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Nine Lights Over Edinburgh

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  505 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
(Part of His For The Holidays Anthology)

Detective Inspector James McBride is riding high on the belief that he's about to bust a human-trafficking ring. But just five days before Christmas, his unorthodox methods catch up with him and his world comes crashing down.

McBride tries to concentrate on his new day job as security for the visiting Israeli ambassador. He even start
ebook, 123 pages
Published December 6th 2010 by Carina Press (first published November 16th 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Rating details
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Julio Genao
May 21, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
nine lights, aye—but only one of them is a star.

wildly inauthentic excesses of the plot undermine the typically pleasing lilt of the prose.

there's nothing wrong with fantasy, but when it's set in contemporary times and no development is earned, it feels corny, nonsensical, and arbitrary.

like watching a child play with dolls.


*the dolls are made to kiss*


the end.

This book was too depressing and didn't feel like a romance novel. Before I scare you away, let me assure you that it has a HEA so this is technically a romance. Unfortunately, I didn't get it.

Detective Inspector James McBride's life is a mess and he doesn't know how to fix it. He's forty years old, divorced and not quite at peace with his sexuality. On the professional front, things don't look good either: his current undercover assignment has him pretending to be an alcoholic and gambling addi
Emanuela ~plastic duck~
4.5 stars.

It doesn't happen very often that I can really really picture the places where a book takes place. In this case, it happened: I've loved Edinburgh when I visited and the author took me there. This isn't a light read, it's about a lost man, a detective who has denied himself his sexuality and he's not whole anymore. He's divorced and he's an alcoholic who's drowning himself in his work, while every aspect of his personal life is deteriorating. He's imprisoned in himself. The only person
Nikyta *Miss Forgetful*
This book was pretty dark and kind of depressive for something of a Xmas story. It happens during the days of Xmas but doesn't revolve around it.

I didn't really like James in the beginning. I usually don't have a problem with characters that having drinking or drug problems but James' attitude rubbed me the wrong way. His 'I don't give a shit' personality was more annoying than charming and when he got hurt all I could do was think he deserved it. I think this partly had to do with how confused
4.5 stars

This is the third Harper Fox book that I have read and I can officialy say that I love her writing.
This book is about a 40 year old pale-alcoholic-unkept-divorced-stocky-lonely-policeman (sorry, detective inspector), and don't you love this book just hearing that? Because I do! I love that the character is full of flaws, that his life is less than perfect, that he is not in his 20's.
I love this because, even if the plot is not real, the MC feels real, and he gets his knight in shining a
Kaje Harper
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m
3.5 stars. This book didn't quite measure up to the others I've read by this author. It was still very expressively written, but the interactions of the characters seemed forced. I can't see a straight cop giving his partner blow-jobs to induce after-sex confidences, unless the stakes were a lot higher than in this instance. And the relationship between McBride and Toby moved fast, without the kind of underpinnings that Fox usually provides. It felt more like desperation than love. McBride was a ...more
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Lovely! What else is there to say? Lovely and lyrical.

ETA: Re-read in a BR with Joan. I like it even better on the turnaround than when I raced through it the first time. Lovely, lovely prose, an Edinburgh breathing and alive, a hero to root for, and so incredibly rich for a novella!
Re-read for the M/M Bingo challenge (12/14/2012)... (and finally a review on one of Fox's books!! -- 4/6/2014)

4.5 stars so the previous rating holds up...

It seems that it always takes me a bit to get into Harper Fox’s stories -- patience is called for... but the payoff makes it worth it.

This starts off slowly as we get the character build and backstory and place setting. James McBride is a Scots police detective living on the edge. He’s let drink and apathy bring his career down until he comes
2.5 stars
I don't think I will ever get used to Harper Fox's way of writings from the start of a book; she always makes me WORK hard to get into the story. I can get through the writing for previous books, though, because they DO offer characters that I can get emotionally attached to.

Not this one.

Somehow, I get lost in the overkill of prose -- and I don't even feel the romance. Even the dialogs don't work with me this time (they usually save the story). I can't find myself enjoying it.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, lgbtq, queer
A short but sweet novella set in Edinburgh around the Christmas period.

Harper Fox's writing is, as usual, measured and elegant and the characters are nicely sketched.

I didn't connect with it as much as with her other books though. I guess it was just too brief and a bit too 'insta-love' for me but it was nonetheless a very pleasurable read.
Anna D.
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holiday
Note: This is the 2nd short story in the His For The Holidays collection.

2.5 stars
The set up of the McBride’s circumstances took a while (considering it is a short story) so there was a bit of a wait to get to the MCs meeting and to their romance. I didn’t particularly enjoy this part, but nevertheless I was fascinated to McBride. Given his age, experience, and the fact that he’s a veteran cop and father – he was a weak character. I got the impression that when Lowrie was taken away from him and
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle

After having read 70% of this story, I wrote as an update that this was the least gayest m/m story I've read so far (and by God, I've read a lot.. Thanks Qhuay! ;) and after having finished it just now, I can safely say that its still the least gayest m/m story I've ever read..

That doesnt mean its the worst though.. Far from it actually..

This story is much more about a lost man, who finds himself at age 40 with nothing but a broken marriage, thoughts about the only love he's had at age 16... wit
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm
Read this as part of the His For The Holidays collection of short stories. I was expecting a strong Christmas theme and a light hearted read which this is not. However the story was excellent and characters interesting. I usually prefer a little more romance in my m\m stories but found the plot engaging and enjoyed the HEA ending.
Tami (synchro from BL)
This was the first Harper Fox novel that I didn't like so much.

It was a disappointing read. I didn't like the protagonist, it had insta-love, plus an illogical and imo quite stupid crime plot.

Saved only by the rock-solid writing.
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only thing you can expect from a Harper Fox novel is to not have too many expectations. The way she twists and turn, pulls everything inside out and backwards, all with blunt force, is unlike anything else in the M/M genre. She truly does stand out as an original.

Like her previous stories, Nine Lights Over Edinburgh doesn’t caterer to the Hallmark crowd. Her stuff is gritty. Her characters are dark. The events don’t happen in a neat little row. The poetic, yoda-style ramblings can be confusi
Jan 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars rounded up.

Nine Lights over Edinburgh is Harper Fox’s contribution to the Carina Press anthology. Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of Fox’s writing and author voice so I’m definitely not the target audience for this story. In some ways she really shines with unique characters and a real flair for dramatic tension and brooding. Yet the plodding pace and overly verbose prose kills the story for me every time. If you’re a fan of Fox, you already like the writing style and I think this mo
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m
Nine Lights over Edinburgh
Harper Fox

4.5 out of 5 stars

This author’s writing style is different from most authors’ I know of. It’s elaborate, descriptive - some will call it verbose - and expressive. I think you’ll love it or hate it. I happen to enjoy it once I surrender to it. Harper Fox’s writing has the ability to take me to the places she describes. In this story those are the dark alleys and obscure corners of the streets of Edinburgh. The colorful descriptions of the surroundings emphasize
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it-audio
Rereading this for a special December Holiday challenge. I'll read anything by Harper Fox, any time, any where, for any reason. This one is a multiple reread for me, and well worth the repeated exposure. Since this reread is for a Holiday challenge, I'll refer to Christmas and Hanukkah in the review below.

This is a very atypical Christmas tale, with a dark and gloomy/depressed/hopeless/desperate tone for much of the story. Nonetheless, it IS very much a Christmas and also Hanukkah story. The bul
4.5 stars

Fabulous story. The first few lines put the reader firmly in place, with no stodgy info-dumps or boring details. The characters are real, living human beings, flawed and struggling against the odds. Edinburgh comes alive in this story, the elegance and grandeur of the city and the dark ugliness are contrasted in quiet understated writing.
I felt as if I was there, walking the streets, drawn into the story.

(view spoiler)
♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
Now... letme. justtell. Youuuuuuuuuuu. Some of you know how much I love Harper Fox’s writing, and this is definitely her style, but it’s a bit more grounded. Her fantastic handle on language is here, in full force, but it’s more accessible, not as dreamlike as some of her other works.

I love that about some of her stories but I know some aren’t as attuned to it. This one takes some time to work its way but every word is just so stinkin’ enjoyable that I felt like I was wrapped up in a cocoon of
Lillian Francis

Maybe 3.5.

Gritty and very unchristmas-like.

The descriptions of Edinburgh were wonderful, I swear if I were to visit I would recognise the places mentioned. Occasionally the harsh accents of the Scots dragged me from the story.

Unlike Toby, McBride was a hard character to warm to (just the fact that I used Toby's first name and James' surname underlines that fact) but I'm glad I stuck with him. If I had any complaint it was that the relationship between the two leads developed too quickly, not the
Dante Love Fisher
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually enjoyed this story, but it took me forever to warm up to it.

I'm still not sure I get the insta-love between James McBride and Tobias Leitner, but I never get insta-love in books. And with this book set in a grim kind of reality, the insta-love didn't feel natural like it might in something else fluffy and sweet.

I guess maybe (view spoiler) But I don't know.

Still, in the end,
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This read was surprisingly captivating. I thought maybe the dark theme would dampen the story for me, but it didn't. I really, REALLY liked it. James was complicated, depressed, and broken, but so human it was hard not to feel for him. I gotta say at first (I hadn't read the blurb yet) I thought the romance was James/Andrew and I was kind of pissed. But then it became clear it was James/Tobby and all was well with the world again. Tobby was my second favorite character (nobody stand a chanc ...more
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not so much a Christmas story as a story that happens over Christmas. James' world is falling apart around him. During a fateful security gig, Toby takes a bullet for him. When James' daughter is kidnapped, it is Toby, a Israeli secret service agent, who he turns to for help. But can they make things work when they live world's apart? Of course the climax happens on Christmas Eve.
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Read as part of the His For The Holidays Anthology. This story was the best of the bunch!
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm-family-kids
4.5 stars
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m
4.5 stars.
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
For some reason i didn't get fully immersed in this one like the authors other books, i skimmed parts and the characters connection was too little and too rushed
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-necessary
I have the anthology His For The Holidays
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I mean, sure, the plot of this was a tad too melodramatic to be realistic, but the writing was beautiful and the depiction of Edinburgh was so real I can practically feel the icy wind on my face, so I still rather liked it.
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Harper Fox is an M/M author with a mission. She’s produced six critically acclaimed novels in a year and is trying to dispel rumours that she has a clone/twin sister locked away in a study in her basement. In fact she simply continues working on what she loves best– creating worlds and stories for the huge cast of lovely gay men queuing up inside her head. She lives in rural Northumberland in nort ...more
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