Title: I Spy Something Christmas
Author: Josh Lanyon
Cover Artist: KB Smith
Publisher: Just Joshin’
Buy Link Amazon:
Genre: Contemporary M/M romance
Length: Novelette (54 PDF pages)
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Tj
Summary Review: A simply wonderful Christmas story from Josh Lanyon with Mark and Stephen from the I Spy series, that not only gives us a glimpse into their holiday, but moves their relationship forward.
The Blurb: Nothing says Christmas like a bullet with your name on it. Mark is used to death and danger. Stephen will never be okay with violence — or Mark’s attitude toward it.
Like the holidays weren’t tough enough on a romance.
The Review: Josh Lanyon is back with a bang from his well deserved sabbatical with a Christmas novelette featuring the boys from the I Spy series – Mark and Stephen. If you haven’t read the 2 books in that series (I Spy Something Bloody – reviewed here and I Spy Something Wicked – reviewed here), then you’ll miss out on some of the nuances of this story, but I think that you certainly can still enjoy it.
For those of you who haven’t read the other books or if you just need a refresher, briefly Mark is an ex British Intelligence agent who now lives with his doctor boyfriend Stephen. The story opens with Mark in the hospital recovering from having been shot. Being true to character, Mark takes being shot as just part of life and insists that Stephen take him home to recover. Interestingly, Mark claims to have no memory of the incident. These events are used as catalysts to bring the issues that have been silently undermining Mark and Stephen’s relationship into the light. It heightens Stephen’s struggle to believe that Mark has truly given up his Intelligence career, and for Mark, it stirs up his insecurities that their relationship is just too much work for Stephen.
Amazingly, the story felt like a fully fleshed out novel, the mystery about who shot Mark was well thought out and interesting as he moves his sights from one suspect to another. And all of the elements that we love about Josh Lanyon’s writing are present – the realistic characters, the wonderful dialog and a little mystery, distilled down to their very basic essence with nary a wasted word.
Speaking of dialog, as always Josh Lanyon achieves that perfect balance of having the characters struggle with what to say while trying to not reveal their doubts and insecurities. Like Stephen’s response to Mark saying that he has no memory of the accident – “I see. That’s the official explanation?” There’s volumes left unspoken there – about Stephen’s belief that Mark is lying, or at the very least withholding some information.
And later when they return home, Mark jokes to Stephen about getting out of the hospital, “Thanks for breaking me out of the nick” to which Stephen shakes his head and makes a huff – “Not quite a laugh, but softer than exasperation.” Now that’s a telling reaction speaking to Stephen’s knowing Mark so well – all done with no spoken words. That’s how real people talk and react. Obviously Mr. Lanyon has not lost his touch during his time off.
In summary, I Spy Something Christmas is a smartly written novelette with great dialog that moves the characters relationship onto a much stronger foundation. I highly recommend it.
NOTE: In addition to Kindle, I Spy Something Christmas in available in Nook format and can be purchased from Smashwords and ARe as well as Amazon.