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A Dangerous Thing by Josh Lanyon
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A Dangerous Thing

by Josh Lanyon

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**The following is spoilery for character reveals from book one and discusses character development stuff from book two. I don't reveal anything about the resolutions to either book's mystery.**

The second in the Adrien English mystery series. Not quite as good as the first, but mostly in that way most second books aren't as good as the first--simply because they aren't the start of something. The mystery in this one felt a little less meaty, but that's mostly made up for in that we get lots of relationship stuff between Adrien and Jake. I'm not sure what to do with Jake, though.

I had him pegged as closeted and probably conflicted from almost his first appearance in book one, and part of me was watching to see how Lanyon developed him as the story went along. And it all felt pretty spot-on. In book two it turns out that Jake is not just closeted and conflicted, he's, like, suuuuuper conflicted. Like, hates himself for being attracted to men, plans on marrying a woman and having kids, can hardly bring himself to to have dinner with Adrien conflicted. Which is fine. Big old bundles of contradictions make for interesting stories. But Jake's confliction is confusing in its expression, almost to the point of feeling inconsistent at times. At the start of the story, he can't even kiss Adrien because kissing a man feels too weird, despite having been a regular at S&M clubs for some time. The suggestion being that Jake can handle sex with men if it's with strangers and is impersonal, but in the scene where he can't kiss Adrien, his reluctance is painted as a reaction to markers of Adrien's maleness (five o'clock shadow, the scent of aftershave) not as a reaction to trying to have smexy times with someone he cares about. Later he seems to be over the kissing issue with no further concern. He is sometimes incredibly tender and protective of Adrien (in private) but also makes really withering comments about Adrien's sexuality. That all of these traits could exist in one man at one time is something I can absolutely buy, but I sometimes felt like Lanyon wasn't quite selling it. That being said, some of this is the result of the point of view (first person Adrien), and given that Jake is an uncommunicative lug (in the grand tradition, natch), that Jake's actions and attitudes would seem a bit unexplained is to be expected (because they are, because we only know what Adrien knows, and Jake isn't telling him what's going on in his head). Further more, important characterizing scenes between Adrien and Jake always feel like there's all kinds of stuff going on under the surface (which is precisely how I think important characterizing scenes should feel). So, I'm back to "I'm not sure what to do with Jake." In all honesty, this is probably fifteen percent "more could have been done to make Jake's characterization consistent" and eighty-five percent "I couldn't turn off my editor brain while reading for fun." In any case, recommended for the writing, characters, wit, and decent mystery. ( )
  lycomayflower | Aug 7, 2015 |
Great mysteries with an overarching relationship between bookseller Adrian and closeted cop Jake. Excellent romantic suspense series and a popular entre into this very popular writer's work. (Karen)
  GayCityLGBTLibrary | Jun 6, 2015 |
I am almost afraid to read the next book in the series. That's how much I liked this one. In two hundred or so pages it managed to pack so many things and to stay awesome.

To escape a writer's block and whatever he and Jake have (or don't have as the case may be), Adrien goes to his ranch in northern California. Near the house he finds a corpse, but when the sheriff and his deputy arrive, the corpse is gone.
The whole story revolves around Adrien's property and what he finds there. The history of the town plays an important role. ( )
  Irena. | Aug 26, 2014 |
Thriller/mystery side of this Adrien English book worked better for me than the first of the series. The concept of being alone out on a ranch with dead bodies and drug trafficking really creeped me out. Adrien's relationship with Jake was interesting and well drawn, and I was delighted to find that the cheesy line, "You're so tight" is as entertaining in a gay romance as it is in the straight variety.

9/16/12 - Still love these characters, excited to read further into the serires. ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
I enjoyed the second Adrien English book rather more than the first, probably because I already feel a connection to the main characters, Jake Riordan and Adrien himself. The tension between them is strong, and the chemistry too. The two sex scenes are pretty well-written, and some of the descriptions of emotions are quite good.

The mystery itself is a little... routine. Some of the background stuff is pretty interesting -- all the references to old mystery novels, for example. It's kinda like the manga Fake: I don't try and kid myself I'm reading that for the police work, I read to find out if/when Dee and Ryo are going to get it on, although the coherent plot is a big bonus. At least Adrien and Jake don't have to wait for the seventh volume to get it on.

The characterisation of Jake is a bit difficult, and reasonably well-handled. The reader's got to feel a bit of resentment for his treatment of Adrien, but we understand what kinda guy he is and we know why guys like him are defensive and touring Narnia.

Stronger than the first novel, so if you're unsure after that, I think this second book is a better test of whether you want to carry on or not. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0979311055, Paperback)

Adrien English Mystery Series #2 Suffering from writer's block and frustrated with his tentative relationship with hot but closeted L.A.P.D. Homicide Detective Jake Riordan, gay bookseller and mystery writer Adrien English travels to northern California where he finds a body in his front drive. By the time the sheriffs arrive, the body has disappeared, and Adrien once again finds himself playing amateur sleuth. But when the game turns deadly, Adrien turns to Jake. Jake may be confused about some things, but keeping his lover alive is not one of them--no matter what the cost.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:01 -0400)

In this second LA-based adventure, bookseller Adrien English arrives at the Pine Shadow Ranch (left to him by a beloved grandmother) to find a corpse in his driveway. But by the time the unfriendly local sheriffs arrive, the body has disappeared. Who are the mysterious strangers excavating on his land? And will he sort out his problems with LAPD Detective Jake Riordan, heavily into S/M sex but not so hot on relationships? Find out in this engrossing, slyly witty thriller.… (more)

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