The Dark Tide (Adrien English Mysteries #5)

 Title: The Dark Tide
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Just Joshing
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M, murder mystery
Length: Novel (81K words)
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5

five star + read

 

 

 

THE BLURB

As if recovering from heart surgery beneath the gaze of his over-protective family wasn’t exasperating enough, someone keeps trying to break into Adrien English’s bookstore. What is this determined midnight intruder searching for?
 
When a half-century old skeleton tumbles out of the wall in the midst of the Cloak and Dagger Bookstore renovation, Adrien turns to hot and handsome ex-lover Jake Riordan — now out-of-the closet and working as a private detective.
 
Jake is only too happy to have reason to stay in close contact with Adrien, but there are more surprises in Adrien’s past than either one of them expects — and one of them may prove hazardous to Jake’s own heart.

Adrien English Mysteries

THE REVIEW

Adrien was recuperating at home from open heart surgery performed three weeks earlier after he nearly died from a gun shot wound, and he’s disgusted at his body’s slow recovery. At the end of Death of a Pirate King he had been shot by Paul Kane, a Hollywood actor who was one of Jake’s lovers, something about which Adrien  was unaware until it was almost too late, and he was only alive because Jake refused to let him die.

Now that he was out of hospital and back in his own apartment at last, after spending some time at his mother’s (Lisa’s) house going crazy, Adrien was happy to have just his new cat for company. However, on his first night home, instead of getting a good night’s sleep there was an attempted break-in and he calls Jake when 911 puts him on hold. Jake was now retired from the LAPD after 20 years and was working as a private investigator. Of course he rushes right over to make sure that Adrien is okay and it is deja vu all over again, reminiscent of their very  first meeting in Fatal Shadows.

The next day the construction crew working on the expansion of Adrien’s bookstore the “Cloak and Dagger” found a body under the floorboards that had been there at least 50 years, prompting yet another murder investigation in which Adrien is front and centre, even though he is not a suspect this time. 

In The Dark Tide Adrien’s past is alive and well.  His first ex, Mel Davis is back 7 years later, as is Guy who very few fans of the series liked because he was so fake. Adrien plays them both as he tries to decide which one would get the big prize. However, someone else has a say in what happens eventually in Adrien’s love life, and the relationship dynamics in this book are way more complex than in any of the previous 4 stories. You’ll have to read the book to find out how it all plays out in the high stakes game of winner gets the in-demand, hot Adrien. 😀

The murder mystery is actually better than I’m accustomed to in a Josh Lanyon book as I didn’t solve this one for a long time. This author is either getting better or my detecting skills are in sore need of a refresher course. As usual there were many false clues and red herrings, and since the crime was 50 years old, disentangling the mystery took a while. To complicate the investigation there was a second murder which turned the case on its axle.

During the course of the investigation, as is the norm in any AE mystery, I met many new characters, and one of them who impressed me was Jinx, sister of the dead man. When questioned by Adrien, at one point she made this impassioned speech –

You’ve never been afraid,” she said harshly. …… “You’ve been protected and pampered all your life, and you don’t know what fear is. Not real fear. Not gut-wrenching, piss-your-pants, do anything…You know what it is? It’s a dark tide sweeping in and pulling you out into the deep. Way out. And you go with it even when you know you should fight, even when you know the end will be your destruction, because you’re too afraid not to. You’ll trade your soul for one day, one hour, one minute more of safety. It’s why people do the things they do — that dark tide dragging them along like an undertow.” 

I had never thought about life that way before.

Josh Lanyon’s writing is skillful as always and his prose is among the best, but I thought that at times he played with the readers’ heartstrings by piling on memory after memory. Lanyon saves his best for last as his characters shine as never before. The Dark Tide did something that most series don’t do well – it completed the series and character arcs in a way that made sense and did not compromise either. Adrien and Jake have been through a lot in the five books that comprise the Adrien English Mysteries and at times I wondered if the genii could be put back in the bottle because there has been enough hurt to go around twice and both characters bore the wounds. In this book the author gave us another take on his two favourite protagonists  with lots of grief, angst and soul searching but this time he tries to make things right– whether he achieved his objective is for the readers to judge. I can say from my perspective that whatever the author intended in terms of the emotional content of this story, he succeeded beyond my expectations, as a fan of the series.

Many characters return, some not quite as lovable as others. There are surprises and you will be happy to see a few old faces. But with the good comes the bad and Jake’s and Adrien’s nemesis, LAPD Homicide Detective Alonzo is just as offensive as ever as he heads up the murder investigation for a while and  throws his considerable weight around, trying to show who has the power now that Jake is no longer with the LAPD. However things don’t go exactly his way and there is one scene towards the end of the book where Adrien takes him on and gave Alonzo his comeuppance. What a delight to see Adrien in rare form!

This is the last book in the Adrien English Mysteries and in the end, while the plots are important, it’s all about the characters. Some readers will feel vindicated, others will feel that the end was appropriate, there will be those who will want more, more, more and last, a few fans will feel that Jake has not been punished enough.  

As for the characters, Adrien is Adrien, much loved with a few faults but nothing too destructive.  The fans love him because he is normal like most of us, so we relate to him, especially as he had a serious illness which prevented him from being an alpha hero. Despite his still precarious health he seemed the stronger of the two as he makes demands and shows that he’s no one’s door mat. Conversely, Jake’s layers and vulnerabilities are so exposed in this book that it’s as if he’s naked at times. Perhaps the tough guy image was not as real as we thought but merely a facade because he didn’t want anyone to know the real Jake, but that will be up to the readers to judge. Jake has always been my favourite (and I know I’m in the minority here) because his was the more complex character. I was really surprised at how much he evolved during the course of this series, which had a lot to do with him being in the closet initially and then coming out, but that was not what defined him. He was strong and caring and even if he didn’t say so, he loved Adrien as he proved at the end of Death of a Pirate King.  Jake had a lot of human failings and many flaws, and some of his behaviour may be unconscionable, but while he showed considerable growth in TDT he remained true to the character and still a bit of an enigma, which is the way it should be.  His tarnished image from THYS got a bit of polishing at the end of Death of a Pirate King and maybe he will come full circle in The Dark Tide.

You may be tempted to read the last pages first to see how it all ends, however if you do you will miss the synergy between Jake and Adrien that flows throughout the book. Try to resist the temptation — The Dark Tide is like a wonderful dessert that you have waited a long time to enjoy, and you should taste and savour every delicious moment rather than take one huge bite. 

I could tell you how it ends but both you and Josh would kill me 😀 This is probably the longest review I have ever written but there was a lot to say about the end of this series. Despite its length there are no spoilers in this review because I know how important this book is to fans of the series.

This book is not a standalone and should be read as part of the Adrien English Mysteries. The Dark Tide will be released on December 22nd.

 Highly recommended.

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

75 comments

  • Hi Merith
    Thanks for getting in touch about the book and your nice words re the review.
    *
    As I said from the time I started reading these books, I’m a Jake fan and I think his growth in the series is phenomenal. I liked him when he was the pain in everyone’s rear and now he’s my hero in the series. I know that most everyone loves Adrien, as I do, but there are times when Jake really makes this series sizzle. Without him it would have been an OK series but not exceptional.

    *
    I really didn’t get the killer until close to the end but then Josh is getter better at the job so I don’t feel bad. 🙂

    *
    I wasn’t sure about Lisa when she was first introduced but now I quite like her even though she’s so over protective.

    *
    Now we can look forward to hearing from Jake and Adrien at Christmas maybe. 😀

    • Oh yes! More Jake and Adrien would be a good thing, and Josh did confirm in his comment on Clare’s birthday month post that he thought he’d revisit them occasionally.

      It’s a toss up between Jake and Adrien on which I care more for. I do agree though, that if Josh hadn’t written Jake the way he did, the series wouldn’t be as good. I thought it absolving for Jake when Adrien gets more of a taste on what Jake had to live through for the majority of his life — his bout of dark tide and just hanging on. I loved that quote of Jinx’s when she talks about what some people will and have done just to make it through one more hour, one more day, one more year…it makes a person just that bit more sympathetic or at least, a bit more understanding on why.

      And, if you haven’t guessed, I’m a total Josh fangirl. Have pretty much loved everything he’s written and can’t wait for the next story. 🙂

  • Better late than never? I love what you’ve written about the evolution of Jake and Adrien. Both characters went through such growth and I think it had to take something big to bring Jake around — for Jake to mature emotionally before he could accept possible loss to what he had lost.

    Lisa surprised me in this book. But, not really. At the start of THYS, she hinted at Adrien and Jake moving into the Porter Ranch house together and it was only when Jake totally devastated Adrien she sharpened her claws.

    Oh, I don’t want to give spoilers, but I was so happy to see the return of one character. Glad he had a place, after all.

    And, not to brag, but when the killer was introduced, I had an idea and later was able to guess correctly but for the wrong reason. It wasn’t until Adrien met Scout that I knew for sure (and that was so close to the end). I think I was successful in guessing only because the killer appeared to be the least likeliest.

    Oh, and one last thing — I never liked Guy. He just seemed so wrong for Adrien, no matter that they enjoyed many of the same things.

  • Hi Eve

    Happy New Year.
    *
    Of all the fans of the series I was most interested in your reaction both to the book and to the review. It goes without saying that you love everything Josh writes, especially this series, but I wanted to get your thoughts on the relationship between Adrien and Jake, in this their last book together.

    *
    I’m glad you felt that I got it right in the review especially the character arcs. It was really interesting for me to see Jake’s evolution as a character which was 180 degrees from the first 3 books. In DOAPK Jake started to mellow and he actually talked to Adrien about things that really mattered.

    *
    Josh did an excellent job on this series, and I must congratulate him on knowing when to pull the plug, no matter how much fans plead for more, more, more. 😀

    *

    Thanks again Eve for contributing questions for the interview with Josh – I really appreciate it.

  • Of course I went back to read your review of it after I’ve finished it. You said it so well about Adrien and Jake, esp Jake, how he has growth and evolved in the series. I can’t think of any other mystery series with such a satisfying relationship arc.

    I think the mystery part is quite a melancholy affair which fits the atmosphere of this book. I didn’t get the murderer right either!

    We just had discussion at a forum about how Jake worships Adrien in a way that Mel and Guy never do, and I think TDT shows a great contrast of what some people would just settle for a Mel and a Guy in their life, but give up the Jake in their lives because they are too afraid to take risk. I am so glad Adrien proves he’s stronger than he think he is.

    And of course, Lisa is just a gem in this book! 🙂

  • It’s just about 4AM and I am exhausted, but content. Mmm, this was satisfying. I’ve always been a huge Jake fan. 😀 (and yay, puppy!)

  • I loved it too!
     
    Spoilers ahoy:
     
     
     

    The restaurant plate changing scene was so subtle, the way it was just slipped in there.
     

    Another one that stood out for me was when they were on the pier, and Adrien bent over to look into the water, a bit too close to the rickety rails by the sound of it.
     
    And when Jake said he was going to the funeral, but didn’t think Adrien should go, then rang him straight back saying what time he’d pick him up …there are so many captivating scenes!
     
    I have to go and read it again now, even though my eyes are soooo bleary. ;D

  • Forgot to metion I was always pro Jake. Loved reading him grow. Go team Jake.

    Oh and the cover is just yummy.

  • Great review. Saw you had it posted last week, but didn’t read it then (glad I did, was surprised by a certain ex showing up). I didn’t want to know anything about it until the book came out (still haven’t read the blurb).

    *
    Now to the book: Loved, loved, loved it. Did I mention I loved it? Loved it. Thought it was a perfect way to complete the series. I started rereading the series on Sat. and finished DoaPK just before midnight last night. Saw Loose had it ready to buy and was going to get it then and there but decided to go to bed so I wouldn’t be falling asleep while reading. Got it first thing this morning and read straight through. I’m happy with were it ended (although if it was longer or we get little snippets down the road I certainly woundn’t complain :D).

    *
    Have to agree about the bookstore scene being great (pre, during, and post Alonso), but I’m with Lynn, loved the cafe scene with the plate swapping. Wasn’t necessarily romantic, but something that was so natural. Nothing was said, it wasn’t made into any big deal by Adrien, it just was and I loved that.

    • Cafe scene/plate swapping: depends on the individual definition of romance, of course, but I would definitely consider the level of knowledge it implied, including the no-fuss acceptance romantic in a really odd kind of way.

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