L.A. Mischief


Title: L.A. Mischief
Author:  P.A. Brown
Publisher:  bcpinepress.com
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length:  Novel (164 pages – print)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

THE BLURB

If you have already read L. A. Heat by author P. A. Brown, you have met David Eric Laine and Christopher Bellamere. If not, get ready to make their acquaintance in L. A. Mischief, a fast-paced novella that details the early months of their relationship. David a LAPD Homicide Detective is stubborn, proud, and barely out of the closet. As the story opens, he is struggling to find the balance between his intense feelings for Chris, the urges of his newly liberated libido, and the demands of a job where bodies pop up on an all too regular basis.

Chris blonde, smart, out and proud faces his own set of challenges, including helping his best friend cope with his ongoing grief after the brutal murder of his lover. Life events conspire to bring David and Chris together while at the same time keeping them apart. Will they be able to push their way through and find a common ground for happiness and their shared love?

THE REVIEW

There are 3 stories in this book – L.A. Mischief and two shorts about David’s and Chris’s erotic adventures.

The plot is about a couple of  murder investigations and, according to the blurb, “details the early months of their (David’s and Chris’s) relationship.” However, the story opens one month after the protagonists have broken off their affair and they are both seeking sexual satisfaction in the arms of random men they pick up in bars. Both characters were cock whores for approximately 40% of the story and demonstrated the stereotypical behaviour that a lot of  people associate with gay men. I couldn’t figure out the purpose of all the action unless it was to show that their need for sex was so powerful and overwhelming that they had to have it with the flavour of the night. At times I wondered whether this was a different type of “romance” since David and  Chris were with everyone but each other, and it didn’t appear that they would ever get together. Chris seemed to be feeling the effects of the breakup more than David — not only was he drinking a lot, he was also indulging in poppers which were a prelude to him having sex (sometimes unsafe sex) with strange men. Here’s a quote from a  ‘morning after’

CHRIS ROLLED AWAKE groaning as his head throbbed and nausea launched an assault on his stomach. His teeth felt slimy and his tongue was thick and fur covered. He could still smell the stink of sex and poppers.  God, not again. But the bed beside him was empty, though he had a vague memory of someone. Dancer. Broadway dancer. Star. Right, Star, the incredibly lithe dancer of the dexterous mouth and talented cock. No, wait, that was the night before. Last night had been who…? Miguel. Another conquest from Man2Man

David was now out and frequenting gay clubs and bars to pick up men and he liked the leather scene. He had a new boy toy Blair, an EMT, and they seemed to be serious since Blair had a key to his place, and he definitely enjoyed his new lifestyle including the threesomes. No longer did David have to go out of town to pick up men, now that he was out there was a veritable smorgasbord of hot men from which he could choose. He was still very conflicted about being openly gay at work. He and Chris had broken up over something that seemed insignificant to me (Chris called him at work, and apparently he had requested that he should not do this.) Even though I understood his anger it did not seem rational that they would break up over something as minor as this, but he was clearly not happy that his brothers in blue now knew about his sexual orientation and he blamed Chris for the ridicule he was subjected to at work.

The two murders in the book that required David’s and his partner Martinez’s attention were relatively short lived investigations and were not important in the sense that the Carpet Killer was in L.A. Heat, although one murder investigation resulted in David being stabbed, which was used as a plot device to bring Chris back into his life. I enjoyed this part of the book when David and Chris were trying to revive their relationship and actually began dating each other. These two very flawed men had a lot of work to do in order to resolve their issues, however, I didn’t feel that the characters had as much depth as in L.A. Heat. Chris was the more vulnerable and he was eager to get back with David, rather than the other way around.

I had some difficulties with L.A. Mischief, not the least of which were the characterizations and what appeared to be some obvious editing errors. At the end of L.A. Heat it was around Christmas time, several months after the end of the Carpet Killer case, and the guys were together celebrating the holidays, very much in love with no ominous storm clouds hanging over them. To my surprise, in L.A. Mischief, a subsequent book, it’s not even Halloween and they have broken up a month after the end of the case. Did the events in L.A. Mischief occur prior to the end of L.A. Heat? When did the problems start between them? These conflicting timelines were very confusing. Also, there were other errors including the length of time Martinez and David had been partners – L.A. Heat mentioned that they had been partners for 6 years but L.A. Mischief  stated that they had been partners for 7 years, so the partnership gained a year in a month.

L.A. Mischief had a lot more of Des, Chris’s good  friend, who  is still depressed and in therapy because he is grieving the rape and murder of his lover at the hands of the Carpet Killer.  It took an emergency for Chris to wake up and realize how much Des really meant to him and needed his support.

To wrap up, even though this book was well written, as you probably figured out from this long and unfocused review, I didn’t enjoy L.A. Mischief as much as L.A. Heat which I thought was a superior story. I love some man on man sex in M/M romances but I felt that the amount of sex was excessive and detracted from what could have been a wonderful exploration of Chris’s and David’s relationship since we left them in L.A. Heat. I’m certainly not advocating that if the protagonists break up temporarily they should be celibate, but I did think that there should be a balance.  The bonus stories explore David’s and Chris’s relationship and were enjoyable quickies.

If you read and enjoyed L.A. Heat then you should read L.A. Mischief, the second book in the series, to understand the story so far before you tackle L.A. Boneyard the newest episode. While I didn’t love some elements of the story there was sufficient content that I enjoyed, especially the murder investigations, and I would therefore recommend L.A. Mischief, especially if you’re a fan of P.A. Brown.

Author

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

10 comments

  • I think that what is doing Chris is a way to deal not only with breaking up with David. Even if he doesn´t show it as Des, the drama he had to go though must have been not easily forgotten. So it sorts of makes sense to me (Although not sure what to say about David). Still, I´m shocked that Chris is not more concerned with the unsafe sex.
    I have to say that the second quickie didn´t work for me. Even if it´s four years later I just can´t think it would go like that considering the way Chris & Des were attacked.
    Having said that and after checking your other reviews of the series, I enjoyed so much LA Heat that I think I will be reading the rest of the books.
    Thank you.

  • Just one small thing – it wasn’t David who broke up the relationship, it was Chris. He broke up with David after the fight about that telephone call, but the real reason was the fact that Chris thought David wanted to remain in the closet to avoid the ridicule. David seemed to be relieved, which hurt Chris.
    ~
    Quote: “He tried not to think of the last time he had seen David. But the memories wouldn’t stop. The train thundered on. The morning he had told his lover of six weeks, the man he had sworn he loved to death, that it wasn’t going to work, and being crushed by the look of relief on David’s craggy face.” And: “It had been David who had made their relationship an impossibility. David who had clung to the closet
    even as he spent nearly every night at Chris’s place or Chris at his.”
    ~
    I’ve read these two books one after another so the timeline was clear to me. However, I can see how some readers could be confused about it, especially if they read the second book several months later.
    ~
    I personally liked the book. I didn’t see it as sequel so much as accompanying novella aimed to clarify the events between the ending of L.A. Heat and its epilogue. But, now I’m even more curious to see what you think about L.A. Boneyard.

    • Hi LadyM
      It wasn’t one of my favourite books but I did rate it 4 stars because I thought the writing was good and I liked the murder investigations.

      *
      I found all the gratuitous sex boring after a while and since it formed a large part of this book I skipped over parts of it. What shocked me was the opening scene of the book where Chris is having unsafe sex with a stranger after I had just finished reading a very satisfactory HEA in L.A. Heat.

      *
      I read the books several weeks apart and kept going back to each one to get the timelines right because it was very confusing. Since there was no epilogue, but rather the last chapter of the book with the guys celebrating Christmas, I guess I could be forgiven for thinking that this sequence of events would then segue into L.A. Mischief which was billed as the next book in the series.
      *
      L.A. Boneyard should be coming up soon.

  • Leslie
    As you said it was clear to you (as the editor), but as a reader I had no idea about when the events in Mischief occurred so we’ll agree to disagree on this point.
    *
    I’m hoping that L.A. Boneyard is a lot clearer in terms of continuity and a better story for me – I’ll find out soon enough. 😀
    *

    I really enjoyed the first book in the series so I’m hoping that lightning will strike twice.

  • Leslie
    There is no indication that L.A. Heat ended in August – at the end of the book there is timeline of “Wednesday 11:30 am, Santa Monica Hospital, Santa Monica” (there is no date) when Chris is in hospital, and from there we go to “Christmas Day, 6:10 am, Cove Avenue, Silver Lake, Los Angeles”. There is no explanation that this last chapter is an epilogue.
    *
    This is the only explanation in L.A. Heat about what happened since Chris was in hospital

    >>It had been a long way back for Des. He had spent nearly four months in therapy, dealing with the trauma of his loss and the aftermath of the vicious rape.
    Chris had been luckier. His physical wounds had been relatively superficial and he had been
    released to David’s tender care after three days of observation.
    Chris felt a fierce joy at Des’s ongoing recovery, both from his injuries and from the loss of Kyle.< < * There is no indication in L.A. Mischief (that I could find) about the sequence of the two stories. Consequently I was very confused to go from Christmas in an earlier book to Halloween in the sequel. The prose in L.A. Mischief says that there is a time lag of a month since the guys broke up but I don't know when that month started. Was it before, during or after the HEA in L.A. Heat? * I'm not the only reviewer who was confused about the sequence - I just saw another review where the reviewer had the same continuity issue. Perhaps the author should have explained in a prologue the sequence of events to eliminate the confusion about the timelines. * The reason for the break up seemed contrived to me since it was trivial for two people who were supposedly in love to break up over a phone call. * I'm sorry, but this book was definitely was not a favourite for the reasons mentioned in the review.

    • There are a couple of different date references in Heat that show that it takes place in the summer: the Carpet Killer murders start in June, Chris is in Salt Lake City for a week in July (which becomes his alibi), and David comments on the scorching heat in August. Then, at the end, it’s Christmas and Dev’s been in therapy for four months (as you quoted) so count backwards to August. However, the fact that the dates seemed clear to me doesn’t mean that they will be for everybody, so that’s something for the author to learn from. Thanks for that insight, Wave. It’s helpful information.

      L

  • Hi Wave,

    Thanks for this review. Just to clarify, L.A. Heat ends in August but there is a little epilogue at Christmas. L.A. Mischief covers the months in between (Sept til the end of Nov) and is supposed to show how they got to the epilogue L.A. Heat.

    In L.A. Heat, they got together amidst all the excitement of the Carpet Killer murders and investigation. When that was over, they were suddenly faced with sustaining a relationship when life was “ordinary,” ie, more day-to-day. Breaking up over the phone call–well, that was just the culmination of several weeks of stress and arguing. That’s my take on it, anyway.

    I’m quite partial to this book, myself. I think it might be my favorite in the series. Your review gives me something to think about, though. Thanks!

    L

  • John
    It wasn’t just the random sex it was the amount, and at times I was reminded of stories I read at Nifty. However, the investigation of the murder mysteries was done well as were were other elements, so overall I thought it deserved 4 stars. I like sex in M/M romances as much as the next person but I like a story as well.

  • Are you sure this story is worth 4 of 5? Sounds like the random sex caused you more problems then that.

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