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The wrong secret could flush their love down the drain.

It’s been six months since plumber Tom Paretski was hit with a shocking revelation about his family. His lover, P.I. Phil Morrison, is pushing this as an ideal opportunity for Tom to try to develop his psychic talent for finding things. Tom would prefer to avoid the subject altogether, but just as he decides to bite the bullet, worse problems come crawling out of the woodwork.

Marianne, a young barmaid at the Devil’s Dyke pub, has an ex who won’t accept things are over between them. Grant Carey is ruthless in dealing with anyone who gets between him and Marianne, including an old friend of Tom and Phil. Their eagerness to step in and help only makes them targets of Grant’s wrath themselves.

With Tom’s uncertainty about Phil’s motives, Tom’s family doing their best to drive a wedge between them, and the revelation of an ugly incident in Phil’s past, suddenly Tom’s not sure whom he can trust.

The body in the Dyke’s cellar isn’t the only thing that stinks.

Warning: Contains British slang, a very un-British heat wave, and a plumber with a psychic gift who may not be as British as he thinks he is.

270 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 17, 2015

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About the author

J.L. Merrow

147 books1,268 followers
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 contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. Her novel Relief Valve is a finalist in the 2015 EPIC Awards.

JL Merrow is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 233 reviews
Profile Image for ttg.
443 reviews156 followers
March 19, 2015
4.5 stars - Straight up, this is one of my most awaited books of 2015.

Why? Because I love- LOVE- Tom Paretski and how he charms, stumbles, and psychically senses his way through life, love, and a few murder mysteries here or there.

Heat Trap is book 3 in Merrow’s The Plumber’s Mate series, which starts with #1 Pressure Head and follows with #2 Relief Valve. In those volumes, you meet Tom, a plucky (and in my mind, adorable) plumber who has a bum hip (from an incident in his teens) and a special ability to find things, which works great when he’s searching for leaks in a pipe, but also means he can find hidden items or…bodies. Along with Tom, Merrow introduces you to a gaggle of quirky characters as well as to Phil, Tom’s former high school bully who is now a private investigator, and after a few trials and missteps, is also now investigating Tom’s privates (ahem) as The Boyfriend (one who is often exhausted by how Tom tumbles into trouble.)

I LOOOOVED the first two books, and I LOOOOOOVE Tom. I love his narrative voice—quick and charming (and a little over-talkative, but I still love him.) Loved the side characters. Loved the push-pull-push away-grasp back of his and Phil’s careful courtship, both of them a little scared and wary of being hurt or falling too hard, but both unwilling to let go.

So how did book 3 hold up?

I loved it. I went in with high expectations, but also a sincere feeling of joy and excitement because I was so happy to dive back into Tom’s head. And I’m happy to say that feeling was maintained throughout as I devoured this volume. (Far too quick, even though it’s gloriously longer at 250+ pages.)

What I liked: This volume’s mystery was good. Loved the further progression of both Tom and Phil’s relationship as well as the mystery that unspooled at the end of book 2. As always, Merrow includes wonderful and realized side characters who really feel like an extended family for Tom, and for this reader, were great to return to.

Like the previous volumes, the sexy times are mostly low-key or fade to black, with a few intimate scenes. I don’t mind that this series isn’t “high heat” because the characters and their progression are so much fun to read.

What was harder: I wasn’t 100% satisfied with how the mystery wrapped or was explained, but overall, I was so won over by the Tide of Tom and his Phil and his friends, that I didn’t really care too much to dwell on details.

Who’s going to like this? If you enjoyed book 1 and 2, then my strong recommendation is to try book 3 because it’s more of that goodness. It’s very much a fun ride, and I loved following along on it.

Did you not like book 1 and 2? Did you find Tom’s voice “too British”? Did you find him too talky? Or maybe you didn’t like Phil or the mysteries? If you didn’t enjoy the earlier volumes, I don’t see this one winning you over because it’s similar in style.

Can you jump in cold here? Maybe? I would strongly recommend not to though because things make way more sense if you start with book 1 Pressure Head. It’s a great book, especially if you like mysteries with a strong romance subplot.

This is definitely one of my favorite series—it’s understated but filled with charming characters and fun mysteries. The scene is set for a few more (I believe and hope) which makes me endlessly happy that we can return to this village in Britain and ride along with Tom and Phil to find out where they go next.

My dream would be to watch this series on TV, because it would be RAD British television, but my second dream would be for Samhain to make an audio version. Because LISTENING to Tom would be super awesome.
Profile Image for Darien.
847 reviews327 followers
March 10, 2018

Here I go again with another book in the Plumbers Mate series. While I enjoyed this one a lot more than the last I'm unsure if I will continue with the series. Once again, the mystery aspect was a letdown and I’m contemplating if Tom and Phil are still worth it.

Heat Trap gives us Tom and Phil on another case, a most lukewarm case. When the owner of the Pub they usually frequent asks for their help in stopping a slithering stalker Carey Grant, they take the case. What they never expected was the slimy stalker to be so slinky and dangerous. Along with dealing with the case, Tom is also dealing with some personal issues and having a hard time coming to terms with everything. Things take a while to get to the point and when it does Tom finds Carey Grant in the cellar of the pub and thus begins the chase to catch a killer or so I thought…

I’m trying to get into this without giving too much away, but let’s say the story was quite interesting and fun up until the death of Grant Carey and then boom, bloody wilted lettuce. All the dryness none of the deliciousness. The big reveal of the actual killer I felt didn’t even have a connection to the story so instead of being surprised, I just felt let down. So many people going round and round and ending up nowhere.

Let’s talk about Tom. I remember loving him in the first book and though he does have his charms and is on his way to crazy town with how he’s all in his head. I’m not here for him anymore. He doesn’t take things seriously enough, and the way he treated Phil in the end there was just too much. He learns something’s about Phil’s past and jumps the gun by overreacting leaving to do the whole begging thing when it was Tom who should have been apologizing. I lost all my love for him as a character with his woe is me attitude. Everything is Tom, Tom, Tom, he’s a special snowflake.

I believe for me the series has lost its charms. While I remain curious of what will become of Tom and Phil my underlying need seems to be gone. Maybe in a while I’ll give it another go especially with that cliffi at the end there, Toms life is about to get a whole lot of interesting. But for now I’m calling it quits. While I liked this one significantly more than the last book, and did have some burst out laughing moments, I am quite done with being disappointed. These mysteries have become children Easter egg hunting.

Profile Image for Meags.
2,115 reviews376 followers
February 26, 2019
4 Stars

There is trouble afoot down at Tom Paretski’s favourite pub, with the young barmaid, Marianne, struggling to deal with a manipulative and potentially dangerous ex-boyfriend who has set his sights on causing trouble not only for Marianne but for all the people in her life who are standing in his way, which just so happens to now include Tom and his PI boyfriend Phil.

Tom and Phil are now firmly playing the roles of protectors and saviors to those around them who are in need, but their personal health and happiness is threatened when Tom is mysteriously assaulted and lands himself in hospital with a head injury. Things further escalate with a new dead body to investigate, and before long Tom and Phil’s relationship starts to show signs of strain under the pressure of this new intense situation.

It doesn’t help that Tom’s still struggling with the emotional upheaval of a recent and life changing family revelation, and to say he’s not dealing with it well would be an understatement. But, thankfully, with the support of his closest friends, Tom is able to find some perspective on his own relationships, including working out where he stands with broody but loyal Phil, all while throwing himself head first into the fray to help bring a stop to whoever is causing the harassment and harm to those around him.

This was probably my least favourite of the series in terms of the mystery and its conclusion, but I did like the strides made in Tom’s many complex relationships. Although I think very little of Tom’s family as a whole, I liked the reveals that slowly came to light over the course of the story. I also still greatly appreciate the complexities of Tom’s relationship with Phil. Things are never easy between these two, but although they experience their highs and lows, often frustrating the hell out of me with the very male way they deal with their feelings, I find their relationship to be more genuine and convincing than many I read in the M/M romance genre. They aren’t perfect and they don’t express themselves properly very often at all, which just makes it more special in those few simple moments when they do show their love.

Tom has very effortlessly become an M/M book character I love to read about and I look forward to continuing his story of mystery, romance, and family drama, as I work my way through this long-running series.
Profile Image for Jenni Lea.
802 reviews291 followers
July 5, 2015

Oh, JL Merrow, you've outdone yourself with this one!

Simply marvelous.
Profile Image for Elspeth.
836 reviews130 followers
April 7, 2015
Thank you Netgalley for letting me read and review this book, I really enjoyed it.

If you go into this book looking for a twisty mystery like the first installment you are out of luck. This book’s who done it was pretty easy, well at least for me it was.

Then again I ditched a lot of High School to stay home and watch Quincy.

I hated High School.

It was like the characters had signs over there head saying this here be the red herring, and this here be yon criminal.

Anyways it wasn’t the mystery that made this book for me; it was the relationship progression for Tom and Phil. Oh the feels in this book, these two alpha men talk about their feelings and grow as a couple! It was just too yummy.

I hope Merrow isn’t done with these guys. I enjoy reading about them very much.
Profile Image for Anke.
2,461 reviews84 followers
March 19, 2015
What a great continuation of the story! Loved it from first to last page. Although the ending was rather abrupt and I have to say - I need more!!! Even if I have to wait another year, please let there be book #4 :)
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 75 books2,514 followers
April 9, 2015
This is a fun mystery series in a cozy-mystery style, with a great MC in Tom, plumber and paranormal body-finder. I enjoyed this installment a lot. I felt that I was gradually getting a better handle on Tom's boyfriend, Phil, beginning to see his weaknesses and strengths. Because these are first-person, Phil is still a bit of an enigma, but this book reveals more of who he is and what he feels.

The mystery was decent although not enormously unexpected in its resolution, and we learn more about Tom's family. I'm becoming more sold on these two men together as a couple, and I like that we hear a bit about Phil's unexpected feet of clay. But the fun in these books are the characters, and the light, good-natured, self-deprecating, slightly-snarky voice of Tom. If you like British flavor to your stories, and a light, character-driven story, consider this series. I'm already looking forward to the next one.
Profile Image for Paul.
648 reviews
March 8, 2017
I love these books and Heat Trap which is book three in The Plumber's Mate series takes the cake thus far. Did I mention the hilarity factor yet. http://ontopdownunderbookreviews.com/...

I love the way L.J. Merrow writes her British characters and leaves them to speak freely with their native slang. Maybe being an Aussie makes it a lot easier to understand it because resembles our slang and is so similar at times to the way things are phrased in the UK. This is not an easy thing to do but she has done it with startling aplomb.

I have never in my life physically laughed out loud, sputtered, snorted and giggled so much from one book alone, I actually had to stop a few times to collect myself. It's hilarity and one liner's, even during the face of adversity keep on coming thick and fast. This has to be close to one of the funniest books I've ever read although do not get me wrong, it is not a comedy.

This is yet another fantastic thriller/murder mystery, as are the rest of the books in this series but Heat Trap is by far the best with it's smart but slightly transparent plots that are entwined with the funniest dry wit and never ending banter between the main characters and their friends. Heat Trap is also a great title as this book is a trap in itself, you feel like you are trapped within it and along for the full ride.

You really have to get to know the characters and they get established very well during book one and two but come book three, L.J. Merrow has put you on such in intimate level with them that this books just flows and if you need a good belly laugh then just read these books.

They do have a supernatural current running through them but it is not absurd. I know a couple of people have struggled with the first two books, but to reach to proffered cherry on the end of a martini stick and you want to pop it then get cracking!!!!

The writing is excellent, the slang might be a slight challenge for some but I'm sure you'll figure it out, and if you can't then trust me when I say it's worth googling it as you go.

Profile Image for Heller.
974 reviews119 followers
March 20, 2015

This is a favourite series of mine. For me, that really stems from my love of Tom's voice. He's irreverent, charming, snarky and sassy. Being in his head is always a joy because he's a character that I love but as much as love things being from his POV that's also where I run into issues because I feel that it could do with a bit of balance from other characters' thoughts and motivations. That doesn't make me love this story any less it just makes me wish for more.

This being book #3 in a series should be read in that order to really appreciate the characters and their journey. I can't really recommend this series enough it's just so fun and sexy. Speaking of sex it's all off page and innuendo which for me works so well. The love story between Tom and Phil goes through a bit of rough patch here. I'm gushing a lot in this review but I can't help it, I love them! Things work out so well but it was touch and go for a while.

Other things that I loved here. Gary. Gary is an awesome friend to Tom and I'm so glad that we got to see his happy ending with Darren and their wedding. They're both awesome characters and I enjoy seeing Darren and Phil become good friends. Phil needs friends.

My big concern here was the wasted potential of Grant Carey. Who is Grant Carey, really? Psycho? Misunderstood? What really happened? Did it really pan out that out way? It almost felt like the story could have gone one direction that veered off to the easy way out with the killer that was revealed. What really happened to Tom that night? I have many questions and while some of them were answered I was left with an uneasy feeling. Maybe these will be addressed in a later book. Moar books please!!

I'm so invested in these characters and their lives and I need to know what happens next for Tom and Phil and the crew. A great book with characters that I love to revisit every time I open the pages.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Mark.
357 reviews157 followers
March 20, 2015
Talk about having skeletons in your closet well in Heat Trap they are most definitely in the cellar. In German there is the same idiom “Leichen im Kellar” and also has the same figurative meaning which if translated word for word would read “Corpses in the cellar”. So there must be a common origin to this idiom somewhere in the mists of time. I thought of this after reading JL’s guest post as in Germany all houses have cellars, but not in the UK. The only ones you find in the UK are in big country estate houses or pubs. I must admit cellars are very useful things if only to hide the odd skeleton in English or corpse in German! I guess the end result is the same, the German version being fresher as far as bodies go – lol!

Tom has done it again and his spidey senses of finding lost things is back and this leads him to the next corpse. However, Phil is now a private detective that gets called on a case through a mutual friend Harry who is owner and Landlady of the pub The Devil’s Dyke. Harry has called Phil in to investigate her friends ex, Grant Carey, who is an objectionable character to say the least.

What I love about this serious are the intricate plots. A well devised murder / mystery, but you also have Tom and Phil’s relationship and their personal circumstances running parallel beside all the investigative business. Tom still not knowing what to do now he knows from the previous book that his dad isn’t actually his biological dad. To approach or not to approach his mum about this issue. Gary’s and Darren’s impending wedding as with the his sister Cherry and her ecclesiastical fiancé Gregory. Phil’s shrouded secret of why he left the police comes to light rising doubt in Tom whether her really knows Phil or not. An extremely multi-facetted book with all these things expertly woven into a smooth whole from the pen of JL Merrow – LOVED IT!!! So once again one extremely intriguing story from beginning to end.

Phil and Tom are now on my list of all time favourite couples in M/M romance. A normal couple in a relationship with all its trials and tribulations and in this book we definitely get the angst factor in their relationship. Just like in real life it isn’t always a box of chocolates and easy going. JL takes a risk in this book with their relationship and gives us the real life relationship crises! We get the arguments, bickering and miscommunication. Never sure of whether the relationship will continue or break up due to several misunderstandings and pig-headedness on both sides causing a lot of upset at times. But oh my how Tom and Phil both suffered when they were not talking to each other, my heart broke for the pair of them. As with any new relationship it has to weather the storm of compatibility on a personal level and just great sex alone is not going to cement a long lasting commitment.

So where do you go and what do you do when you have boyfriend problems in the UK? Yes, you go to the pub with your best friend for a pint! And with Tom there was definitely a lot of pub visits with his best mate Gary and a number of pints were drunk in the process, well at least from Tom, Gary prefers Martinis. Again the whole dynamics between friends, boyfriends, etc. was perfect! JL gets a perfect balance, with great dialogues and super characters. Loved every minute! And as the pub is central to British culture then it only made sense to throw in a little murder too. I just love the way that Tom and Phil get caught up in these things especially when Tom never really goes looking for trouble. Trouble just seems to follow him due to his senses and before you know it the first dead body appears which he finds in the cellar of The Devil’s Dyke. Who did it and why? Well, you’re going to have to read that for yourself.

What I found really amusing too was the fact that this book was a little light on the hot sex side. It is set during a heat wave and neither Phil nor Tom have the energy to be cuddling up to each other a lot with it being so hot. All they wish to do are to find ways of cooling down. I had to laugh because I think that is the case with a lot of us. Again making them all the more real to me as characters. Maybe the heat also had the added effect of tempers being frayed and short.

Well, I’m delighted to say that after several nail biting chapters not only is the murderer found and apprehended but Tom and Phil get their act sorted out and the HEA is all the more sweeter for it knowing that after they sorted everything out it cements their relationship making it more secure than it ever was before. They realise that they are both stronger together than apart. It was an absolutely perfect ending for a pair who had steered the stormy seas of their relationship crises. I could have hugged them both for Joy.

Heat Trap (The Plumber's Mate #3) by JL Merrow

The only small niggle that I had is the book begins with a prologue which personally didn’t work for me. This could have been included in the book at the right time and wasn’t necessary to put this scene at the beginning in the form of a prologue. I have no idea for the reason behind it but it just felt a little out of place for me.

However, once again the third book in the Plumber’s Mate series did not disappoint and just added yet another perfect sequel to what is now one of my all time favourite couples and murder / mystery series. I so hope there is a fourth book coming as this book ended for me on a beautiful high if not a bit of a cliff-hanger for me personally when Phil presents Tom with his birthday present. I NEED TO KNOW HOW THIS MEETING WENT – NOW! Do you think if I take JL Merrow down the pub for a drink she might tell me?

Profile Image for Lori.
Author 2 books98 followers
March 31, 2015
I loved this book so much. Tom and Phil are one of my favourite book couples...they're so, British! I have the hugest crush on Tom, I love everything about him from his snarky moments, to his need to do the right thing. He is so perfect in his imperfectability. I love the way he thinks and the things he says. I adore the fact that a good brew is a cure all for him.

The relationship between these two was front and centre of this book, despite a good mystery storyline going on in the background. It definitely moves up a notch and worked so well. They are such a real couple. It's not all moonlight and roses or epic arguments over big things,I love their snarky little grumbles with each other. Weird but true.

JL Merrow makes the sex real too - there's a lot of it but it's not all on page (and as much as I lvoe reading a good bit of nooky I don't need every time a couple has sex to be fully documented. It makes the times it is worth more).

I genuinely can't think of a thing I disliked about this book. It's gone on my favourites list along with the others. My only complaint - I've gotta wait (a year??) for the next hit of Tom and Phil. Boo.
Profile Image for Deeze.
1,596 reviews265 followers
June 28, 2021
I'm always a little nervous when starting a new book in a much loved series, but I certainly need not of worried with this one.

Once again I was smitten with Tom and Phil. They have a romance that just feels so real. They also nearly gave me a heart attack at times. I was ready to start bashing heads together.

The murder mystery was intriguing and the cast of characters were entertaining in various ways.

Gary and Darren again add to the humour, cutsie nicknames and all.

Overall this again hit all my plus buttons. I still feel like we are missing something with Phil, but I'm hopeful we will get more of his story next time.

ETA Still fun but with that added touch of emotion. Loved it all over again, but I'm really hoping we get the full scoop on Phil and the mysterious Mark in the next installment.

ETA See above
Profile Image for Xing.
362 reviews239 followers
March 26, 2015
Definitely my favorite in the series! Heat Trap brings the antics of psychic plumber, Tom Paretski to new levels. Boy, is it a hot one!

Tom and Phil decide to help out Harry (from the Devil's Dyke) and her new barmaid, Marianne, with a troublesome ex-boyfriend issue. This is the main mystery/conflict that stretches throughout the length of the novel. However, this isn't the only conflict, as many things come up in Tom's life in this addition to the series, both involving his family and love life.

While Tom is still his enjoyable (and very British) self, it was nice to get some exposure to the side characters. Gary is a treat, Cherry makes more appearances, Tom's parents (need I say more?), the wonderful cat duo, Dave. And of course: Phil. If I had to point my finger at what makes this series just work, I would have to say it's the life that these characters all bring to the table. Because lets admit it: very few books out there are original in terms of plot or setup. So yes, the characters!

Since it has taken this long for Tom and Phil's relationship to get this far, I was worried that we'll be getting some melodrama. While there is conflict between our love interests, it never really quite crossed that line (it did get close though). Thank goodness! Though I did want to whack Tom a good one for some of his antics.

One of the criticisms I had was that I wished there was more focus on Tom's psychic ability. It seemed like the first book was all for this, yet not so much for the second. While there was some hinting to possibly expanding Tom's ability to find things, it never really came to much. While I am sad of this fact, I still have hope of seeing more of what makes this psychic plumber, well, psychic in the next book. The mystery was also pretty weak and had a pretty flabby conclusion, but since I'm not usually a mystery fan, it was something shrug-worthy for me.

So overall? So, so good!
Profile Image for Pjm12.
1,862 reviews41 followers
March 8, 2015
These mystery-funny-psychic stories are some of my favourite of this blended genre. Admittedly the sexytimes are mostly off-page, but that's not what Merrow is going for here.

It's all about Tom's voice - his easy going nature, his desire to live a good life, not an exciting one, and his determination not to be defined by his 'spidey-senses' (as he calls them).

His love for Phil is obvious, and if only he was as sure as Phil's love for him. If any pair need to up the communication, it's these two. But still, they always back each other up, they practically live together, and they pretty much ignore all the negativity from others. They have had a tortured past after all, and overcoming that is taking a little while.

The mystery aspect is solid. I love me a good villain to hate, and the nasty piece of work here is definitely slimy and hate-worthy. I like how the family issues are woven through the other elements, and of course, no 'Plumber's Mate' book would be as good without saucy Gary and his fiancée, Darren and their glamorous wedding plans.

If you've read the other two, you'll be wanting to get on to this one, pronto, and if you haven't go back and find Pressure Head and start the series.

Heat Trap is due out on March 17 and comes highly recommended from me. Copy received from publisher via Netgalley. Thanks.
Profile Image for Meep.
2,061 reviews201 followers
May 14, 2015
This one is for fans of Tom and his vernacular, because honestly, I couldn't tell you what the mystery plot was all about - and whats more I don't particularly care!

A lot of arguments, a lot of sex, a lot of unanswered phones, and a lot of Tom's extraneous thoughts mid-conversations. Throw in a birthday surprise that makes everything okay but just seems out of place. Theres a lot of larger than life characters in the stage show that is Tom's life.

I guess I just wasn't in the mood to fall for Tom's charms this time around.
Profile Image for Rebelexmachina.
96 reviews11 followers
June 15, 2020
3.5/5 stars

I really like the two MCs in this series and the two of them together, but I felt the mystery in this book was lacklustre. I think the prologues at the start of the book detract from the overall narrative because it becomes obvious quite quickly who the dead body belongs to and thus the mystery becomes easy to solve and lacks the element of surprise.

I was pleased however, that Phil’s bullying past was addressed somewhat as leopards don’t change their spots as easily as Tom might think.
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,579 reviews104 followers
August 28, 2018
Oh geez, so much going on in this one!

I complained in my review for the last book that I thought Tom and Phil's relationship took a backseat. That was not the case here. The case Phil's working on effects them both personally and even brings out some secrets Phil has been hiding about himself. It really tests their relationship, bringing up old concerns, but doesn't go into melodrama territory.

The case is again well-done. Marianne, the new bartender at the Dyke, is running from her abusive ex-boyfriend, and Phil's asked to dig up dirt on him. The ex is a Douche-with-a-capital-D and annoyingly wily when it comes to the law. This has some good and creepy twists to it and definitely doesn't end up anywhere I thought it would.

On the personal front, Tom's still trying to sort out how he feels about a family secret coming out in the previous book, so there are family tensions to deal with but again it avoids from going into melodramatic territory. I enjoyed seeing more of Cherry and Greg, and of course Gary and Darren are always a hoot. Oh, and I have to give a shout out to Arthur and Merlin too. They're just the coolest cats, if maybe a bit too quick with their affections. :D
March 11, 2017
For me, there is nothing better than picking up a book and realizing you totally connect to the characters and goings-on because you remember and cared about them so much in the previous books. When they feel like old friends Tom & Phil and you can't wait to see what's new ... GOLDEN! That's the way it feels reading this Heat Trap. The mystery isn't the star of this read. It's the character development and the day-to-day events that shine and keep me in touch with these folks. J.L. Merrow creates an excellent sense of place and I wouldn't mind living there. Love the kitties and well, there's nothing that didn't slow or tarnish my enjoyment of this book.
Profile Image for Simon.
642 reviews76 followers
June 29, 2021
Oh Yes! I am so loving this series. Ticks all the boxes....Murder/Mystery, M/M, Psychic, little descriptive sex and just a great story. This is "Miss Marple" the-Gay-male-way.
Already downloaded the next in the series.
Profile Image for Chris, the Dalek King.
1,167 reviews146 followers
July 6, 2016
Everything is going fine for Tom and Phil. Everything. Well, there is that thing with Tom’s dad…and everyone seems intent on questioning their relationship…but everything is fine. Then a patch of bad weather (of the roast ‘em in their socks variety) comes to town and everything goes a bit pear-shaped.

They find themselves pulled into helping Marianne-–a waitress at The Dyke-–get rid of her stalker ex, who seems to be slippery as a buttered eel. But while Phil and Tom find plenty of evidence that the man is shoe-in for Asshole of the Year, Grant Carey also seems to have the unnerving ability to worm his way into people’s lives with his quick smiles, and oh-shucks attitude. Finding a way to get him out of town, and out of all their lives, might be a lot harder than it seems. Especially when someone sets their sights on eliminating them out of the equation.

I hate Grant Carey…and not only because I spent the whole book going, “Carey Grant. No, wait. Fuck, it’s Grant Carey.” Grant Carey is a low-life creep and if anyone deserved his comeuppance, it’s that tosser. I do however love Grant Carey…because he is a great bad guy. You know he is the thing that even slime crosses the street to avoid, but he riles everyone up so much that it makes the story so very tense.

Heat Trap is a great name for this book. Everyone in this book is trapped in a heat wave of aggressive proportions, and it has temper flaring, and judgment going straight out of the window. It was frustrating some times to see Tom acting like a right idiot over some people’s actions and/or secrets, but with everything pressing down on him, nearly suffocating him, it was easy to see how rational was the last thing Tom was going to be. Or anyone, for that matter.

The mystery in this one was, as always, very entertaining. I never did quite figure it out till the big reveal, though I got a few of the smaller points nailed down as they came along. But still, it was fun to go along with Tom and Phil as they try to pin the primordial slime ball that is Grant Carey. The whole mystery with Tom’s dad did a good job of breaking the tension with Grant, and every time I felt like I couldn’t stand to around the limpdicked asshole (can you see my loathing for Grant yet?) anymore, the story would take a break and I would get a breather. And every time that I thought things were smooth sailings, something would happen to remind me not all is good in this little village.

I do wish we got more about Tom’s ‘dad’ in this book, I was biting at the bit after the revelations of book two, but while there is a few juicy hints here and there, not a lot was done in that story arc. Till the end. And then it ended and I’m left needing book four. Bloody teasers.

I really enjoyed this book, and this series is one of my English favorites. I didn’t hurt that I’ve been on a bit of a mystery kick, lately. All this detecting just gets my blood pumping…though not in the same way that some of Phil and Tom’s more naked interaction do (which, to be fair, are not many in number, but are lovely to read, nonetheless). I totally recommend that you pick up this book (and this series) and settle down for some not-so-quaint English murder and mystery. And if you find yourself loving your hate of a certain lowlife, well, you are probably not alone.

4.5 stars

This book was provided free in exchange for a fair and honest review for Love Bytes. Go there to check out other reviews, author interviews, and all those awesome giveaways. Click below.
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Profile Image for Tess.
1,876 reviews26 followers
August 28, 2016
3.75 stars

Enjoyable but probably my least favourite of the series because of the lack of communication.
Profile Image for Didi.
1,535 reviews85 followers
April 9, 2015
3.75 stars

It seems JL Merrow's Tom Paretski and his brooding PI Phil Morisson always hit the right spot for me.

Here, about a year being an establish couple, they were - apparently - still having new revelation of each other. But that's life, right. All these ups and downs just made their connection more real, which I love!

Tom's best mate Gary still up with his queen over the top antics that cracked me up. The mystery... I didn't even consider it a mystery at all. It just served as added trouble to Tom/Phil not so blissful love life.

And that closing scene... While it's predicted enough, couldn't even begin to imagine how it'd be on the next book when the wedding took place.

There's going to be next book, isn't there JL Merrow?? ***added threatening look here***
Profile Image for orannia.
314 reviews13 followers
March 22, 2015
Four and a half stars. What can I say, I love this series. Because Tom's voice is so strong. It's like he's right there, talking in your ear. I lived in the UK for several years, so the colloquialisms make sense and remind me of 'yesteryear' *grin* I do sometimes wonder if the people Tom surrounds himself with care for him, but several of them showed just that as this story progressed. The mystery was...OK, but the developing relationship between Tom & Phil made this book for me. The ending was a little bit of a cliff-hanger, so I do hope that there is fourth book! And if there is I will so be reading it :)
Profile Image for Mitticus.
1,006 reviews209 followers
June 4, 2015
2,5 stars.

The thing is I can't stand Phil. Tom and the story are good, but is the relashionship I can't buy.

Beside there are some lacking in the development of the so call mystery, and some loose end, and the use of Tom's gif was very lame.

Profile Image for Lori K.
162 reviews43 followers
March 22, 2015
Toms goes on a bit but other than that, charming.
Profile Image for Shelba.
2,008 reviews45 followers
October 23, 2019
This one didn't feel like much of mystery unless you count who clobbered Tom on the head. And Mysterious Mark still maintains his mystery. I know that there was a lot going on in this book, but at the same time, I found this one a bit duller compared to the first two. The whole plot with Carey never really seemed to reach the level of tension I was expecting and ended up being a bit anticlimactic for me.
Profile Image for Simply Love Book Reviews.
6,952 reviews827 followers
March 18, 2015
Slick's review posted on Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

Book three is author JL Merrow’s The Plumber’s Mate series has us once again thrust into the lives of plumber Tom Parekski and his P.I. lover Phil Morrison. In Heat Trap, Tom is still reeling from finding out that the man who raised him really isn’t his father and both he and Phil are dealing with a crazy stalker from a case that he is working. On top of it all, Tom once again finds a body but it was one he was kind of lead to and not only is Phil a suspect Tom’s cop buddy Dave gives him an earful about Phil. Filled with twists, turns, and a whole lot of man lovin’ and a bit of man fighting Heat Trap is an entertaining addition to this series.

Tom really struggled in this book not only with trying to understand his Mom’s infidelity years ago but wondering how the man who raised him really felt about him not to mention with wondering about his birth Dad. In addition when he really needs Phil, he finds out he’s in jail and then finds about some information he never knew about him making him question if their relationship is really everything he thinks it is.

There were a few times I wanted to knock Phil up the head in this book and since that’s happened in almost every book I’ve just come to realize that I have a love/hate relationship with him. I’ve never liked the secrets he’s kept from Tom and there have been times when I questioned his loyalty to Tom but then he turns around and does something so amazingly spectacular that I melt.

Watching these two continue to work through the ups and downs in their relationship, watching them deal with family members who are less than welcoming, and watching them navigate ever day life with humor, conviction, and love reminds me why I have enjoyed this series from the beginning and why I keep reading it. While I thought this was to be the last in the series, the ending made me think that readers may be in for a fourth book and I will not so patiently waiting to see what happens next.

Review copy provided for an honest review.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,731 reviews105 followers
March 6, 2018
'Heat Trap', book three in JL Merrow's series, 'The Plumber's Mate', is precisely what I needed to read this evening. Having absolutely adored the first two books, I knew that I'd find comfort in being back in Tom and Phil's lives, plus the humor and wit of these very British books always has me laughing throughout. Exactly what I need in my life, right now, so I'll thank the author, in advance, for helping me battle back the gloomies for an evening.

Tom and Phil's life is just as jam-packed with intrigue as always. They're trying to find Tom's real dad, without having to talk to Tom's mom about her affair, while also helping Marianne with her very strange, cruel, and oddly disarming ex-boyfriend who is stalking her. I'll just leave it at their professional lives are swamped. The strange heat wave Britain is having isn't helping matters, either. Their personal lives seem to constantly be up and down, or all around. Tom is helping his best friend Gary with his wedding plans to Darren, a midget ex-porn star. And Phil and Tom seem to be on that edge in every relationship where it's time to go forward, but I'm not so sure either of them knows what they're doing, or where they're going. Or, more specifically, how to talk about it. *eye roll*

An exceptionally exciting addition to the series, this book had me turning the pages very quickly, and hoping Tom was wrong in his fears about Phil, while at the same time, being angry at Phil for not opening up to Tom about his past. Oi. There was a lot of murderous intrigue going on, but also personal revelations which sometimes left me reeling. A more than enjoyable story that I highly recommend.

NOTE: This book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews
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