Title: Out-Foxed (Skyler Foxe Mysteries #3)
Author: Haley Walsh
Cover Artist: Winterheart Designs
Publisher: MLR Press
Out-Foxed (The Skyler Foxe Mystery Series) Genre: Mystery, Contemporary, Romantic Comedy
Length: Novel (91,000 words)
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
A guest review by Buda
Summary Review: This third installment of the on-going Skyler Foxe Mysteries series wraps up the biggest mystery of the trilogy so far: who is doing nefarious things at the school and just what are those things. As always, it’s a fun and entertaining adventure with Skyler. If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, go back and do that, then pick up this one.
***This review contains what might be considered spoilers for the first two books in the series.***
Skyler breaks it off with Keith, a teacher is murdered and a student might be involved through some twisted football initiation; Just another week at James Polk High.
Distraught at being outed, Skyler breaks it off with Keith, but they’ve got other problems. Protesters have gathered at the school and the school board has called a special disciplinary hearing. And as if that weren’t bad enough, Alex is getting into fights and skipping class. Might he be responsible for the murder of a teacher? Did Coach Carson send the boy to do the dirty work out of some twisted football initiation? Skyler knows it all has to stop, and he and his friends are on the trail to find a murderer and discover once and for all what is happening at James Polk High.
When last we left young Skyler Foxe, he was distraught over the news that his mysterious boyfriend, Keith, has been deceiving him. At first, Skyler was concerned Keith was involved in the bad deeds at the school, then he was sure the man who could create so much magic in his bed couldn’t possibly be a bad guy. Then he found multiple forms of identification with multiple different names in Keith’s possessions. Freaking out Skyler travelled to his high school principal’s home to tell him the bad news. Bombshell of bombshells, Keith isn’t a bad guy; he’s with the FBI. This is where Out-Foxed begins, with Skyler still in Mr. Sherman’s living room.
Not only does Skyler have to wrap his mind around the fact that sexy Keith is a Fibbie (or G-man, as he teases Keith), but because they danced together at the Winter Formal, they’ve now been outed, something Skyler didn’t intend to do. Keith’s confession that his supervisors suggested he out himself to stir up the coaches cabal doesn’t help Skyler’s frame of mind. It immediately turns what was an incredible romantic gesture into something cold and calculating. And it outs Skyler against his will. That’s a tough pill to swallow.
It’s such a jagged little pill (thank you, Alanis) that Skyler breaks it off with Keith. As if all this isn’t enough, the math teacher who was pushed down the stairs is murdered in the hospital. News vans and homophobic protesters descend upon the school, not because of the teacher’s untimely death, but because of the two outed teachers. Did I mention Skyler’s clueless mother hears the news that her beloved only child is gay? How much fun will that conversation be? And Alex Ryan, one of the two students who came out to him in the previous books, is acting very strangely.
Oh yes, it is a tangled web Ms. Walsh has weaved in the third Foxe book. Of course, the over-arcing mystery is solved at the end after much danger and hijinks. As always, the SFC is entertaining and supportive. Keith is frustratingly tight-lipped about the investigation and Skyler is adorable in his inept determination to solve the mysteries seem to keep piling up around him.
I don’t want to give too much away because it is a mystery, after all. If I had niggles, they were few but rather outstanding. One involves the first sex scene after Skyler and Keith get back together (it happens early on, so I’m not giving anything away there). It read like the writer was ticking items off a list. Mention this here, this hand goes here, that one there, say this word here. It distracted me, especially the repeated use of the word “bottom” (as in Skyler’s ass) after Keith had just had his fingers inside said area. The other was the make up dance. While it was a sweet and romantic-ish moment, it didn’t seem realistic. But then that’s kind of the fun of the Skyler Foxe Mysteries.
Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. I did knock the rating down a quarter point because of that incredibly awkward sex scene, but, as always, your mileage may vary there. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series as it comes out. There is a short “What Happened Later” book following this one, Foxe Den, that I will review soon. Out-Foxed is highly recommended for those who have followed the series thus far and for those who love romantic comedies with a dash of mystery.