Title: Errors and Omissions
Author: Lee James
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Novel/290 PDF pages
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Review Summary: A suspenseful mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat and I didn’t solve it until almost the end. There’s also a pretty good romance to lighten the mood.
Rock star Brent Hunter has a plan to get back to the top of the charts—until his jet vanishes en route to London. Four months later, a phone call convinces Austin Hunter that his brother is alive and in hiding. That, or it’s all an elaborate and deadly confidence game.
Austin turns to private detective Kirk MacGregor to find the truth about his brother. As Kirk follows a trail of dead-end leads in the most perplexing investigation of his career, a strong attraction simmers between him and Austin, despite the fact they’re both married.
Together they unearth a tragic family history of violence, pure greed, and a thirty-year-old fratricide as they take on the coldest killer since Hannibal Lecter. But deadly foes have nothing on the painful truths and even more painful losses Kirk and Austin must face… and none of that compares to confronting what they feel for each other.
I stayed up all night reading this book because I could not put it down. I was drawn into this complicated murder mystery where the suspects kept changing as the body count piled up. There are several POVs including the killer’s which was chilling, and you need a strong stomach for some scenes in Errors and Omissions. However if you like mysteries that are definitely not run of the mill, characters that are complex, warm, funny, vicious, self serving, as well as lots of lies, greed, celebrity, and settling of old scores, I definitely recommend this book.
When I opened E & O I wasn’t going to read it because I was already behind on everything I have to finish in the next week, but once started I was hooked. This is an exceptionally complex mystery, with lots of tension, excitement, false leads, and murders most foul that would make those readers who are squeamish want to run for cover. I thought that Lee James did a great job in peeling back the layers to reveal the truth. Unfortunately that truth came at a huge personal cost, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
While the plot was well crafted and executed I think that the characterizations were the best elements of the book as everyone was three dimensional who had a fair amount of face time, which is difficult to do in such a long book with a multitude of complex characters, most of whom had secrets that spanned decades.
Austin Hunter hired Kirk MacGregor to find out whether his brother Brent had died when his private plane crashed over the Arctic en route to London. The case seemed cut and dried and Kirk expected that his investigation would find nothing more than what the police had already uncovered i.e. that everyone went down with the plane and no foul play was suspected. The plane had never been recovered with the all important black box so there were no clues regarding what had really happened in flight. However as Kirk started looking into the tragedy, questions emerged which changed his theory and opened a whole can of worms. Was Brent murdered? If so why, and who would want him dead? Even more important, was he still alive and in hiding? If the plane was sabotaged, who was involved?
I thought that the way Lee James put the pieces of the puzzle together in the middle of a romance was masterfully handled and Kirk built the case painstakingly, only to find time and again that he was going in the wrong direction, but he never lost his focus even when the killer struck close to home and the threats continued. We know the killer from the very beginning since he was introduced in the first chapter and what a piece of work he was, but the focus of the story was on who had hired him and why, and how many more people would have to die before he was caught.
The characters were outstanding starting with Kirk who had everything going for him including a degree from Stanford Law School and 5 years working for the FBI. He didn’t like his job and left the Bureau to work for his father’s prestigious law firm where he handled personal protection, corporate security, and investigations for well heeled clients. Kirk was in the closet until his separation and divorce although he did have discreet encounters with other closeted married men because they were safe. What impressed me was that both Austin’s and Kirk’s ex wives were likeable, three dimensional characters who got along with their exes.
Austin was a contradiction – on the one hand he never finished high school but rose to the top of the music industry and walked away when he didn’t want to do it any more because the money didn’t matter. He loved restoring vintage cars which were the love of his life outside of his twin boys and Jace, his husband, and he was so vulnerable that I couldn’t help but love him.
There were elements to this intense and complex investigation which at times reminded me of the old television series Dragnet, but only because the story centered on timelines; I don’t mean to suggest that Kirk and his team were at all like Jack Webb and Henry Morgan. There was a detailed chronology of the events leading up to the plane crash and flashbacks of Brent’s activities in the days preceding the crash, and I have to admire the way it all came together at the end, although I thought that the killer should have been tortured almost as much as those he killed. The dialogue was mostly great except for one character which I mention later in the review, and the pace was just right. Every time when Kirk and Austin seemed to be on the verge of a breakthrough they were frustrated because the killer was one step ahead and would be on the move again with yet another victim.
There are too many characters in the book for me to mention them all except in passing, but Tim “Tricky Boy” Lo, Kirk’s technology expert, was a gas. A lot of the characters were unscrupulous and would do anything for money or revenge and they got their comeuppance. There were betrayals and grief and it seemed as if there was no light at the end of the tunnel as some parts of the book were very sad, but to relieve the lows there was a lot of fun especially with Austin, Kirk, and Lieutenant Stan Whitney, Kirk’s BF.
I was going to rate this book as 5 stars but one thing grated on me throughout and that was Austin’s character which I loved but I thought that the way he was portrayed as the good ‘ole country boy by belching a lot, dropping his consonants and playing the hick cowboy to the hilt was incredibly tacky. I’m not sure if real Texans speak and act like Austin but the few I’ve met didn’t, so I’m going to rate the book as 4.75 stars.
May I say how hot the MCs were!! 🙂 I also have to mention Gunther, Kirk’s dog who stole my heart.
I highly recommend Errors and Omissions if you want a wild ride that will keep you up all night and if you like to read stories about serial killers. However this book will be controversial and many readers will probably have differing opinions from mine about it.