Murder Above Fourth (Nick Fallon Investigation #3)

Title: Murder Above Fourth (Nick Fallon Investigation #3)
Author: J.P. Bowie
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M, with a tiny bit of M/M/M thrown in
Length: Novel (238 pages); also ebook
Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

A guest review by Leslie

THE BLURB

Nick Fallon always knew there would be a day of reckoning between himself and Harold Forsythe, a millionaire who headed a secret group paying big bucks to watch young men and women have sex—sometimes dangerous sex, that had resulted in the deaths of two young men.

When one of the owners of ‘Above Fourth,’ a popular San Diego nightclub, is needlessly murdered, Nick vows to take Forsythe down, but in his determination to see the man behind bars, Nick throws caution to the wind. In a reckless and ultimately dangerous move, he not only puts his own life in jeopardy, but also the future of his relationship with his lover.

Nick Fallon Investigation Series

THE REVIEW

I didn’t care for this book. That said, I know this author has published many books and I suspect has many fans who will probably enjoy this novel much more than I did. So take my comments with a grain of salt.

My biggest problem with this book is that the blurb, above, is accurate—but—and this is a big but—the action described in the blurb doesn’t begin until about the two-thirds point of the story. This means that I spent a great deal of time reading “stuff” which ultimately didn’t have a whole lot to do with the plot. I’ve never read a book that was structured like this before and frankly, I didn’t like it, which is the reason for my low rating. As I said, others may disagree or not find this problematic and would have a very different assessment of the story.

The author includes characters who have appeared in previous stories: Peter Brandon, an artist, and his partner, Jeff Stevens, were in A Portrait of Philip. Nick Fallon is also featured in two other murder mysteries: A Deadly Deception and A Deadly Game. I haven’t read any of these and Murder Above Fourth was completely readable as a standalone, although there were occasional references to prior events. I suppose if I was totally enthralled with the characters I might go seek these books out, but I wasn’t, so I won’t.

The main characters are Peter and Jeff; Nick and Eric; and Gene, Chad, and Bill. Eric is the manager of Peter’s art gallery; Jeff and Nick work together as private investigators. Confused yet? I was. Gene, Chad, and Bill are partners in the nightclub, Above Fourth; they are also partners in life and love, which is where the smidgen of m/m/m comes in. Most of the sex scenes are between Nick and Eric, although slutty Bill has a few random encounters here and there. Then there’s the bad guy, Harold Forsythe, who has presidential aspirations, lots of money, and an unhealthy appetite for dangerous sex and (I think) snuff movies. He seems to be protected by the completely inept (or maybe corrupt) Chief Robertson of the police department. Why Robertson is covering for Forsythe isn’t really clear. Maybe he’s blackmailing him and this is a tidbit from an earlier story. In the long run, it doesn’t really matter.

The story opens with Chad buying a couple of Peter’s paintings from Eric; it ambles along from there with the characters doing things like going to work, going out to eat, having drinks, having sex, driving around, talking on the phone and on and on and on. Eventually, the above-referenced murder occurs and the plot moves into high-gear with a mostly preposterous and completely implausible hostage situation. Things happen, there is a bit of tension and drama and then, the end, and almost everyone’s happy, except of course for Forsythe and the dead guy (and he’s not talking! LOL).

There were a couple of female characters and I kept hoping that one of them would have sex so I would have an excuse to not finish the book and review it here at Wave’s site. Alas, I wasn’t so lucky and I pressed on until the end.

As I said, this was a very unsatisfying read for me. Others may totally disagree. If you are a fan of this author, you will probably enjoy this book, since it reintroduces familiar characters and moves their lives along. If J.P. Bowie is new to you, I’d suggest reading an excerpt, such as the one that can be found here; this gives a good flavor of his writing style and you can decide if you want to give this book a go, in spite of my less-than-enthusiastic review.

5 comments

  • I have not read this particular series, but just wanted to offer my two cents regarding blurbs. Blurbs are VERY tough to write. I used to try like hell to cram the whole story into the blurb, until my editor finally got it through my head that a blurb is NOT a summary of the plot, nor is it intended to be. It’s supposed to be a teaser – something that gives you a flavor of the book, a finger beckoning you to dare and check it out. As blurbs go, that one sure got my attention!

    Reply
  • I agree with you Leslie, there’s not a lot to be enthusiastic about in the Nick Fallon Series, but that’s only me, others may feel different. I gave it acouple of tries but finally had to give up 🙁
    I’m a little confused now, because the last J.P.Bowie book I read, Deadly Deception, tells about the same story. Deaths at a nightclub during dangerous sex, a police chief covering up for Mr. Forsythe, huh? However, it’s been a while, and maybe I’m mixing things up.
    I recall Nick Fallon and his friends, and I think I liked them then, but not enough to care for them. Quite a bit of drama going on there. But, for followers of the series it might be interesting.

    Reply
  • Great review and I understand where you’re coming from. I read various books by this author and sometimes they’re a really good read and sometimes you just scratch your head and go “huh?”

    Reply
  • I really enjoyed some J.P. Bowie’s books, including the Portrait series, which had a smidgen of paranormal in it. Since Nick and Eric appeared in some of those books as well, I thought I would like Nick Fallon stories too, but I was a bit disappointed with A Deadly Game (the first in this series). I had trouble connecting with the characters and some of the really important things have happened in the past or off page, so I decided not to pick up the other books.
    ~
    That said, J.P. Bowie’s characters from the other books often pop up here and there and, even if some of them are quite interesting, I think that can be confusing for those who haven’t read them. I recommend to the readers to start with the Portrait series, which is very good, and then decide whether to read Nick Fallon Mysteries or not. They didn’t work for me, but that’s only me. Someone else might enjoy them immensely.

    Reply
  • I’ve read a JP Bowie book before – Time After Time – and enjoyed it, although it wasn’t a Nick Fallon book. That book pretty much got straight into the plot so I don’t think it’s an indication of the author’s style that this book didn’t. It sounds like maybe all the stuff at the beginning was just catching up on characters from previous books and perhaps for the fans of the series rather than for new readers.

    Reply

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