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Pressure Head

(The Plumber's Mate Mysteries #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  3,913 ratings  ·  560 reviews
Some secrets are better left hidden.

To most of the world, Tom Paretski is just a plumber with a cheeky attitude and a dodgy hip, souvenir of a schoolboy accident. The local police keep his number on file for a different reason—his sixth sense for finding hidden things.

When he’s called in to help locate the body of a missing woman up on Nomansland Common, he unexpectedly en
ebook, 1st Edition, 279 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Samhain Publishing
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Natasha According to JL on her website, the series is due to be republished by Riptide publishing, but one-by-one, and starting January 2018 (contractual…moreAccording to JL on her website, the series is due to be republished by Riptide publishing, but one-by-one, and starting January 2018 (contractual reasons for the delay, I'm guessing; or maybe that's just how the business works---SLOWLY, I say this only because the books I'm waiting for (yes there are others, see below) have already been written--FABULOUSLY!). Love the author, and I know this must frustrate her too, but from what I read, the only thing that's changing is the cover. There's another set of books by her (paranormal also), and they're set to be republished by Dreamspinner Press (love those folks, fantastic web-presence) but again, 2018!!(less)

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Julio Genao
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Murder She Wrote lovers, and the Midsomer Murders viewers who detest them.
Recommended to Julio by: Weasel (Daniel)
A bitter indictment of Britain's uniquely vicious history of homophobia and the inevitable results thereof—cunningly disguised as a cozy, cuttingly funny, hedgerow-piercing murder mystery with romantic m/m elements and a publican tour.

Also, two cats named Merlin and Arthur. Obviously.

The shame of the UK in this regard is well-documented—as is ours. But I find it especially poignant given the remarkable maturity and leftward-leanings of the current political milieu.

They're pretty good about this
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m
"Course, you might get on all right with him. He's one of your lot, not that you'd know it to look at him."
"What a plumber?" I asked innocently.
"Piss off. And he's not a bloody psychic either. He's queer, all right? And if I catch you two canoodling on police time, I'm taking pictures and bunging them on the Internet."
"I'll try and control my raging homo desires," I said as dryly as I could. 


After reading and loving Muscling Through I was looking forward to another very good story written by
Emma Sea
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Midsomer Murders with M/M sex, yay!

I'm late to the party with this book, so everyone else has already covered my main points.

I could have done with a tiny bit more sex, actually. Specifically it was the end scene that didn't live up to my expectations: as Anna says, if this is #1 in a series then it's great as it is, but if it's a standalone then it was unsatisfying to get no (view spoiler). (EDIT: yes, apparently there's going to be a book 2, so
3.5 stars

I rate the story slightly lower than few friends of mine for a purely personal reason. As an ESL, I grew up with American English (thanks to the TV shows and movies I watched). Other variety of English is a bit difficult for me to follow.

Unfortunately, this was the most British book from J.L. Merrow to-date, and I was having a difficult time to thoroughly enjoy it because I couldn't understand the lingo. It doesn't reflect the quality of the writing, in any way. I reduce ratings for ma
~Mindy Lynn~
When Tom is called upon to help find the body of a missing girl he runs into an old high school crush who is also his high school bully, Phil Morrison. Tom is surprised by the sudden blast from his not too fond past, but then absolutely shocked when he is told that Phil is now openly gay. The reunion of the two old high school classmates is not a friendly one and Tom can’t wait to find this girl and escape from Phil. But Phil is a private investigator and has been hired by the missing girl’s fam ...more
I want a plumber like Tom Paretski. The ones I've dealt with so far were either trying to rip me off or grope my ass. Or both. And they never call me 'love.'

I want a PI like Phil Morrison. Because he's got class, he knows how to dress, and he cares about his clients. He's not half bad to look at, either.

And I need to read more of J.L. Merrow's work. Few other m/m authors manage to have such irresistible narrating characters without sacrificing the story or the plot or the side characters.

Cole Riann
Review posted at The Armchair Reader.

4.25 stars

Yay for another novel by JL Merrow!!! She's one of my favorite authors, and as I told a friend recently, I'm almost nervous when I start reading each successively published novel because I've loved them all so much there's bound to be one that disappoints me. Thankfully, that wasn't the case here and I ended really really thoroughly enjoying this latest offering by a really wonderful author.

Tom Paretski is a plumber with a secret -- he's got a knack
Kat ☠
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like a good plunging
Recommended to Kat ☠ by: Alexis Hall

What do you get when you have a plumber as your MC. . .

and a grizzly private investigator. . .

engaging in an enemies to lovers romance. . .

that's set in a quaint and sleepy English Village of the Damned. . .

where. . .

including a cat. . .

and all kinds of shenanigans are afoot. . .

that result in a million and one (or maybe just three) questions about whodunit. . .

(view spoiler)

(view spoiler)

(view spoiler)
Wow. So good.

This book is so fun. I mean, really, really fun.

And fast-paced. J.L. Merrow has a huge fan in Natasha Snow, that's for sure.
This is the old enemies to lovers trope, which I love, and it's done so tastefully well. She avoids a lot of other tropes in her writing, straying from relationship norms that I find in a lot of M/M romance novels.

I love Tom. I love that he's not your typical gorgeous character in romance novels (although he is gorgeous). I think it's quite hilarious that he's

Firstly, let’s start out by talking about that amazing cover. I just love it so much, it is just so light and fun just like the book. J.L Merrow is a master at making me laugh, and falling head over heels for her characters. She has taken a spot as one of my fave authors, my go to when I want a fun read with a side of hot loving.

Tom Paretski isn't your ordinary plumber he also has a talent for finding hidden things, stuff hidden out of guilt or hiding a dirty secret. The talent fi
I loved this book.

The characters were not only believable but fun.

Tom was a lovable little guy. He kept me chuckling with his thoughts and verbal responses.

Phil was more tricky to understand. He was frustrating at times and deserved a smack or two, but I did feel the chemistry between them even when Phil was being a right plonker. I would of liked a little more background on Phil, as I felt there was more to his life than we learned.

The murder mystery was intriguing and left me guessing till t
This book was my first read in 2016 and I have to say that I had a really great time reading it! I am a huge fan of stories that combine crime solving with romance and this one hit all the right buttons, considering the story also contained enemies-turned- lovers theme which is one my most favorite themes and had a paranormal aspect. I also really like characters that suffer from certain disabilities or characters that are all grumpy on the outside and soft in the inside. Keep in mind that this ...more
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: various-romance
Great mystery from one of my favourite authors. Pressure Head is narrated by Tom Paretski, plumber extraordinaire, charmer of old ladies, and high school bully survivor, who has a weird ability to find things (and people) who are lost. He's called in by the local police to find the body of a young woman. Also at the scene is his past tormentor (Phil), now a PI, who has been hired by the girl's parents to help find the killer. Phil persuades Tom to use his ability to help him solve the case.

Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 3-5-stars

This is complicated, when I started reading I was ready to start shooting from the hip but then I read on and stopped and thought and it is not so simple to ‘judge’. Thank God that Merrow just gave me the story and did not try to tell me what to feel.

Yes this a ‘simple’ whodunit but the people this wraps around are not simple, rather complicated with all kinds of shades not just the grey ones.

I would like to read more about this cast, there is lots more to explore, delve into.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a little gem. This was a fresh, funny mystery romance that was an absolute pleasure to read. The story is narrated by Tom Paretski, gay plumber and sometime police " consultant " in so much as he has always had a gift for ' finding ' lost things, in this case he is asked by his policeman friend Dave to help find a missing girl. Tom finds her dead body and whilst at the scene is confronted by a blast from his past in the person of his nemisis from his schooldays - Phil Morrison, tall, blonde ...more
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
A mystery that stays true to the Merrow formula. Which is a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the Merrow book in question. Pressure Head was a lovely read though, with nice characters, a steadily-paced crime scene investigation and that delightful Britishness that sends little thrills of excitement through me every time (sorry Lo-Lo, I know I'm being daft but I just can't be bollocksed :D).

Of course, the 1.02 sex scene was bland and awkward as I've come to expect with this author, just as
First I want to say that I had an amazing time with Tom! I love him! He is smart, funny... well he is the soul of this book!

I like Phil too, though I would like to see him begging for forgiveness... but "water under the bridge" as my "friend" Tom would say!

The plot is very light and intelligent... the mystery is interesting and captivating!

I think the ending was a bit rushed, it would be nice to see a little more of their relationship... but March is not far away... and I can't wait for the se
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
What I liked most about this book was Tom, the story is from his POV so his voice is very distinctive and full. He's such a fantastic character. Sadly, Phil is very much a mystery and remains that way until the end still leaving a lot of questions as to his history and his movtivations and we end up with more of a HFN.

The story was so good, I really, really enjoyed it. Tom is a plumber who has had the ability to find things, hidden things, all his life. He sometimes uses this ability to help a f
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fun, m-m, mystery
I made a bound-to-grow list of what I favour the most in J.L. Merrow’s stories :
- the front seat in her characters’ head
- her chameleon gift
- her language
- her unlikely couples
- her cats

No item was missing in Pressure Head. The romance and murder solving plots were simple but well done and I enjoyed them mostly because I got to witness them firsthand from Tom’s POV : fast paced thoughts, mordant, kindness and slight short-sightedness

It is a sharp and fun read that you will leave with a bouncing
Tiya Rosa
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Right. This was a bit of a bitch to rate since I thoroughly enjoyed it but not exactly for the reasons I wanted to.

The blurb does a great job of summing up the important stuff in the book so I won't get into it. What I will get into are the things that worked and those that didn't for me.

The shit that worked:

Tom Paretski. Another awesome Merrow narrator, but I wasn't expecting any less. Tom is a great friend, a competent plumber, and a bit of a ladies' man. What I mean is as snarky and belligere
Rosa, really
This book is a funny, cozy whodunit with soft-boiled undertones.

(Why, yes, I did just google “types of mysteries”—thank you for noticing. :))

I liked that 2 major parts of the plot occur within the first chapter.

-Tom finds a dead body and
-Tom meets up with the deliciously granite-like Phil.

Phil is a former school fellow, now a PI, who coped with his own homosexuality by bullying Tom. Luckily for us, the murder forces them together (I love it when that happens) and they spend the rest of the nov
Mandy*reads obsessively*
Tom is a plumber with very special skills.
And this story starts out right away with you seeing him in action! I thought that a very clever and interesting twist!
The romance really took a backseat and honestly I wasn't overly happy with that part of the story.
(view spoiler)
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book the second time around. Funny how that works.
Emanuela ~plastic duck~
Everybody should know that I LOVE this author. Also, ahem, British English is almost a different language, but it's what I learnt (see?) in school, so where did it go? Oh, you, Americans, you corrupted me from the mother tongue!

Where do I start?

The cats, Arthur and Merlin. I adored the little beasts, and they were treated properly, and I realised (see?) that I can tell if an author has ever interacted with a cat, because they'll tell you about those things that make cats what they are: fluffy de
Kaje Harper
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, mystery, paranormal
This book features another great narrator MC from JL Merrow. Tom is funny, snarky, kind and self-aware. He had a painful and life-changing trauma in his past but he has very little self-pity and has made a life he's content with. The British idioms were in full force and I personally love the flavor they lend to the book. The mystery is well presented, although not too hard to figure out, and the supporting characters are great. The touch of paranormal works well and doesn't overwhelm the book o ...more
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
Thank you so much Secret Santa for the prezzie!
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit, I'm a huge fan of J.L. Merrow's books. She has this ability to blend humour with drama, great characters and a vivid setting to great effect. Pressure Head is a perfect example of this and shows that this author is at the top of her game with this writing lark.

At first glance this story seems like a typical mystery. There's a dead girl, several shady suspects and the pairing of a dour PI and a plucky plumber, who have a less than happy past with each other, to solve the mystery.
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A pesar de ser en primera persona lo he disfrutado un montón porque Tom me ha parecido un personaje muy gracioso y además, tiene una pareja de gatos llamdos Arthur y Merlín, ya sólo eso es un punto a favor. Punto en contra, es una serie y detesto las series, a favor, se lee rápido y es muy entretenido, plus porque la relación de ellos no es un instalove y queda mucho por saber, especialmente de Phil y su pasado y qué es lo que realmente siente por Tom. Habrá que ir a por el siguiente!
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Anytime an m/m book has its first sex scene only at 70% into the hook, I usually like it (providing it's between the main characters, not one of them with random or supporting character). It means the focus is on characters and relationship developments. Here it's like that too.

It's sometimes funny and overall nice book. It has a feeling of reading Agatha Christie and watching British TV comedy a bit. The setting (small town with one church), the dialect, the mystery' etc.

But, this book lost a s
Vanessa North
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book primarily because friends have told me it was their favorite of Merrow's books. I did not read the blurb. I had no idea what the book was about. This is on me.

I thought this book was well-crafted. It made me laugh, it made me sniffle a bit. It was emotionally satisfying.

It was not a romance, and i expected a romance. It was a mystery with romantic elements. I generally avoid mysteries--unless the mystery is absolutely perfectly crafted (and few are), i find them irritating.

It i
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The Backlot Gay B...: Pressure Head by J.L. Merrow 9 31 May 11, 2014 06:47PM  
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JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contempora

Other books in the series

The Plumber's Mate Mysteries (5 books)
  • Relief Valve (The Plumber's Mate #2)
  • Heat Trap (The Plumber’s Mate, #3)
  • Blow Down (The Plumber's Mate, #4)
  • Lock Nut (The Plumber's Mate Mysteries, #5)
“His gaze kept sliding in my direction, then zipping back to Phil, as if he’d heard you should make eye contact with people you’re talking to but had never actually seen it done.” 2 likes
“They’ve been seen in one of the restaurants in Brock’s Hollow, you know—I won’t say seen eating, as this is Victoria Beckham we’re talking about.” 0 likes
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