So this is a little different from what I have been reading. Firstly, it’s not a romance. There is no hero/heroine, there’s no declarations of everlasSo this is a little different from what I have been reading. Firstly, it’s not a romance. There is no hero/heroine, there’s no declarations of everlasting love, no hidden pregnancies or big misunderstandings. What there is in this book, is plenty of freakin hot sex and a good old-fashioned British farce hidden within the folds of a mystery.
Edward ‘Mitch’ Mitchell and Harry ‘Boy’ Morgan have been invited to the country house of Sir James Eagle for the weekend. Harry is engaged to Belinda, Sir James’ daughter. While there Mitch intends to seduce his chum before it’s too late and Boy Morgan marries Belinda.
However, when another houseguest, Reg Walworth, turns up dead, Mitch decides to combine his two favourite passions ‘cock and crime’ and investigate the murder in his own way.
Never have I enjoyed a character as much as Mitch. The book is written in the first person and Mitch’s voice was witty, wry and lusty. Really, I shouldn’t have liked him. Yes, he had plans to seduce his straight engaged friend. Yes, he was a promiscuous little tart. Yes, he was really quite shallow at times but he was just so charming and unrepentant about being gay and loving sex that he completely charmed me. He’s my new BFF.
Many people would say that is completely unrealistic for the time period. Men would be afraid of capture. (Homosexuality was still illegal back then.) They wouldn’t flout their sexuality, but Mitch is a rare thing, a gay man, in the closet, who was completely comfortable with his sexuality. James Lear managed to create a world where Mitch and his attitudes were wholly believable and it fit in the world that had been presented to me. This book was like being on a fairground ride. I just strapped myself in, let go and enjoyed the hell out of it.
You had to suspend disbelief a little because Mitch did get his end away with every man he questioned bar one and that wasn’t because he wasn’t interested but rather because of a lack of opportunity.
However, his sexual escapades weren’t wholly gratuitous. He used his sexuality as a bargaining tool in a lot of ways, bartering sex for information. Although his ‘suspects’ didn’t realise it at the time. He even used sex to escape a life-threatening situation. See, I should be disgusted but I can’t be because he was never selfish or nasty. Mitch liked to make sure his men got as much pleasure out of it as he did. Plus, there was a little character growth at the end of it for him. He's not completely irredeemable.
In between all the loving there was some detecting going on and the balance between the mystery and the shenanigans was well balanced (if resolved somewhat quickly at the end.)
There were many weird and wonderful characters in the book. Although I don’t want to go into to much details for fear of spoiling the book. Some of their quirks etc were integral to the mystery.
It’s what I loved most about James Lear’s book. He took the norm and flipped it on it’s head. There was Mitch the hero. Normally authors want their heroes to be moral, upstanding and well, heroic. Mitch was a flighty man tart and while he fancies himself as the new Sherlock Holmes, he wasn’t all that great at it. Meanwhile ‘Boy’ Morgan was the sidekick, who was presented as pretty but dumb and who ended up being the brains behind the operation. I also loved how James Lear flipped the purple prose. The sex was all described in frank terms but describing surroundings etc. the purple prose slipped out. One of my favourite passages is just after Mitch has found the existence of the ‘Back Passage’ in the house.
‘My head still spinning from the violent events of the last hour, I raced up the stone steps and regained the back passage. How many more times would I have to thrust my way up and down that dark, dank tunnel before my weekend at Drekeham Hall was over?
I didn’t have to go all the way this time……………’
The book was also wonderfully tongue-in-cheek and didn’t take itself seriously at all. There were so many times where I just laughed out loud. Like the time when the murder was discovered and suddenly seven policeman ran into the house as if waiting in the wings of a play. Or when Mitch has an encounter in a public loo with a policeman. Or the game of ‘Strip Interrogation’ he played with a nosy journalist. Or his sheer delight at finally seducing ‘Boy’. Or where he hid an important roll of film.
The whole book was just crazy/awesome. And I would recommend it to anyone who likes m/m romance/erotica.
I loved it so much I went and purchased all of James Lear's back cat.
A note on the cover as I am a well known certified cover snob. *g* I loved it. It fit the whole decedent aura and tone of the book perfectly. But man, was it embarrassing taking it out in public. But then I thought, 'Fuck it, he's hot, the book is hot and it's a great read. Anyone has problems with that can just kiss my ass!' ...more