Title: Murder Takes the High Road
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: April 23, 2018
Page Count: 60,000 words
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
From award-winning male/male author Josh Lanyon: a librarian finds himself in a plot right out of one of his favorite mystery novels
Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can’t pass up a chance to meet his favorite author.
Carter’s roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa’s books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler’s death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there’s anyone on the tour he can trust.
Drawn into the intrigue, Carter searches for answers, trying to fend off his growing attraction toward John. As unexplained tragedies continue, the whole tour must face the fact that there may be a murderer in their midst—but who?
Josh Lanyon’s latest mystery pays homage to all those classic whodunits in this tale of a group of people drawn together by their love of a mystery writer, Dame Vanessa Rayburn. The cast of characters are on a bus tour through Scotland, visiting various settings from Dame Rayburn’s novels, ending with a visit to Rayburn’s castle on a remote island.
There is a creepy, very cold Scottish inn, a mysterious last-minute addition to the group who doesn’t seem familiar with Dame Rayburn’s work, constant tension between Carter and his ex-boyfriend Trevor who is on the tour with his new obnoxious boyfriend and bound and determined to make trouble for Carter. And then the murders start …
The plot reminded me of an Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, while Dame Vanessa Rayburn, with a murder in her past, seemed like a nod to noted mystery author Anne Perry. The mystery held my interest, but I felt there were so many characters on the tour that it was hard at times to remember who was who. Also Vanessa Rayburn seemed like such a fascinating, but ultimately very illusive character. Finally, the relationship between Carter and John felt very undeveloped.
Murder Take the High Road gets high marks for its mystery, but the character development lowered the curve a bit for me personally, and I give it 3.5 stars.