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The Art of Dying: Partners in Crime #4 by…

The Art of Dying: Partners in Crime #4

by Josh Lanyon (Contributor), Jordan Castillo Price (Contributor)

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I was lucky enough to have this sent to me in paperback by LB at Nose in a Book. As a total bibliophile the book itself is nicely bound, has a pretty classy cover and looks damn fine on my shelf. Pats.

Lovers and Other Strangers was such a pleasure to read. I like the love rediscovered shtick and Finn and Conlan have a poignant story that was very readable. If anything it was a story of the two brothers that I found myself enjoying more than the romance. In his usual sparse style this sad tale of sibling rivalry and love was beautifully told by Lanyon and leaves you thinking. Which is fine unless you’re stuck being a bit snively at all hours of the night.

Body Art is the first story by Jordan Castillo Price that I’ve picked up in a while. I am a big fan of her PsyCop series and did like this new story from her. I enjoyed Anton’s quirkiness, but did find the explanation behind his condition a little loose. Despite this it was an entertaining crime read and I do recommend her PsyCop series if you’re looking for more books from her.

http://sharrow.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/partners-in-crime-4-by-josh-lanyon-and-j... ( )
1 vote sharrow | Jul 7, 2009 |
Due to the title I was expecting for the two stories in this anthology to be linked by the art world setting, but it was interesting to read how many other points of connection there were, two of them quite obvious: both mysteries are set in a small community, an island, the type of gated community where the rich and famous go to live during summer or to retire. And both of mysteries turn around a murder without a body, the died man is disappeared, but no one knows how.

Lovers and Other Strangers by Josh Lanyon: Finn is an artist; he is born in a family of artists and everyone expect from him to be the good twin, since his brother Fitch is the bad boy. While Finn has a strong bond with Seal Island, the place were he was raised, and he wouldn't want anything else if not living there and paint, Fitch has the wandering feet, always in search of something or someone new. And then a summer, Finn fell in love with Con, a neighbor he has known for all his life, but that summer was different. The relationship started as a summer fling, but for Finn was something more. And so when he discovered Con in an passionate embrace with Fitch, Finn had not the force to face it and ran away from them and the island. Now three years later, convalescent from a very bad car accident, Finn comes back home to find the peace that Seal Island always gave him. It doesn't matter if he has to face Fitch and Con, if they are living together, they have already stolen him his happiness, they can't steal him also his home. But when he arrives to Seal Island, he finds out that Fitch is disappeared three years before, the same day Finn left the island... No one knew what happened to him and the last person that probably saw him alive was Con, the same Con that now is telling Finn that he misses him and that also for Con was love, and not only a summer fling.

The plot turns mainly around the two twins, Finn and Fitch, and their story. There is a romance, but it's only a subplot, and it remains always in second line. Con is a nice man, but I have the feeling that he is more a dream, an unattainable man for Finn, and that if he suddenly becomes true, Finn maybe would be not more so interest in him. I have the feeling that Finn is more in love of the idea to be in love than of the man. On the other hand the mystery is really good, and since the community is so small, everyone has a reason to want Fitch dead, and everyone could be the guilty man. No one has a real alibi for that day and so it's nearly impossible to find out the culprit before the end of the story. The strange thing is that the only one who seems to mourn the loss of Fitch is his twin Finn, the one who probably has more reason than one to hate him. But as it is said in the book, and how you can understand from what I said, Finn is a good and nice guy, with not real bad feeling in him. And so, since Fitch wasn't loved so much, the reader is not in an hurry to find out who killed him.

Body Art by Jordan Castillo Price

The second story is maybe a little more strange, but basically with the same turning point. Ray arrives in a gated community on an island, Red Wing Island. He will be the new driver for a old and wealthy couple, the Whites. It's not clear how it happened, I summarized that his former lover probably has some responsibility, but Ray lost his business, a tattoo parlor, and now he is full of debt. A live in work is exactly what he needs, even if the arrangement is not exactly top of the notch. The house where he goes to live is isolated, Ray has no his own car, and in the house there are an old man with Alzheimer and three women... and being Ray gay, well, it means that he will be pretty lonely. Then in the wood near the house he meets Anton, the crazy artist who lives in a nearby cottage. And when I say crazy, I don't mean that he does strange sculpture, I mean that he is really crazy. Anton is a bipolar case, he tried to kill himself in the past, and he has moody up and down. But he is also really beautiful, and gay, and maybe since he is lonely, or maybe since, in the crazy situation he is in, Anton doesn't seem so crazy after all, Ray falls soon and hard for him. In two day they are lovers, and in one day more, a dead man is found in the wood: he is Stanley, the former driver, and apparently Anton's previous friend. Again everyone in the small community have reason to hate Stanley, and everyone could be the guilty.

This time the romance is a little more center stage, on the contrary of the previous story, the murder is not so important, maybe since the murdered is not someone so much involved with the hero. Ray has no real reason to find out who killed Stanley, he is more interested in find out that it wasn't Anton who did it. The nice thing is that, in a way or the other, Anton is really a unsteady man, someone that probably will be never able to live alone on his own. If Ray decides to bring on their relationship, he will be always the rock, with time he will become the caretaker... but he sees Anton with a lover eyes, and he is willing to do so.

  elisa.rolle | Jun 28, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lanyon, JoshContributorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Castillo Price, JordanContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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#4 in the PARTNERS IN CRIME SERIES! Lovers and Other Strangers by Josh Lanyon Recovering from a near fatal accident, artist Finn Barret returns to Seal Island in Maine to rest and recuperate. But Seal Island is haunted with memories, some sweet, some sad; three years ago Finn found his lover in the arms of Fitch, Finn's twin brother. Since that day, Finn has seen neither Conlan nor Fitch. In fact, no one has seen Fitch. What happened to him? Did Fitch run away, as everyone believes? Or did he meet a more sinister fate? To put the past to rest - and see if there's any chance of a future with Con - Finn must discover the truth. But the deeper he digs, the more reason he has to fear Con is the only one who knows what truly happened to Fitch... Body Art by Jordan Castillo Price His lover has betrayed and swindled Ray Carlucci out of everything he valued, including a tattoo business. Hounded by creditors, weary of heart, he accepts the job of chauffeur and body man for the dying owner of a remote estate. The island, minus its wealthy summer colony, is colorless in winter and Ray thinks he understands why staff on the estate periodically desert. But, he's baffled by, then drawn to, Anton, the eccentric artist who haunts the forest, bringing strange life to bizarre and disquieting sculptures amidst the ice and trees. When the body of a man who once held Ray's job rises from the frosty earth, Ray wonders what part Anton's wildness has in the escalating violence.
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