Title: Fall Down the Mountain (The Mountains #3)
Author: P.D. Singer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M contemporary romance
Length: 247 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
The third novel in P.D. Singer’s Mountain series follows poor lovelorn Mark as he comes to terms with never having Jake, suffers a reopening of the investigation into the avalanche which killed a man from the previous book, and becomes perhaps a little too zealous in his attraction to chef, Allen.
Ski patrol Mark McAvoy dug Ulf’s body out of the avalanche, and the dead man haunts his dreams. Mark needs someone to wake him from the nightmares as much as he wants someone to share his days. He gave up the fleeting encounters with vacationing skiers who don’t remember his name later, but he’s aghast at the well-meaning friends who are trying to round up potential boyfriends.
Chef Allan Tengerdie cooks dinner for seventy skiers every day, delivers it to their condos, and eats his own meals alone. A chance invitation to a pot-luck at Mark’s home is his perfect opportunity to captivate a hungry, lonely man. Mark’s ready to be there for him, even after he gets hurt on the slopes, until another man’s shadow falls across them.
That man is dead, and now the grand jury wants Mark to explain his role in the avalanche that killed him.
I’ve greatly enjoyed P.D. Singer’s Mountain series, and followed the story of Jake and Kurt since their first meeting in Fire on the Mountain. The focus of this story isn’t those two men – although they are certainly still an important part of this book – but on the character of Mark who we first meet in Snow on the Mountain. In that previous book, Mark had developed a crush on Jake, one which was unrequited as Jake is firmly in love with Kurt. As this book begins, Mark is not doing particularly well. He still has feelings for Jake, and is also suffering terrible nightmares where he flashes back to the point in the previous book when he was unable to save ski instructor Ulf’s life in an avalanche. As a result, Mark isn’t sleeping or eating properly and is making himself ill. A chance meeting with chef Allen starts to turn things around for Mark, and when Allen is hurt in a skiing accident, Mark jumps to help him. Things just don’t seem to be going right for Mark though when he gets pulled into a spat between the ski resort owner and his wife which re-opens the case into Ulf’s death.
One of the things I liked about this book was the way that the Mark/Kurt/Jake problem is addressed early on. I don’t want to be spoilerish about this, so I won’t say what happens, but I did think that it drew a line under Mark’s feelings for Jake once and for all. Whilst Mark still finds Jake attractive, it enabled Mark to move on and find someone else, someone who could possibly love him the way Kurt loves Jake. Once this scene takes place, Jake and Kurt fade more into the background, becoming secondary characters so it was easy to focus on Mark.
The story takes on two paths, both linked by Mark, our first person narrator. The first path is that of Mark meeting Allen and the development of their relationship. In some ways this was the weaker of the two stories as Mark struggles with his desire to constantly overprotect Allen, and Allen’s subsequent annoyance about that. On one hand this flaw in Mark fitted well with his job as snow patrol officer on the ski slopes, but on the other hand he also came across as a little neurotic and prone to drama queen bouts of ‘poor me’ when he thinks he is being rejected. Fortunately, before this got too irritating, Mark’s friends sort him out – and in fact there were a number of humourous scenes involving Mark’s female friends and their attempts to boss him about, which contrasted nicely with Mark’s internal angst. Another reason why the romance plot didn’t work so well was due to the usual curse of the first person narrator. The story is so focused on Mark and his feelings that it was sometimes difficult to relate to Allen, especially as Mark veers from being insanely happy and horny, to downright depressed and mournful when it come to the way he feels for Allen. Mark quickly develops intense feelings for Allen, but Allen spends most of the book cooking or having sex with Mark so it was difficult to pick up exactly what he feels for Mark. One thing I did like about Allen was that he’s a little bit cuddly round the middle as that fit well with his job and made a nice change from all the usual heroes with tight-abs. Mark also doesn’t fit the mould of the usual muscled heroes that tend to crop up in m/m books because he’s too skinny.
What did work very well in the book was the second path that the plot takes, that of the investigation into the avalanche which took place at the end of the previous book. I thought the author did a good job in leading us up to the events surrounding the reopening of the case, with the third person points of view from James Underwood, the resort owner, and his cheating bitch of a wife, Melanie; the way that the summons were presented; and the affect the case had on Mark and Marty, his colleague. There was also a wonderful court scene full of tension and drama which was a nice change from some of Mark’s internal angst. The way that this plot-line was concluded was remarkably satisfying.
One final part which worked well was in the descriptions of Mark’s job as a snow patrol officer, and also the circle of friends within the workers at the ski resort. It gave me an insight into something I knew very little about and built on the knowledge I had gained from the previous book – even if it did feel a little odd to be reading a snow set book in the heat of June!
Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book. I got a peek at how Jake and Kurt were doing, but more importantly, I got to see Mark have his happy ending – something I’ve wanted to read for months. If you liked the previous Mountain books then this one is a must. For those new to the series, you could read this as a stand-a-lone, as all the references to the previous book are explained in this book, but you would get more out of reading this book if you read Snow on the Mountain first. In fact if you haven’t read the series, then you should because they’re a fantastic set of books.