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Conspiracy Theory

(Hamarsson & Dempsey #1)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Years of grueling police work have left Niall Hamarsson jaded and disillusioned with life…although it’s likely he’s been that way all along. The last straw lands when the DA refuses to try a case Niall worked for years to bring to justice. Within hours he finds himself heading to the only place he’s ever been able to call home—a place he knows he doesn’t belong.

Mat Dempsey
ebook, 1st edition
Published October 7th 2019 by self (first published October 4th 2019)
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Average rating 4.30  · 
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 ·  169 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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A good page-turner for me as I always enjoy a good MM romance with a suspense subplot. Beware : this is an “on-going” series and this first part sets the ground…and what a solid ground for further enjoyment !!!

Niall Hamarsson is a loner. With his past childhood slowly revealed, it’s no surprise. His detective work, even thought quite successful, has left him jaded and on a spur of a moment, he decides to take a break and go back to the island he spent part of his childhood with his now-gone
1) Don't judge this book by its cover (which, to me, says I'm a MMA fighter who owns a tattoo shop), 2) and do not hesitate to dive into this gripping tale!

After a particularly difficult case, stoic Seattle detective Niall Hamarsson finds himself drawn back to his grandparent's cabin on a small island in the San Juans (an archipelago of islands in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle) where he spent his childhood. Mat Dempsey has also returned to the island from San Francisco and is now serving as
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
New series from Elle Keaton! I enjoyed the steady pace of the book, the mystery of the case, the small town mentality and two men who struggle with life challenges in pursuit of justice. This is slow burn, low steam, high angst story that features rough around the edges Niall Hamarsson, a man who could never fit in and is fed up with the system constantly failing him, and settled in his ways Mat Dempsey, small town sheriff who gets another chance with his high school crush and uncovers ...more
Joyfully Jay
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: camille
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.75 stars

For readers who love a slow burn or stories about cops solving murder mystery cases, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Elle Keaton’s world on Piedras Island (which seems to be a made up island in the very real San Juan Islands archipelago) rang true as someone who grew up in a town with a similar dichotomy of “summer people” and “locals” who lived there year round. The small-town feel materializes in a few ways. First, there is a feud between two
3.5 Stars

Review to come.

ARC of Conspiracy Theory was generously provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.
Who edited this book? Answer: No one. Minus one star.

I’m sitting in the hospital post spinal surgery. What I recall about this book is that it’s a really good starter for the series. Niall is a good man with some wicked ghosts in his closet. Mat is both charming and a good leader. And Fenrir is pure poetry. Excellent supporting cast of characters. I’m really looking forward to the next one. And sadly, that’s all I can manage today.
4.25 Stars

Well, damn. That was a pleasant surprise...count me in for whatever is next in this series!!
This book has clear priorities in the order of Characters, Setting, Romance. This means you'll love this if you're into a looong slow-burn with looooow steam and also enjoy a small town setting with a big cast of quirky characters and some added mystery thrown in.
The best way to describe the over-all feeling of this book is to compare it to the 90 min. pilot episode of a new show. The cast of characters get introduced and fleshed out a little. The first big case gets resolved and the ending sets
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

This is a slow and atmospheric crime story set on an island in the Pacific Northwest. It’s the story of Mat, the island sheriff and Niall, a Seattle detective who returns to the island when his life in Seattle becomes overwhelming. While Mat is deeply connected to his family and his community, Niall does his best to keep to himself and avoid people. But Niall might be the only person on the island who can help Mat with a spate
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm-romance, 2019, ku, crime
Good mystery. However, a tad slow.
Amy Dufera
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

Conspiracy Theory, the first book in Elle Keaton's Hamarsson & Dempsey series, appears to be the start of another addicting series.

First, I need to say that the cover doesn't match the storyline. This is not a tough guy story at all. This is a romantic suspense at it's finest.

In this slow burn romance, Niall quits his old life and returns to his small town. There he's reunited with his sort of ex, Matt, with whom he left off on bad terms.

What follows is a whole lot of mystery, as
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

The flow of Conspiracy Theory is wonderful. It meanders along and we spend time with both Mat and Niall individually as they deal with the goings on in Piedras Island in a week that turns about to be much busier that Mat is used to in the cold of February. They are each dealing with different events in their days and it was fun trying to figure out if and how all these things were connected and if they were even connected at
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: awesome-saga, lgbt
This is the first book in a new series by Elle Keaton and I loved this book. Romantic suspense which is a bit more on the heavier side with suspense. This book hooked me from the beginning. It kept me on the edge of the seat. The ending sort of creeps up on you.

This is a slow burn and also definitely just the beginning for Mat and Niall. We have a lot more to see and I can't wait for more. The development of their relationship is very slow and I also really want to know more about Naill's past.
Wendy-Book Lovers 4Ever
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rating- 4 stars
Author- New to me. I will check out other books by this author
Kindle or Audible- Kindle ARC
What I liked- The overall storyline, I love a romantic suspense story. I enjoyed Mat more than Niall, Niall I had a hard time connecting with because he was so standoffish but I think that is the whole point of his character. The secondary characters like Mat’s mom, Alyson, and his Deputy, Birdy are awesome characters. Both men seem to be struggling with the need to want more and thinking
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

I really, really enjoyed this story of second chances. This is definitely a trope that is appealing to me, but add in the extremely slow burn and mystery, and I was hooked.

Both MC's were fiercely independent, which was even better to add to the intrigue as they started leaning on each other more and more. The murder case kept the story moving at a good pace and had me curious until the end.

Michael Pauley is a gifted narrator. I enjoyed all of his different character voices. I love it
Patricia Nelson
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic, fast paced, action packed, emotionally charged, grab-you-by-the-feels, intense, gritty, gripping, enthralling, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, biting your nails, amazing, slow burning, and totally awesome start to a fascinating new series. Filled with mystery, murder, madness, mayhem, and more twists and turns than a roller coaster, it had me glued to my ereader and eagerly looking forward to the next book from this talented author.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
This was a really strong start to a series. I'm excited to read more, and disappointed that I have to wait! It has such a slow burn and both men have a long way to go before I think they'll figure out their relationship, but I'm definitely on board to see how it'll play out!
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ku
This is a great start to a new series and I devoured this story. It is a VERY slow burn romance wrapped in a mystery. If you’re looking for a story that makes the story and characters the focus and not pages of sexual escapades, this should make you as happy as it made me. Very well done Ms. Keaton!
Jenny Wood
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Okay… there’s a lot to go over here, so first, we meet Hamarsson when he’s handing in his resignation letter to his boss (which she doesn’t accept), and he’s hitting the road/ferry, back to the island of Piedras where his grandparents took him to live after his mother disappeared, leaving him in a closet for an undetermined amount of time. Now, I do love a good wounded bird and Hamarsson, who’s name is Niall, has a lot of baggage from his childhood…. So much so that he can’t even sleep inside ...more
Anne Barwell
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was pulled into this story, and wanted to know more about these characters, immediately. I love slow burn romances, especially with flawed characters. I particularly felt for Niall with his horrible start in life, and how he has convinced himself he’s not worth anything, and buried himself in his work in an attempt to ignore his past. I liked how the contrast between his mother, and his grandparents was portrayed. I hope we can see more of his life with his grandparents in flashbacks in future ...more
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mm-romance, kebb
Conspiracy Theory by Elle Keaton is a magnificent start to her Hamarsson & Dempsey series. Just the right amount of mystery and suspense intertwine with the struggles of life, the ghosts of the past and the sexual tension of the present. Throw in a generous amount of angst and an agonizingly, yet fulfilling, slow-burn and it yields one scorching and intense partnership.

Seattle homicide detective Niall Hamarsson has given his all to the job and the community he protects. When a particularly
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Conspiracy Theory is the first book in the Hamarsson & Dempsey series by Elle Keaton; does it set up the stage for the rest of the books?


Yes, it does.

And in a way that makes me want to keep an eye out for what's to come.

While it can be read as a standalone - the story has an ending; no cliffhangers there - we have already been well-acquainted with the setting and characters, but there are still things to explore.
For one: the romantic angle. Are the guys going to become closer in the next
Maryann Kafka
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I personally am glad that Elle Keaton took a chance and tried something a little different in her writing. She developed two new characters and a well plotted murder mystery.

Niall Hamarsson, tired of big rat race of crime, returns to the small Island of Piedras the only home he really knows. From a heartrending childhood he was brought to the isle by loving grandparents. Niall, now as a grown man, still feels that he’s worthless and hasn’t done things right.

Mat Dempsey is the island sheriff and
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xd-assigned-read
This kept me glued to my ereader!

I became a fan of Elle Keaton's writing when I read her Accidental Roots series so I jumped at the chance for an early read of Conspiracy Theory, the first book in her new Hamarsson and Dempsey series. The story engaged me right from the start and didn't let go until I finished the book.

The story has mystery, suspense, an enemies to lovers vibe and a rescued dog. I didn't predict how some things unraveled in the story and that's the best kind of romantic suspense
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, to-be-continued
4.5 stars. A really good start to what I assume will be a multiple book series. Not quite 5 stars because we ended up without all the i's dotted between the two MC's, but still a really, really good M/M mystery/romance.

The setting is one of the small islands in the Puget Sound. Everyone knows everyone else's business. The only ingress/egress is the ferry. No freeways here. The current sheriff (MC #1) came back to the island from San Francisco when his father died so he could be near his mother.
Shhhh...I’m reading
Audible. Also available on KU.

While this was my first experience with Elle Keaton, I'm a fan of Romantic Mystery/Suspense, M/M, & Micheal Pauley ~ so I was really excited for the opportunity to review. Keaton did not disappoint and I'm looking forward to exploring her Accidental Roots series while waiting for the next Hamarsson & Dempsey to be released.

Alternating POV by chapter, Michael Pauley's narration was terrific here. I appreciated his ability to give all the characters fairly
Tracy~Bayou Book Junkie

5 Stars

When it comes to mystery/suspense, Elle Keaton is one of my favorite authors. I was really looking forward to Conspiracy Theory and she definitely didn’t disappoint.

I loved both Mat and Naill, which in Naill’s case is surprising, because he was an ornery man, and that’s putting it nicely, but there was something about him that drew me in and endeared him to me. I really loved Mat and I especially loved that he didn’t back down where Naill was concerned.

There isn’t much romance here, but
Emily  Muddle
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have to start by addressing the outstanding slow burn romance in this book. Mat and Niall spend a large portion of time trying to blatantly ignore their attraction to one another, and it doesn’t help that there is some shared animosity between the two. Mat feels guilty about Niall’s past on the island, but at the same time is irritated with Niall’s seemingly arrogant offer to assist with the investigation. The emotional depth that was conveyed for each character was truly remarkable and I ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great start to a new series

I really enjoyed this very slow build romantic suspense book. Niall and Mat are complex characters that we gradually get to know throughout the book. The secondary characters are interesting. The suspense plot is intriguing though fans of the genre will quickly figure out at least the basics of what is behind the happenings on the island.

There are some questions thrown out that don’t get a full answer and at least one of them is intriguing so it was annoying that it
Nat ReadingAllNite
4.5 stars

This is a great start to a suspense series that looks to become romantic suspense in the next book. Don’t look for much here; any acknowledgement of their attraction doesn’t occur until almost the end of the book and I couldn’t see the point of the token sexual interaction at that point. I’d have been happy with just kisses. They hadn’t said a word to each other before that. The mystery was eminently puzzling but seemed weak in areas. The resolution left much to be desired, however it
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Author/imaginator & photographer (also rare Pacific Northwest Native), Elle grew up in Seattle, WA., with the Cascade Mountain range to the east and Olympics to the west.

Elle shares her life with between three to five cats (depending on who's counting), an extremely patient fiancé and a flock of young adults. She's lived in four US states, London England, and Hong Kong; always knows what time