Title: The Mermaid Murders (The Art of Murder #1)
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: JustJoshin Publishing
Release Date: February 29th, 2016
Genre(s): Suspense/MM Romance/Contemporary/FBI Romance/Thriller
Page Count: 243
Reviewed by: Lily G Blunt
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Special Agent Jason West is seconded from the FBI Art Crime Team to temporarily partner with disgraced, legendary “manhunter” Sam Kennedy when it appears that Kennedy’s most famous case, the capture and conviction of a serial killer known as The Huntsman, may actually have been a disastrous failure.
The Huntsman is still out there…and the killing has begun again.
A wonderful tension-packed and swift-moving murder mystery intertwined with a gratifying new pairing and romance. The story is told from Jason’s POV and the character dynamics remind me very much of Adrien and Jake or Kit and JX. I like that the other character (Kennedy) has an air of mystery about him because of this.
Kennedy was briefly mentioned in Winter Kill. He is a legend in the FBI and seems determined to work alone at the start of the investigation. Jason has been partnered with him, but has his own worries about his past connection with the town and a previous murder.
For me, the romance is the most important part and my favourite aspect of this story. As with Adrien/Jake and Kit/JX, they are in conflict at the start with palpable tension between them. But gradually as they become more familiar with each other, Kennedy softens in his attitude and approach, and we see, along with Jason, glimpses of his true personality. Their sex scenes are deliciously hot, sprinkled with humour and reveal subtle aspects of their characters. Jason may have come across as the weaker underdog at first, but he shines through by the end of the story. He is not the pushover he appears.
The story is a balanced mix of slow-build romance, conflict, suspense and excitement. Josh’s skilful writing style makes this story such a pleasurable reading experience. The words flow beautifully, almost poetically, painting a wonderfully realistic picture of the world and the characters that move within it. The story is well paced, moving the mystery investigation forward alongside the more slower romantic plot with plenty of tension all round. As with all Lanyon’s mysteries, there are plenty of red herrings, or in this case, blue mermaids. The conclusion of the mystery is satisfactory and the ending is pleasing. The mystery is wrapped up and it’s HFN for our two FBI agents. And the good news is we are to be treated to another murder mystery (The Monet Murders) involving these two hotties at the beginning of 2017.