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This Rough Magic (A Shot in the Dark, #1)
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This Rough Magic

(A Shot in the Dark #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,196 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Genre: LGBT 1930's Suspense

Wealthy San Francisco playboy Brett Sheridan thinks he knows the score when he hires tough guy private eye Neil Patrick Rafferty to find a priceless stolen folio of Shakespeare's The Tempest. Brett's convinced his partner-in-crime sister is behind the theft -- a theft that's liable to bring more scandal to their eccentric family, and cost Brett
ebook, 173 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Loose ID, LLC (first published April 11th 2011)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,196 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Start your review of This Rough Magic (A Shot in the Dark, #1)
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Review posted December 2, 2014

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This Rough Magic is set in San Francisco during the Great Depression. Well-off and soon-to-be married Brett Sheridan is pretty much beside himself with worry and fear when a very valuable Shakespeare folio vanishes. He presumes that (view spoiler) might be involved in the art heist and hires private eye Neil Rafferty. Brett, overeager and impatient in aforementioned matter, starts meddling in Rafferty's business and after a
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, mm, mystery
I read this book where I was making the transition from my old job to my new one. Well the physical move was simple. I was the equivalent of a white collar casual labourer at my old job and as such had no personal entanglements to my desk. There were no knickknacks and personalized calendars. I didn’t even so much as have a pen holder or a coaster.

But the mental transition took a toll is still taking a toll. I left my paying job for an even less paying job. I am currently working as a news desk
Emma Sea
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oh, how I loved these men. Sheesh, the hurt and denial Brett is living with, and how Neil cares for him. Jesus, the tender chemistry between these two.

Goddamit, I know logically there is not a 5 star book between these covers, and I know Lanyon is treating my emotions like his own private painters' canvas, but I LOVE IT! The furtive glances, the kind touches, the blow jobs for nothing more than the enjoyment of another man's cock in their mouths . . .

I don't care one fig for the mystery or any
Emanuela ~plastic duck~
This book conveys perfectly the fascinating atmosphere of the 1930s and it really draws the reader into the period when the story takes place. This isn't done with lengthy descriptions, but with the depiction of a mood, with the observations of the characters, with hints that stir the imagination of the readers.

There are moments in the book that are not only cinematographic, they are almost pictorial. When Neil visits Brett's family, he observes all the family members, their occupation, their
Nick Pageant
Pour yourself a whisky and dig in! Josh Lanyon knows what she's doing. The prose is tight, the sexual tension percolates, a great read. If Raymond Chandler and Dashiel Hammett had entered a civil union and had Patricia Highsmith deliver them a daughter through surrogacy, that bouncing baby girl would have grown up to be Josh Lanyon.
It was always a dame, wasn't it? In the dime novels, It was always a dame.

From the first two lines...I was gone. It's the 1930s and Neil Rafferty, private dick, gets a visit from Brett Sheridan to ask him for help finding an antique manuscript of Shakespeare's 'Tempest' that was stolen from his future father-in-law's house the night before, during his engagement party to Juliet Lennox. Brett comes from old money ...big last name and lots of weight around town...not so much money anymore. They
Chris, the Dalek King
“I’m in the lost-and-found business, mostly. And mostly what people lose are other people.”

“And do you always find them?”

“No. And sometimes when I find them, the people who hire me wish I hadn’t.”

That was a depressing notion.

Mr. Lennox has lost his folio, Brett Sheridan will be losing his freedom, and Neil Rafferty must be losing his mind—-because there is no sanity in falling for the high-flying Brett Sheridan, especially when Brett’s bachelor days are quickly coming to an end. But the crazy
Heather C
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, series, mystery, m-m, faves
Another AMAZING book by Josh Lanyon! Only Josh can write a story about a stolen folio and actually make it interesting. It has everything. Its dark, its mysterious, its comedic, and its romantic! I can't wait for the sequel.
Mar 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
It was always a dame, wasn’t it? In the dime novels, it was always a dame.

First line of the first chapter ... and I'm sold. This story (though the title has NOTHING to do with magic what-so-ever) has lovely sense of place, San Francisco in the 1930s when Neil Patrick Rafferty, a private detective, takes a case from Brett Sheridan, to find a missing folio (quarto?) of a Shakespeare's play, The Tempest, that belongs to Brett's fiancée's father. Brett suspects that his sister's boyfriend takes the
Nancy L
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m, historical
OMG it's like old hollywood come back to life in black and white. The gumshoe with a side kick! And just like an old black and white movie, you get sucked back in time, leaving reality behind. the MCs seemed to read each other like a book. the supporting characters (Brett's family) were oddities but so was juliette's family. Seems like they should have been tailor-made for each other. High stakes, drama, stolen manuscripts and highway hijinks combined for an eyebrow raising ending.

Thanks Josh
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Josh Lanyon has given us yet another excellent mystery, this time set in the 1930's. His characters and dialogue are flawless--
Oct 14, 2013 rated it liked it
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
I don't know what it is about Josh Lanyon's books that always make my chest hurt - sometimes in a good way, sometimes not in a good way - after I finish reading this book.

With This Rough Magic, my chest hurt again and it's not in a good way. I think it's partly the setting (1930s is so not the period for gay people to thrive) and it's partly the story (although it does have what I prefer to term "a hopeful ending"). But mostly, I think it's the way the two characters, Neil Rafferty and Brett
The time setting, the 30's, was another character in the story. It was so well crafted that the reader was drawn in seamlessly. There was no need to hit the reader over the head explaining the time period. It was done through the actions of the characters and their reactions to each other. I was reminded of wonderful classic mysteries of the 30's and 40's.

Neil Rafferty was written as a complete three dimensional character. He was tough and quietly analytical, yet so compassionate with Brett.
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
2.5 stars

This was a disappointing read. I was hoping for a gritty Noir feel, but even the setting here (1930s San Francisco, post-prohibition) was muddled and vague. The mystery (who stole Shakespeare's Folio during a party at the house of one of the city's nouveau riche) was silly, the ending (and resolution) coming out of nowhere; the red herrings would have made my head spin, expect I didn't care.

All this would have been almost forgivable had the romance angle been better played, but there
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
Pretty awesome!
I'm not really into Historical Romance, but this one was great!
The writing is near to excellent, and the mystery part was just right.
4 Stars

Story had a very noir feel to it; wish the narration had a bit more flair, though.
When Brett Sheridan hires Neil Rafferty to solve the theft of his soon-to-be father-in-law's priceless Shakespeare folio, he only expects that Rafferty will handle the task quickly and with discretion. The latter is important since Brett worries that his sister might somehow be involved and the last thing his family needs is more scandal. But there's no way he can be prepared for everything that will happen in his life in the coming days - almost all thanks to Neil.

I actually enjoyed this one
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to JR by: for those who love a good book
Okay, okay this one was up my ally. Tough private eye meets broken playboy.

Brett Sheridan hires tough private eye Neil Patrick Rafferty to recover a priceless folio of Shakespeare's The Tempest. Brett is sure his sister has taken it. Brett's duty to him family dictates that he try to save the crumbling old money empire that is his family. What he doesn't realize that Rafferty will awaken a long buried secret. Rafferty evokes fierce passionate feelings in Brett. Not a good thing when Brett is
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this! I was hooked from the very start. Rafferty and Brett were quite likable and the romance was slow and sweet. I quite enjoyed the fact that the first half of the book read entirely like a detective story. I was very curious to find out who done it while also savouring the promise of the romance in store.

Audio Note: Jordan Murphy's narration was quite competent and enjoyable.
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this! I was hooked from the very start. Rafferty and Brett were quite likable and the romance was slow and sweet. I quite enjoyed the fact that the first half of the book read entirely like a detective story. I was very curious to find out who done it while also savouring the promise of the romance in store.

Audio Note: Jordan Murphy's narration was quite competent and enjoyable.
Sep 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ah, Josh Lanyon. His writing is a real magic. I don't know how he does it but all his characters are so lovable and Neil and Brett were no exception. I loved the atmosphere of the 1930s, I loved their little road trip to Reno, I loved Neil's quips. For me, Josh Lanyon's writing presents real quality and always makes me happy!
Soukyan Blackwood
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
all reviews in one place:
night mode reading
skaitom nakties rezimu

It's one of those nice classic noir detectives filled with cigar smoke, and scent of martini, with sunny sounds of tennis being played outside permeating a scene or two. I like these, but rarely do I find good ones. And this one's an LGBT one too, adding a great bonus which makes me curious about the next one in the series.
Leslie Nicoll
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
4.75 stars

Sometimes you just want to put on your comfiest tee-shirt and well-worn flannel pants, curl up on the couch with a really good book and immerse yourself in the story. A story that is as cozy as the shirt and pants. Josh Lanyon does that for me and This Rough Magic, his latest, was a really comfy read. I loved it!

Josh covers some familiar territory in this story: a California setting (San Francisco, beautifully described); a clever mystery; a rare and valuable literary manuscript (The
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay, mystery
A fine mystery where potential solution appears, dancing alluringly just out of reach, only to be replaced by another. The strength of the book, lies in the tight style in which it's written. Nothing seems gratuitous; even red herrings serve to enhance our understanding of a character or help evoke the feel of the period. A well told story which knows where it's going, even if the reader hasn't quite worked it all out. Free from gimmickry and full of wry humor. There's also a terrific cast of ...more

And it even fells like an old Dashiell Hammett novel. Of course, the many references really help. Considering that the world-painting is fairly light, This Rough Magic does have a lot going for it: a society mystery, a hard-boiled but heart-of-gold private dick (think Sam Spade), and the society guy who needs his help. In oh-so-many ways.

We’re set up with that age-old courtship between the newly monied families with cash to burn and old, revered families in-need-of cash infusion. Of marriage
Apr 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Josh Layon books are auto-buys and quality guarantee, This Rough Magic, as stated in the book, a homage to The Thin Man, is an excellent detective mystery romance set in late 30s. Lanyon has a good grasp in early 20th century America, as proven in his other historical stories, such as Snowball in Hell. This Rough Magic is less melancholy, more quirky and deep in 30s detective novel style. I certainly learned quite a lots of new "old" words ;)

The mystery is not complicated, what's compelling are
Lil' Grogan
Apr 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1-5, m-m, rom-suspense
Reading Josh Lanyon's Adrien English series (which I loved) and his own interest in the hardboiled and noir genres compelled me to (re)visit the classics recently. Ironically, the preferences I formed became a hindrance to participating in this book. Set in 1935, with some of the trappings of the hardboiled genre, it could have been a thrill to see a new interpretation. IMHO, the first chapter was in the hardboiled style, then it became a cozy. Perhaps the problem of setting out to write ...more
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m
The tell tale sign of a good book is when I feel that I am actually one of the characters in the book paying witness to everything. That is what I was in This Rough Magic. The imagery is so vivid and inviting that you are completely immersed within the world. The locations within the book are all places I have been and completely felt them at a visceral level while reading. But what good would this wonderful ambience be without exceptional characters. Neil and Brett are great characters with ...more
This wasn't an easy book for me to rate, especially because the beginning promised one thing and the story was something else entirely. Also, Rafferty didn't strike me as someone who would go on the wild goose chase even for Brett. I would like more meat on the secondary characters. But. I loved Josh's protagonists as always and that, sort of, outweighed some of my quibbles. Still, I'm stuck between three and four stars. I'm going with GR four-star rating until I get the chance to reread it, but ...more
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Josh Lanyon is the author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance.

Her work has been translated into eleven languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondadori, the largest romance publisher in Italy. Stranger on the Shore (Harper Collins Italia) was the

Other books in the series

A Shot in the Dark (2 books)
  • Ill Met By Moonlight (A Shot in the Dark, #2)