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Primal Red (Bellingham Mysteries #1)

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  342 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Peter Fontaine is a reporter writing for a free weekly newspaper in the quirky little town of Bellingham. Nick Olson is a reclusive painter with questionable past and a studio in the Vitamilk Building. Peter has a knack for choosing to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this case that place is the Vitamilk Building and the time is the moment that Shelley Vine, loc ...more
ebook, 1st Edition, 108 pages
Published January 27th 2009 by Loose Id.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 711)
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This is my third re-read of this great story by Nicole Kimberling. It's the first in a trilogy, followed by Baby, It's Cold Outside and Black Cat Ink. The star of the series, Peter, is a journalist from the local newspaper and an amateur sleuth. He is easily distracted and frequently composes news articles in his head or imagines hot scenes that regularly include the local firemen and one Nick Olsen, "painter, recluse and Peter's current crush".

A woman is murdered in Nick's studio building and P
Reporter Peter Fontaine dreams of Pulitzers and reclusive painter Nick Olson's hot body. When a murder brings Nick's past into question, Peter has to choose: betray Nick or follow his heart?

I found the story a little choppy to start with, but it smoothed out after a while as the story gained momentum and rhythm. It was a quick read that I almost wish was longer. I think, because it was short, I was left wanting to know more and to get a little more depth from the two main characters. Peter was c
Before this series I knew Nicole Kimberling first and foremost as the editor at Blind Eye Books (awesome little Indie press by the way!) - and, yeah sure, she's written a nice story for the incredible Irregulars anthology, but she still wasn't represented as an author in my mind.

Boy, has that changed. This little gem of North-Pacific based mystery really grabbed me by the metaphorical lapel, drew me in, and didn't let go. And the reason for that wasn't even the mystery itself. It was nice enoug
Emanuela ~plastic duck~
Peter, you're one of my new favorites!

First word that comes to my mind: comfortable. I like when I feel I am slipping into the mind of a character and I feel at ease there. It has happened to me a few blessed times with first-person narrators, like Adrien (English) or Vic (Psycops), but I think it's a first for me to experience this kind of involvement with a third-person narration. It was as if the barrier of the page didn't exist and I could get behind it and stand close to Peter, the main cha
Peter Fontaine is a newspaper reporter for the local free weekly The Hampster. He dreams of making a big splash in the journalistic world and thus finds himself hiding behind a dumpster outside a Russian teashop at 4am waiting for something sinister to happen. Peter finally gives up and wanders to the building of artists next door with the vague idea of seeing his artist roommate. Unfortunately for Peter, he stumbles across a dying woman and a mixture of artists all somehow involved the woman’s ...more
2.5 stars.

This novella was hard for me to rate. It wasn't terrible, but I wasn't impressed with it. I never found myself engaging with the characters or caring about the story line. The murder investigation was a bit dry, and the romance contained no spark. Actually, pretty much every aspect of the book was underdeveloped. The story needed to be expanded, with more twists and turns, and every character needed to be fleshed out more. I don't think I'll continue with the series.

This was such a quick, short fun filled mystery. Peter is just one of those absolutely quirky likeable characters that is pure entertainment.
Apr 18, 2012 ttg rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: m-m, reviews
Primal Red is a really fun m/m mystery romance, and #1 in the Bellingham Mysteries series.

Kimberling is a good writer, and I've really enjoyed her novellas in the anthologies Hell Cop 1 & 2, and The Irregulars. Her characters were always interesting and compelling, and she has a sly humor that is fun to read. It was neat to see that she has this ongoing mystery series as well.

Set in Bellingham, WA (north of Seattle, near the border with Canada), Primal Red begins with our main character of
Elisa Rolle
Peter is an aggressive reporter... well, not exactly... he is a wanna-to-be aggressive reporter and in the meanwhile he is also a wanna-to-be porn screenwriter, means that he is really good in imagining himself involved in torrid relationship with men that he barely knows and that probably don't even remember his name.

And so Peter is outside a building after finishing his sleuthing "nightly" work to uncover the secret of an illegal russian brothel (sound pretty daring, isn't it?), fantasizing a
LiveYourLife BuyTheBook
5 Stars - KAPOW!

Nicole has this easy, clever wit in her storytelling – not in your face laugh a minute humour that leaves you feeling exhausted. I know some of her cleverness is probably wasted on me – but I see the catch phrase or punch line, even if I don’t fully understand the lead up. That counts for something, right? And in a way that only underlines her savvy skills!!

I am loving this series.....

Read Barb's full review at Live Your Life, Buy The Book
I just finished “Primal Red” and really enjoyed it. Good solid, believable characters neither of whom is too perfect or too imperfect. Great premise, and the conclusion worked for me. I love mysteries and romance, this read was a great mix of both. I don't post spoilers or plot summaries so you'll just have to dive in and read it! I used to live in Bellingham I was worried that little details would bother me but no, Kimberling did a great job all around! Bought the second one immediately....also ...more
I wanted to read this because it takes place in Bellingham, and I like books that are placed in the Northwest, but I just couldn't bring myself to finish it. Part of the problem is that I'm not really comfortable with characters who lie, especially when that's basically their first act in a story. Even a little white lie makes me cringe. If the character had been better established first I might be willing to overlook a lie (ie cringe and move on) but I just couldn't get past it at the beginning ...more
Kaje Harper
A well-written mystery with the beginnings of a romance in it. The MC, investigative reported Peter, is appealing and his job gives him some excuse for poking his nose in where he really shouldn't. The book has light moments and the plot hangs together well.
J'aime bien lire de la daube!
Reading LBGTQ fiction I'm at least past most of the discriminating comments on queers but you know how to throw readers off even in this "safer" genre? (stopped reading at begining of chapter 3)

With ignorant stuff like this:

"He opened his glove compartment and found a slightly smashed Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk.


Yeah, Robert had been a vegan, hadn't he? No wonder it hadn't worked out."

As a vegan myself, it's hard enough to read through books that feature large amounts of food decri
Ulysses Dietz
Less fantastic than her "Sea Full of Stars" series, Nicole Kimberling's "Bellingham Mysteries" series offers a smartly written, likable group of novellas set in a charming small city in the Pacific Northwest. The chief charm in book one, "Primal Red," is its introduction of Peter,a wry, ambitious young journalist; and Nick, an unexpectedly shy ex-soldier artist with a notorious past. They both soon realize that stumbling across each other in the midst of a bloody murder is perhaps not the best w ...more
Good writing, but it didn't click for me. I spent the whole book outside of the story. In a purely intellectual way, I found the characters interesting - but there was something lacking overall that didn't let me enjoy it. I kept reading to be polite, in a way - like visiting someone nice but who bores you.
While I loved Peter's internal monologue, I just didn't care enough about him and Nick to love this introduction to the Bellingham series. I'm really hoping it gets better because I believe it's got potential.
This just didn't do it for me. The story felt very flat. Not enough mystery. Not enough romance. Not enough character development. Not enough excitement. Just not enough. It didn't help that I disliked Peter and didn't know anything about Nick (view spoiler) ...more
I greatly enjoyed this story! The narrator's voice was wonderfully done, a touch of sardonic wit with just enough seriousness for the situation. The mystery remained a mystery until near the end. Mostly, I think because the reader didn't have all the information to make their own conclusions (though one bit of detail will point out the guilty party if read closely enough).

Now, onto Baby, It's Cold Outside
1st read 6/22/12
2nd read 4/5/14

I love murder mysteries with a side of m/m smexiness. And this short story dished out both brilliantly. I was captivated by the murder plot and loved the two MCs slow-building romance. I couldn't put this book down once I started it. The final reveal did not disappoint as well. Yes, this story could have been made longer with more plot details and more dating time between the MCs but I loved the short length and it definitely left me wanting more. I can't wait to d
LD  Durham
I didn't have any issues with the writing as some reviewers had. I found it an entertaining and interesting read. The protagonist was funny and the mystery engaging. I would have preferred more romance/relationship building, but perhaps it'll come with the next book. My only real issue was that this novella is priced like a novel. It was a good story, but not so great to warrant the elevated price tag of a bigger book. But if this is the start of a grand series, I'm willing to reach a little dee ...more
Deanna also on Leafmarks because I miss Marco
There was a lot of potential in this story. I liked Peter and his attitude. Nick intrigued me but was still somewhat of a mystery. I wanted more heat in this story, not just between the 2 MCs but between them and the other characters also. The mystery part of the plot needs more crafting. This book was like a latter but not final draft. It still needed some development. Still a fun read with 2 MCs I wanted to like.
Good read! Enjoyed mystery aspect of the story. It’s been awhile since I have read an m/m mystery and I forgot how much I like them. Both mcs were good in this story. Peter was easier to know and like because the story is told from his point of view. Peter and Nick remind me a little bit of one of my all-time favorite m/m couples, Adrien & Jake. This was a good start to the series.
I really enjoyed the writing style in this first book. It's down to earth, realistic and pulling, I liked it. The mystery plotted around the woman’s murder and Peter investigation of Russian tea shop was good. Nick was to undeveloped for me and to silent as a character. His and Peter's short developed romance didn't really play for me. Maybe it developed to fast and abrupt.
Lillian Francis
3.5 stars.
I enjoyed Peter and the whole Hardy Boys feel to the mystery. Felt the relationship could have done with some more depth. I needed more of Peter and Nick together after the final curtain rather than a 'one year later' epilogue, especially since there are sequels. I would have happily waited until the next book for more relationship development.
Thin but cute story. I loved the characters. Very sweet. This is a novella but still the story is very thin. The murder mystery is not too exciting, but not horrible either. Just didn't understand why the two MCs fall for one another. I always enjoy a story about relationships coupled with a good plot. This really had neither.
I bought but put off reading this because of the rating and some of the reviews. Silly me. It was a great quick read. Witty, fun characters, mystery, and a hot romance. What's not to love? I'm starting the next one tonight because I can't wait to get back to these eccentric artists and my favorite the nosey reporter, Peter. RECOMMEND!
While I like Peter -- I think he's amusing, by the end of the story, I feel lack of 'depth' on his relationship with Nick. And the two "mysteries", the death of the artist and the Russian mafia plot are bit choppy. I know there is a sequel so I hope that's one better. I still give this a three star for Peter (and his quips) alone :)
Edina Rose
Funny, well written mystery romance. Peter Fontaine is absolutely adorable. His tendency to get lost inside his head is endearing. He sees himself as very ambitious, but I just see a guy who is passionate about his work.
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Other Books in the Series

Bellingham Mysteries (5 books)
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside (Bellingham Mysteries, #2)
  • Black Cat Ink (Bellingham Mysteries, #3)
  • One Man's Treasure (Bellingham Mysteries, #4)
  • Birds of a Feather (Bellingham Mysteries, #5)
Irregulars Baby, It's Cold Outside (Bellingham Mysteries, #2) Turnskin Black Cat Ink (Bellingham Mysteries, #3) Ghost Star Night (Sea of Stars, #1)

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