Title: Southernmost Murder
Author: C.S. Poe
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: January 9, 2017
Genre(s): Murder Mystery / Suspense
Page Count: 200 pages
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Aubrey Grant lives in the tropical paradise of Old Town, Key West, has a cute cottage, a sweet moped, and a great job managing the historical property of a former sea captain. With his soon-to-be-boyfriend, hotshot FBI agent Jun Tanaka, visiting for a little R&R, not even Aubrey’s narcolepsy can put a damper on their vacation plans.
But a skeleton in a closet of the Smith Family Historical Home throws a wrench into the works. Despite Aubrey and Jun’s attempts to enjoy some time together, the skeleton’s identity drags them into a mystery with origins over a century in the past. They uncover a tale of long-lost treasure, the pirate king it belonged to, and a modern-day murderer who will stop at nothing to find the hidden riches. If a killer on the loose isn’t enough to keep Aubrey out of the mess, it seems even the restless spirit of Captain Smith is warning him away.
The unlikely partnership of a special agent and historian may be exactly what it takes to crack this mystery wide-open and finally put an old Key West tragedy to rest. But while Aubrey tracks down the X that marks the spot, one wrong move could be his last.
First of all, Southernmost Murder contains one of my favorite sentences in recent memory:
“And since I was the property manager to one of the most important historical attractions on the island, basically everyone knew of the dick-loving narcoleptic who drove a pink Vespa.”
I love how all the elements of this story come together so effortlessly: Aubrey is anxiously awaiting the arrival in Key West of Jun Tanaka, his former boyfriend Matt’s FBI partner. They are on the cusp of starting a relationship and plan to spend the next two weeks having hot sex and sightseeing, emphasis on hot sex. But a skeleton found in a false closet plus a murder at the Smith House derails their plans and results in an investigation that goes all the way back to the 1800s and Captain Smith, who may or may not be the celebrated pirate One-Eyed Jack.
The murder mystery is really well-done and kept my interest every page of the way, and I was really surprised at the reveal. In addition, the historical mystery about Captain Smith is heartbreaking and beautifully revealed throughout the book.
Also, I sorta like how Aubrey and Jun’s relationship isn’t the entire focus of the story. They are still figuring things out (and deliciously discovering that Jun definitely enjoys Aubrey taking the lead) and I loved how understanding and matter-of-a-fact Jun is about Aubrey’s narcolepsy. My only complaint is I would have liked Jun’s POV rather than just Aubrey’s.