessica’s course is nudged onto a more pleasant holiday path, and the end result is a worthwhile journey.

For a novella-length work, Bryant does a nice job of showing us Jessica’s life as it interacts with her family, her best friend, and her work in such a way as to paint a wider picture of Jessica (and also help to explain her foibles and general grumpiness in her current situation). More, the kitten’s antics walk the line between cute and saccharine well, including a small crisis and some great moments as Jessica relies on the caregiving advice of her best friend, given she has zero experience in the realm herself.

Tinsel is a zippy, well-paced narrative, and by the time Tinsel draws to a close, even the Grinchiest of readers should be drawn in, happy with the journey, and rewarded with some sizzle. And for those who maybe don’t like a Grinch as much as I do, not to worry: the kitten makes it perfectly clear that Jessica’s heart is already the right size, despite her denials that she couldn’t possibly keep a cat. Jessica just needs a bit of time to get there, and to recognize what might be with Taylor.

Reviewed by ‘Nathan Burgoine

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River Runs Red – Scott Alexander Hess (Lethe Press)

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Calhoun McBride: sixteen, a runaway from an orphan train, works night shifts at Snopes Brewery; hustles on the banks of the Mississippi River, trying to save money for a train ticket out West to Wyoming. Clement Cartwright: son of Irish and German immigrants, his father worked too at Snopes Brewery; left St. Louis to become an architect. Belasco Snopes: current owner of his family’s brewery, and heir to their fortune; twisted, cruel, addicted to cocaine, possibly mad. Dolores Brattridge: a sheltered member of St. Louis society; blessed, or cursed, with visions that may or may not result from the laudanum she sometimes adds to her morning coffee.

These four characters alternately narrate successive chapters of River Runs Red by Scott Alexander Hess, set during the hot and humid summer of 1891 in St. Louis, where their lives come together, explosively. Clement has returned from Chicago, commissioned to construct the Landsworth building, the first skyscraper in St. Louis (and second in the world); one stormy night he finds himself by the banks of the Mississippi River, where he meets Calhoun. After their midnight swim they begin an ongoing association that eventually Snopes uncovers and exploits, determined to discredit Clement. Dolores, propelled by dark premonitions of death and doom, tries to thwart them, only to exacerbate them further until they escalate climatically at Calhoun’s trial.

Hess has written another gritty, steamy (in all senses of the word), and atmospheric historical novel. He travels effortlessly from high society parlors to the shacks of the river drabs, easily capturing the cadences of cultured classes, and those lower down the social ladder. River Runs Red is aptly named: at times brutal, even in civilized arenas an undercurrent of violence flows throughout, be it from Man or Nature, and given to erupting unexpectedly.

One might not associate fin de siècle St. Louis, the “Gateway to the West,” with such southern noir; but River Runs Red combines the sultry decadence associated with the Mississippi Delta, with a veneer of eastern gentility, and spices it up with otherwordly elements, both European and non-European. It may be a short novel, but it packs a punch, like a river rat boxer. And like the Mississippi, the short chapters of River Runs Red lap at your ankles, but before you know it, the riptide of the story has drawn you in, and then there’s no way to resist the current of this narrative.

Reviewed by Keith John Glaeske

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How to Be Remy Cameron – Julian Winters (Interlude Press)

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The modern-day struggles of black, gay adolescence and cross-cultural adoption are the focal points of Julian Winters’ sweet, gawky high school drama How to Be Remy Cameron.

Seventeen-year-old Remy is not the kind of hero typically seen in contemporary YA. He’s an un-hung-up, popular kid entering his junior year at a public high school in suburban Atlanta, and he happens to have been adopted by a white couple, and he’s black and openly gay.

Unlike gay YA of the past, he’s not up against an unsympathetic world. Unlike most gay YA of the present, he’s not embattled by a search for his first true love, at least not as a primary theme. I wouldn’t categorize Winters’ novel as a “post-gay” or “post-racial” story. It’s a reflection of how identity and diversity have changed for the younger generation.

That’s a standard treatment for modern high school dramas, but what makes Remy’s story different is the narrative approach. There’s no mysterious stranger sending him notes or e-mails who might be Remy’s true love. There’s no surprise gay reveal of a friend or enemy Remy didn’t realize was waiting for him all along. Almost all the drama and conflict occurs between Remy’s ears. An AP English assignment to write an essay that answers the question: who am I? sends him into an identity crisis tailspin, and simultaneously, he must decide whether or not to meet his half-sister Free who reached out to him on Facebook.

Quintessentially adolescent, Remy becomes obsessed by that question of what defines him, and his essay hangs over him as an inscrutable cloud. Is he fated to forever be the guy who got dumped by his first boyfriend because he was too clingy? Does being the president of the school’s GSA make him too gay? Growing up looking different from his parents and younger sister, and as one of five black students at his school, he’s inevitably hyper aware of his blackness, but relating to his black classmates is also a complicated task. Then there’s the big question of whether it was the black birth family who gave him up who made him who he is or was it his white adoptive family?

Throughout Remy’s angsty ruminations, he’s surrounded by a supportive and diverse circle of friends. Winters adds nice touches to Remy’s high school world. The popular couple is the star quarterback and a cheerleader, but the quarterback is the school’s first girl on the team, and she’s Muslim and wears a hijab. The cheerleader is a boy who’s openly bisexual. The cool kids, including Remy, want to be popular but they bemoan corny school traditions and teenage clichés, demanding individuality. The portrayal is solid with some surprises for older readers. High school life has evolved considerably with respect to gender, sexuality and cultural diversity.

A well-handled example of the social challenges that remain is an incident at a party where Remy is propositioned by a white boy who thinks it’s a winning turn-on to gush about how he’s always wanted to be with someone black. Taken from Remy’s perspective, the creepiness and indignity of the encounter comes off with skin-crawling emotion.

Remy’s story is thin on plot, but his journey of self-discovery gains pace and tension when he decides to meet the half-sister he never knew he had. It’s so important to see cross-culturally adopted teens represented in YA, and Winters’ choice to stay in Remy’s head most of the time allows the identity formation challenges therein to be explored rather than glossed over as just another example of the changing modern family.

Would Remy have felt more comfortable in his own skin if he had been raised by his black family? Is he a ‘sell-out’ because he had the advantages of a white, middle class upbringing? Winters wades into those fraught issues fairly deep, though one wishes Remy’s white parents’ “we love you just the way you are” platitudes would have been unpacked a little more. As happens in a lot of YA, taken from a teen’s perspective, the parents lack a bit of dimension. Remy’s adoptive mom and dad are hopelessly uncool and slavishly emotionally available, but we don’t see whether or not they’ve put in the work to raise a child who is culturally different from every member of the family. Given the subject, it feels like an important matter to consider.

On other key issues, Winters’ is meticulous in considering how teenagers can navigate adult situations while minimizing emotional harm. Remy and his emerging love interest ask for consent to hold hands and kiss. He and his friends are exceptionally enlightened regarding gender expression and sexual diversity. Teachers swoop in to correct the few homophobic students in the classroom. It’s a nice reflection of the new world for kids growing up LGBTQ+ in the suburbs.

Remy’s first person, pop culture reference-dropping, excitable and snarky POV will delight hardcore YA fans while eliciting sighs and eyerolls at times from other readers. Nonetheless, his kind, painfully self-conscious personality is irresistibly charming.

A sure winner for fans of Becky Albertalli and David Levithan, and a great book for readers looking for black gay characters in YA.

Reviewed by Andrew J. Peters

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Stories to Sing in the Dark – Matthew Bright (Lethe Press)

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How do you write a cohesive review about a collection of short fiction which includes steampunk space-tombs and the concubines sealed inside waiting to die, a gothic novella, a story with a self-aware film character fighting his way out of a Hays Code era required death, and a noir thriller retelling of The Wind and the Willows?

I’m not sure it’s possible, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a collection that cast so wide a net, but here’s the most important thing said first: not only does Stories to Sing in the Dark succeed, it’s my favourite collection of the year, and I can’t imagine there’s a chance of it being deposed before 2019 comes to an end.

Matthew Bright has a genuine talent for fresh angles. He crafts on the frameworks of ideas that could have gone a dozen different usual ways, and then veers away. Take “The Library of Lost Things” (a reprint from Tor). A library of books that no one has ever seen made up of stories that fell through the cracks? Yes, okay, but wait, why is the librarian of the place hiring someone without any inclination to read at all?

And did the rats just talk?

It’s these little zigs when the reader expects a zag that Bright does so well.

In “The Concubine’s Heart,” we meet Qiaolian, who has been sealed in a space-borne steampunk tomb of the Empress with the other concubines, and the set-up is more than a little bleak. With no food or water, they are expected to pay at the side of their lost mistress until the ship flies into a star, or, more likely, they die of starvation or thirst. What could have been a completely grim and dark tale is instead given just a sliver of hope (without shying away from the realities the woman faces), and Qiaolian, who has lived her life feeling like a failure due a defect of her heart, instead finds strength and opportunity.

The other steampunk tale hands a completely different tone to the reader. “Antonia and Cleopatra” are a mother and daughter team unlike any I’ve ever read (and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible), where a series of caper-like complications creates a tongue-firmly-in-cheek adventure with borderline slapstick moments mixed with seriously great wordplay, language that’s pitch-perfect for humour, and even a bit of mayhem and ancient evil curses and perhaps a lost soul or two.

Stories to Sing in the Dark also includes a trio of retellings, a queerly reframed “A Christmas Carol,” where the ghosts are sassy gay icons and the truth of Scrooge’s pain has a different source (and a different target). The truly chilling “Golden Hair, Red Lips” brings Dorian Grey to the Castro at the height of AIDS and through his eyes the story manages to deliver something both horrifying and defiantly triumphant. And I don’t even know how to begin with “Croak Toad,” the noir crime thriller retelling of The Wind in the Willows, other than to say by the time I was done this story, I wished I could hate Bright for coming up with the idea, but the story is just too enjoyably twisted and he’s just too nice. Maybe next time.

The queerness in Stories to Sing in the Dark remains a strong presence throughout, and beyond the stories mentioned above, we get to see a drag performance in a nebulous, future Manchester in “The Last Drag Show on Earth,” and the “ghosts” in the audience (somewhat left up to interpretation of the reader here) add a trace of melancholy and shiver to what isn’t perhaps as quite a sad story as one might think. There’s ambiguity here, and in such a perfectly queer way.

Similarly, “In Search of Stars” brings us a man not-quite-brave-enough to try a door that might lead to somewhere he could find… something, and instead settling for one-night stands that end with a vaguely sinister (but also dreamy) fate for those he brings home, though the aid of some alchemical paint. The stay-or-go of the story doesn’t lend itself to happiness, but it still manages something akin to an aching sort of triumph.

And “Director’s Cut”—a story that had me wound tight and hoping-against-hope—tells the tale of a character in a movie with the dawning realization as things repeat over and over that his role is written to be a tragic one, and his battle against all too real foes for a chance at something other than the demanded fate. I loved this story, both in and of itself and as a queer reader and writer. A narrative “fuck you!” to the Hays Code, I frankly wanted to stand and applaud when I finished “Director’s Cut.”

At the end of the collection is the novella-length “No Sleep in Bethlehem,” a story that could cheerfully (well, perhaps grimly) hold hands with a Shirley Jackson tale, and leaves one wondering if there’s any hope for the two men, or if this will be a sole-survivor (or worse) right to the last decaying moments. The revelations of the darkness in the tale, grounded so firmly in a contemporary evil transplanted to the time and place of the story, are profoundly disturbing (and so specifically queer) and the result is sublime, even as it horrifies.

Stories to Sing in the Dark covers so much ground, so much time, and so many different worlds, and yet as a whole it does exactly what it says on the tin: it sings. There’s a chorus here of very different tales, yes, but the theme and the whole has a cadence to it that’s thoroughly satisfying, and a tempo inclusive of just enough hope and humour amongst the grim for those of us who most often shy away from the dark, the disturbing, or the horrifying.

Reviewed by ‘Nathan Burgoine

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Breathe – Cari Hunter (Bold Strokes Books)

41G3SDpH4aLBuy from Bold Strokes Books

Cari Hunter is one of my favorite action/adventure/romance authors. I thought her Dark Peak Series was terrific, and I’ve also enjoyed each of the one-offs I’ve read. If you sense a “but” coming up here, you’d be wrong. Breathe is easily their equal, a snappy combo of police procedural and romantic beginnings.

Jemima Pardon (Jem) has a reputation for bad luck on her paramedic assignments (breech births, impossible rescues, etc.), but it’s no worse than Police Constable Rosie Jones, who finds herself working on the same victims. Of course, they keep meeting accidentally until the spark is struck, then they’re off investigating the death of a teenage boy with the back of his head caved in, leading to an all-out search for a mysterious girl named Talia.

One of the reasons I read is for immersion, and Hunter accomplishes this on a couple of fronts. First, the Brit slang. I love it. Whenever I encounter a culture different from my own, I always gravitate toward either its food or its music (or both). Here, Hunter makes British junk food into idiomatic delicacies I had to Google some recipes for. And if the references are occasionally obscure to American ears, context usually wins the day.

Hunter also immerses the reader in water. No major exterior scene here is complete without a downpour. It’s either misting, raining lightly, or pissing down. The British have as many terms for rain as the Eskimos do snow, and I think they’re all collected here. The book has so much water I wondered if the title wasn’t intentionally ironic. Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s certainly an element to contend with and use to ramp up tension during those action scenes Hunter does so well.

But it’s not just the action scenes that pop. The burgeoning relationship between Jem and Rosie is both sweet and unsentimental, and it unfolds as naturally as does the plot. At no time does it feel rushed or simply one of the elements that needs to be balanced. They have charming chemistry, and I hope to see it continue.

Cari Hunter’s Breathe is a worthwhile, solid entry in her catalog, sure to please old and new fans. But don’t forget your rubbers and your mac. It’s pissing outside.

JW

© 2019 Jerry L. Wheeler

 

 

 

 

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