*I received an ecopy of this book from the author. This has in no way influenced my review.*
This was a fun, entertaining urban fantasy mixed in with some mystery, some character growth, some romance, some friendship, and a whole lotta supernatural creatures.
The blurb is a little misleading though. Dale has spent the past year drinking himself into a stupor and avoiding people, unable to move on from James’s death. And then, kind of all at once, Dale gets dragged into some murder cases by his neighbor and James appears to have crawled right out of his grave—but the two are only mildly connected, and the James thing ends up being a background/side thing. Dale never suspects, nor has any reason to suspect, that James is the one committing the murders (which was what I was expecting from the blurb). The rest is accurate though; Dale sobers up and gets involved in the murder cases, his house ends up full of supernaturals, and interesting situations ensue.
As I mentioned above, this was a fun read. Most of the emotion was pertaining to things in the past (James’s death and how much it affected Dale), so for that reason the book was mostly light and a little quirky, but there were some violent/darkish things that happened since the characters were supernatural huntsmen. And though it wasn’t as emotional as I was expecting, I could still tell how much James and Dale loved each other.
Speaking of James though, I’m not sure how I feel about him. He was fine as a character, no complaints there, but, as a person, he seemed kind of distant sometimes, and Dale wasn’t kidding when he said James could be cold. In one flashback, *SPOILER ALERT* he left a child alone in a house with an unconscious mother and a dead father! I know he killed the father out of self-defense, but the father was only trying to protect his family and kill demons, and James clearly felt no remorse. *END SPOILER ALERT*
Another thing I liked was the author’s superb use of detail. He really painted a picture of that Louisiana town and all the people in it (and I don’t mean physical descriptions, more like a feeling), and other times the detail gave great insight into characters themselves, especially Dale.
Also worth noting, there was some pretty good character growth on Dale’s part, and it was sweet how much Dale’s friends (well, mostly Lloyd) cared about him.
The only thing I actually disliked was the POV. It was mostly third person from Dale’s perspective, which was good, but there were scenes from other perspectives, and sometimes there was a bit of head-hopping or maybe omniscience (I’m still not sure how to tell the difference). That’s a particular reading pet peeve of mine, but thankfully it wasn’t that frequent.
So overall, it wasn’t emotional the way I was expecting it to be, but it was a fun and entertaining read!
Anyone who likes M/M urban fantasy, humor, a bit of mystery, and imperfect but mostly likeable characters.
Dale Bruyer and James Sandover were huntsmen: monster hunting heirs to a secret legacy, self-appointed defenders of mankind, students of magic, warriors and—in James’s case—occasional chess opponent of the Devil himself. Until James died and left Dale all alone on a self-destructive path through alcoholism to an early grave.
Then one stormy night, the giant tree that had marked James’s grave uproots and Dale finds footprints walking away from the hole beneath it. A killer begins ritualistically murdering young women in the small town of Solagrove, Louisiana where he lives, and though the man in the long black coat sounds a lot like James, it can’t be James. James is dead; there is absolutely no question about it.
Dale is reluctantly dragged into the investigation by his neighbor, the mother of the first victim. He’s not so sure the killings are really his sort of thing, but there’s something very familiar about it all anyway and someone has to stop it. Though why does it have to be him?
In the midst of all this chaos, he suddenly finds himself with a house full: a werewolf in the kitchen, a god crashing on his sofa and a punk rock fallen angel riding shotgun.
Book Author: J.L. Aarne
Publisher: Self Published
Series: Dale Bruyer
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
My Book Rating: 3.5
Series/Standalone: Part of a Series
Setting Location: Louisiana, USA