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MandyM

MandyM

Stuff I'm reading... Mostly romance and Scifi/Fantasy.

A Casual Weekend Thing

A Casual Weekend Thing - A.J.  Thomas Enjoyable m/m romance/mystery. The author really takes her time building up these characters who are both a bit fucked up. Detective Christopher Hayes is recovering from a shooting when he finds out that his brother (a convicted pedophile who he hasn't had contact with in 20 years) has committed suicide. On his way to Montana to sort out the mess he hooks up with a gorgeous man (Doug) in a gay bar. Later he's surprised to find Doug is the officer in charge of his brother's case. Chris has a lot of other stuff going on in his life. He suffers from ADD, he's been attracted to his straight man-whore partner, Ray, for several years, and he's addicted to ultra-marathons, a result of being figuratively 'on-the-run' from his brother since he abused him as a child. He's also dealing with the fact that his injury might mean the end of his detective career.Police Officer Doug Heavy Runner (I love the traditional American Indian names - so poetic) has reluctantly returned to his home town to care for his sick mother, despite the local prejudice against Indians on the nearby reserve. He's closeted and has been through some pretty abusive situations when he was working undercover for the Miami PD. He's a remote area rescue officer and he finds Peter's body and works with Chris and the FBI to solve the case.There's so much going on with these two MC's. Almost too much. I like that the story was layered and complex but I'm not sure if the relationship dynamics totally worked. I don't know if all the elements of their back-stories and personality traits felt real, or were entirely necessary, or even were completely resolved at the end. And there was more telling than showing with the romance, although it is still a fairly solid romance. I liked them together and their sex scenes were good.I was actually impressed with the villains the author created. Peter was obviously a horrible character but his situation was complex enough to make him better than your average one dimensional baddie. The other villain in the piece was not clear at all. I thought it was someone else for a long time. I enjoyed the mystery and suspense and when I did actually realise who it was it was a bit nerve-wracking! For the most part the author keeps her characters acting professionally and sensibly but there were two or three times when things they did lacked credibility. I was frustrated by the female character. Why did she have to be a psycho bitch? She's a well educated ambitious woman (the local coroner) and it didn't feel realistic that she'd be running around like a screaming fishwife. What was the whole thing with Ray? I found it confusing. Unless the author was setting him up for a story of his own which I would be totally on board with. In some ways the dynamic between Chris and Ray confused my loyalties and connection with Doug as the love interest. I'm not saying it was a love triangle. Chris is definitely in love with Doug and not Ray. But it just felt weird and maybe even fake and I don't think it added anything to the story. Although I actually liked Ray and his unrepentant whoring ways, loyalty, and quick humour.The ending is open is some respects (there is a HEA). But I really get the feeling that the author must have some plans for these characters. I could really read more about Chris and Doug, find out where they decide to live and what careers they choose. Maybe another murder mystery to solve together because the author is good at this crime stuff. Plus Ray... he's still bugging me. Please write a book about him.So it's not a perfect book for me but it's still an enjoyable read by a promising new author. As usual I'm impressed with DSP's commitment to finding new authors and publishing novel length fiction. I'd have nothing to read without them!