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Summary

Finding a missing boy will be hard. Dinner with Shaw’s parents might be murder.

When a rising star in the state senate asks Shaw Aldrich and North McKinney to transport her son, Flip, to and from his drug testing appointments, they’re not happy - they don’t do babysitting jobs. Arriving at the boy’s dorm room, though, they discover that the door has been forced and that Flip has disappeared, and rumors of strange men on campus suggest that something seriously bad has happened. The students and staff at the ritzy private school have plenty to tell about Flip, but the deeper North and Shaw dig, the less they understand what might have happened to the boy.

Then one of Flip’s friends is found dead, and it’s clear that she was killed for coming too close to the truth. As North and Shaw search for answers, they meet resistance from every angle: from the school’s staff, from Flip’s friends, from the police, even from Flip’s family. Someone wants the boy to disappear - and is willing to kill to make sure it happens.

The home front has its share of trouble too. North’s ‘uncle’ Ronnie is back at his old games, drawing North and Shaw into a job that seems simple on the surface - find a missing man who might be in trouble - but they suspect that the request hides something sinister. Ronnie’s involvement, and the job itself, puts the detectives on a collision course with Shaw’s parents and a strain on their fledgling relationship.

As the days pass, North and Shaw realize time is running out for Flip and, maybe, for them as well. They have been misled from the very beginning - and they might be too late.

©2021 Gregory Ashe (P)2021 Gregory Ashe

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Not the best narrator for a good series

I enjoy Gregory Ashe's writing, but for this series, the narration is a HUGE letdown. Honestly, for this book in particular the narrator's voice sounds shot. I know narrators work really hard and if they have a bad day or a sore throat a day's worth of work is gone. But hearing him croak his way through the first few hours wasn't a good listening experience. Sometimes it's best to miss a deadline and take a few days off to deliver a quality product.

The story was full of angst, red herrings, and confusion with a bunch of unreliable witnesses who each had their own agendas. Neither North or Shaw got a break in this story. While I understand their goofy back and forth banter is supposed to be funny - and may well be funny on the page, Charlie David's dry delivery removes all humour, which is sad.
The ending is angsty and I wonder where these guys can go from here.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyable Story

A well written story with and interesting  concept.  The characters are likeable and the narration is very good.

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  • PB
  • 17-07-21

Intense & fantastic

Story line is Intense which is very Gregory Ashe. I am deep into world of North and Shaw.

This book did justice to the series and the narrator did a fantastic job. loved it. Looking forward to the next two in the series.

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A tough listen

I have received this audiobook as an advanced listener.
As always Gregory Ashe's writing is sublime, and Charlie David is the right narrator for this series.
I have already read the e-book which I found engrossing and I thought that was a hard read in term of the emotions it aroused but with the addition of Charlie David’s narration I had to take time off to regroup. Gregory Ashe made me cry with Hazard and Somerset and here he achieved it again with Shaw and North.
As to the storyline we have an intriguing case for Shaw and North to solve but in its' unravelling there are some similarities to Shaw's upbringing and we come to understand why he is like he is and what that means for his relationship with North.
Unfortunately, Uncle Ronnie is still on the scene, but he is not the only character you want to boo at in a tale filled with unpleasant people.
The ending was intriguing but thankfully book 3 was ready for me to read. Hope the audiobook is not far behind.

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Hang on for a wild ride!

Misdirection: the act of directing wrongly; the state of being lead in the wrong direction; in theatrical magic – a form of deception in which the performer draws the audience’s attention to one thing to distract if from another

Shaw’s note – for example, if you are at the State Fair for the first time in your life and your friend has a substance abuse disorder and he falls down a man hole while following the smell of friend cheese

North’s note – the real story: I tripped. I am not a cartoon character. Misdirection is more like the time Shaw disappeared for two days to research lady boys

Shaw’s correction – that was my private time. I was doing research. For a term paper.

North’s correction – yeah…well…you shot your research all the way up your wall and I had to clean it up because I sure as f-ck was not going to lose my security deposit

Shaw’s reaction – Oof. I hate you.

North’s reaction – I’m the one who had to borrow a ladder.

MY note: it’s going to be a bumpy ride

I love North and Shaw. Friends in college and now boyfriends, they run a detective agency together. And they are boyfriends…right? They certainly act like an old married couple – bickering, nit-picking, never being in the mood at the same time… Turns out, however, that each has a different perception of what the relationship is and is not. When all gets revealed, it’s not pretty.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. There are mysteries to be solved. Three, to be precise. There is the guy North’s Uncle Ronnie wants them to help. The guy is looking for his younger lover. Second, there’s security at Shaw’s father’s company. The company is the main client of the detective agency, so keeping Dad happy is important. Finally, there’s this weird job where they’re expected to babysit a high school senior. Except the senior goes missing and all hell breaks loose.

Just another day in the PI biz.

As things unravel, the cases collide and Shaw and North find they are being targeted. So it’s a race to find out the truth before it’s too late.

Throw in a dinner party at Shaw’s parents’ place and the whole thing goes c-ck up.

As the book ended, I held my breath. I mean, I know there is at least one more book, and I know this isn’t forever, but it kind of broke my heart. Thank God the next book’ll be out soon.

As for the narrator, I only have praise for Charlie David. He delivered an amazing performance and I just loved how he hit all the right notes with both Shaw and North. Charlie brings the characters to life and I feel like I know them. Can’t wait for the next instalment.

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  • Riva
  • 01-07-21

Rip my heart out, why don't ya!

Wow, I really did not see that coming. Mr. Ashe apparently has a heretofore undiscovered sadistic side. Although he also pulled this in the Hazard and Somerset series, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Still hurt like a mofo because I love these guys.

So in this installment of the series I really enjoyed the mystery, although it did go into some dark places. Lots of red herrings and “misdirection” (he, he, see what I did there) and at the reveal there was some unexpected violence, which was exciting. I thought that was the big ending. But no, Mr. Ashe wasn’t through with my heart. He then rained fire and fury on my guys and left me with my mouth hanging open and a broken heart. Well Mr. Ashe, you broke it, you bought it. I expect you to fix this ASAP. Also, I have never been more angry with Shaw. I can say no more less I give spoilers.

I cannot say enough about the masterful narration of Charlie David; especially for this one. The level of emotion he gave to the guy’s dialogue was fantastic. I was crying at one point because I felt the hurt so much. My only criticism, and it is not really because it is so funny, is why he can’t he figure out how to say Wahredua? It’s hysterical the very inventive ways he pronounces it.

I was given a free copy of this audiobook in return for an honest review.

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  • Lisa
  • 02-07-21

*Hands Ashe my heart* So stop ripping it out.

Audio reread June 24, 2021

I've been putting off this review for 2 weeks, and honestly, I've been sitting here with this screen open for the last 2 hours, still not knowing how to say all the twisted up, barbed-wire emotions this made me go through.

Usually in reading any story, I always have a feel for where it's going or who did it or what the characters are going to do. Not this time, and that was also true for most of the book. I was pretty much gobsmacked by the ending though I guess I shouldn't have been *the old 20/20 hindsight*. Maybe more that I didn't want to see the ending.

Through all of North & Shaw's stories, it's always impressed me how patient and understanding North is with Shaw. Yeah, they're always squabbling and Shaw makes North yell at him a lot, but a good deal of that is Shaw yanking his chain on purpose. That's just part of their best friend dynamic, and mostly I love it, it makes me laugh. This time, North's patience gets pushed too far and all the things he's buried down deep so he can function and be who he thinks he's supposed to be finally come out.

For the first time, I was so angry with Shaw that it bordered on the edge of dislike. It's never been a secret that both guys have big issues that neither one of them will deal with. And Shaw has always just kind of done whatever he wants, and North always gives in, to make Shaw happy. However, this time he just kind of rides roughshod all over what North wants, about almost everything. I do love Shaw and he's quirky, funny and soft-hearted but that doesn't excuse the way he disregards North, however unintentionally it may be in doing. Then some of Shaw's issues that he has been hiding come out in the most painful way possible for North McKinney and breaks the dam on his own, all those buried things that he swallows down all the time. And it freaking hurt. 😭😭 It seems that I spent a lot of this book either ragey or crying. *sigh*

As if all that isn't enough, Ronnie is back pulling his benevolent uncle routine, which of course nobody buys. Coincidentally, it appears that someone is trying to infiltrate Aldridge Acqusitions, which North has been sure all along has something to do with Ronnie's end game. (view spoiler) Making a bad situation even worse, Tucker is constantly calling North, winding him up over the phone, fighting him over the divorce. Me, right along with North, every single time:

*insert gif of my head exploding*

There are truly no words for how badly I hate Tucker and Ronnie.

Then that ending. The first time I read it, I was truly angry *like Ashe should consult me. Well....🤔*. But on the re-listen, it really did have to happen, because something had to shake things up to make the both of them deal with all the trauma they carry. And to make Shaw back up and think about what a relationship actually means. 😒 The question really is, will they? Cross your fingers for Redirection.

Charlie David really is at his best with North and Shaw, he voices them so perfectly that I forget it's a performance or that I'm actually listening to a book and not just hearing North and Shaw.

Disclaimer: A copy of the audiobook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

****

First read June 13, 2021

I'm serious, what is the problem with letting me be happy for 5 freakin' minutes, Ashe?? 🤦🏼‍♀️ I cannot with this right now. I need to think on this some more but back with a review after vacay, during which I am going to read the fluffiest, most sugary books I can find. *stink-eyes GA*

And I might actually, maybe like Pari just a little bit now. That's so messed up.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-07-21

Hear me out....

Man, that was frustrating! For the first time, I was really angry with Shaw. So angry I had to stop reading to calm down. However, that was good writing, and there seems to be actual consequences this time rather than just moving past it because "they work well together and someone had a revelation right in the middle of a fight..." which is my only real gripe with Gregory Ashe's books most of the time. I'm so excited, and a little apprehensive, to see where it goes from here.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ioana
  • 30-06-21

The Case with the Boarding School

I received a free copy of the (audio)book in exchange for an honest review. Here it is.
First a word of praise for Charlie David performance — the voice artist reading the book. His reading reflects the accents and personalities of each character. He is a master in Shaw. All the character's lightness of being, petulance, sensibility and tenderness (towards North), occasional sadness are reflected through intonation.
As all novels of this kind, the story has two intertwined parts. The first — and most important — is the part concerning the relation between the two protagonists. Shaw and North continue working for Shaw's father and struggling to understand what plans has uncle Ronnie in their regard. The second is the mystery: a state senator hires the detectives to provide transportation from school to home for her 17 old son. When N&S arrive at the fancy school they find with surprise that their ward is missing. The investigation gives them opportunity to explore Shaw's past (he was an alumnus at said fancy school), and to North another opportunity to feel inadequate. The first part of the story (N&S relation) has a cataclysmic climax, as, while invited at the 30-year wedding anniversary of Shaw's parents, North figures that [...] [Please read the book for details],
The investigation leads the two detectives deep within the boarding school the missing boy attended. Everybody seems to have a secret. From a certain point the question becomes which of the people involved will start talking first. Then a girl is found dead, and Borealis is set on fire (with Shaw on the premises). From the dead girl’s stash - she was an assiduous collector of secrets — the two detectives find out that the missing boy had had an onlyfans account where he posted sex videos in which he and another young man were protagonists. Eventually Shaw figures out who the partner in the videos is. From this moment, a series of confessions lead the two detectives towards the denouement.
As always, the North - Shaw interactions make the book a funny read. Their conversations — the more inopportune or out of place — have a disconcerting effect on others, effect they use to bring the discussion where they need it to go. Altogether, like all North and Shaw books, this read is fun and heartwarming (everybody is fighting a hard battle, except Ronnie — he is just a jerk). Plus, this book allows the reader a fresh view on Shaw's humanity and fears, the ones before the trauma, and a new understanding of the dynamics of the relationship between the two detectives. So many reasons to read/listen to this story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alicia Z. Ramos
  • 30-06-21

Another excellent book by Gregory Ashe

I love Greg Ashe's writing, and I particularly enjoy listening to his books, because it keeps me from reading too fast and missing things. While I prefer the narrators for Ashe's other series, this one is generally competent. This is a less physically brutal book than many of Ashe's, but the angst picks up the slack—and that's only going to continue in the next book. Since none of us would be reading these series if we weren't all about the (fictional) pain, that's a good thing.

My thanks to the author for a complimentary copy of this audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dana Piazzi
  • 28-06-21

My favorite North and Shaw book yet

My first thoughts regarding this book are "Oh my God, this was so good and I can't believe what happened at the end!!!" Yes, I need all that extra punctuation. I finished this 11 hour audio in one day staying up until 11pm to finish it. I was so engrossed in the story, the mystery, and the gut wrenching ways North and Shaw find to hurt each other, intentionally and unintentionally. I have so many feels after listening to this book and I will do my best to turn them into a coherent review.

A few things from the last book carried over into this book. For one, the man North has always called Uncle Ronnie is holding a threat over North's head. He asks North and Shaw to help one of his acquaintances find his missing boyfriend, who he abused in the past, but he swears he just wants to make sure the guy is okay. North wants to reply with a big hell no, since his soon to be ex-husband was abusive and is still harassing him. Shaw takes the case anyway in fear of Ronnie's threats. Soon they learn that taking this case might be more of a distraction than anything, while Ronnie attempts to sabotage Shaw's family's business. I can't tell you how much I detest Ronnie but North has enough before the end of this and I can only hope that this threat is stopped, but Ronnie is crooked and slimy enough that he might get out of the trap North set for him.

Another thing that carried over is North and Shaw's constant snipes at each other. Sometimes they are said in jest, or just to get the other's attention, but at other times, it is obvious they are looking to hurt the other. I know Shaw is a lot to handle, his constantly changing diets and his devotion to his guru, Master Hermes. He comes off as so flaky but there is something innocent about him. North sees it too, and really he handles the mood changes and crazy antics pretty well. But when he doesn't, he can be harsh and his avoidance of Shaw and conversation with Shaw in this book, particularly, had me so angry with him. How many times could Shaw try to seek forgiveness or understanding before giving up? At least, it is how I felt. I wanted to say just go, and North will realize his mistake in not communicating and if he doesn't, Shaw would still be better off.

I have always been more sympathetic to Shaw because I identify with his optimistic nature, but in this book, he also had me wanting to scream. I don't know if I have ever really thought deeply about North and his past. For the most part, I see how he gets annoyed and though I understand it, I do, I have thought of him as hard. In this book, I saw a much more vulnerable side to him. Without giving away details, Shaw hurts North, and I don't think he meant to, but Shaw is frequently consumed by his own wants and needs and doesn't give North the consideration he needs. And it's not just Shaw, North has been used and taken for granted throughout his life and getting that treatment from Shaw was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. Oh my goodness! I really could feel the hurts they both felt at different times in this book. I think that says something about the way the author writes.

Moving on from the relationship aspects, and from Ronnie the creep. North and Shaw are hired by a local political figure to chauffer her son to and from counseling appointments. It's not something they do, and neither want to take the job, but when their business license is threatened they are unable to refuse. Only when they get to the private boarding school to pick up the teen, he is missing and his door kicked in. There are moments of wild goose chase with the school administrator blocking some of their attempts to investigate, and when friend of the boy ends up dead, the politician fires them and wants the police to take over. Out of all North and Shaw's mysteries this was one of the most intriguing ones I thought they worked on. I didn't expect the missing boy case to end the way it did and I was shocked.

Speaking of shocked, the ending of the book had me speechless. I am wavering on saying why but I also worry about giving too much away. I think I assumed that when the North and Shaw got together at the end of the first trilogy of books featuring them, I thought all would be well. Yes, they would have some problems, all couples do, but I wasn't prepared for how broken they would be after their actions toward each other in this book. However, I don't think it's a hopeless situation. I guess that's the optimist in me striking again. Besides my love for this series, the situation between North and Shaw at the end of this book only gives me more reason to want to read the next book in the series. I can't end this review without mentioning the narration. Charlie David has become North and Shaw to me in my head. He brings the story to life and emotes very well. I really can't wait for the next audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Carol
  • 28-07-22

Solid story, but narration distracts from the book

Oh no. I don’t even know what to say aside from that after that ending??? I’m still reeling from the events of this book and how something that finally went so right has gone horribly, horribly wrong. I loved all the twists and turns in this story but my god, North and Shaw are definitely giving Hazard and Somers a run for the money in the relationship angst department and now we’re left with a cliffhanger? Thankfully, the audio for book 3 is already out.

Content notes include mentions/video of what appears to be a suicide, homomisia, an adult having sex with an underage student/statutory rape, blackmail, murder, violence, mentions of bulimia, losing a home to a fire, suspected kidnapping, mentions use of drugs, possible alcoholism, unresolved PTSD, and mentions of emotional and physical abuse.

I think the title is a great one and actually very fitting for what happens in this story. There’s multiple mysteries at the same time and it was hard to know which one North and Shaw should really be focused on and which one was maybe…not so important? Or maybe just something to direct their attentions elsewhere. For once, I got a good handle on who all the suspects were and it was easy enough to follow along with the cases that didn’t leave me too confused.

The first case comes straight to the Borealis offices from a state senator who wants North and Shaw to track down her missing teenage son. Who happens to attend a super expensive school for rich kids that Shaw is an alumnus of.

Then there’s Uncle Ronnie (not really North’s uncle) who has North and Shaw looking into a missing boyfriend for a guy Ronnie just happens to know and wants a favor from in the future. Why? It’s very suspicious.

And the third case is from Aldrich Acquisitions, Shaw’s father’s company who kind of has Borealis Investigations on retainer? Or whatever the right term is for their work contract. Well, the company needs someone to investigate and figure out who’s trying to break into their not-so-secret lab trying to steal proprietary information.

There’s a lot going on.

In the middle of all this, North and Tucker are going through a divorce.

And Ronnie is up to no good. Again. But is this book the last we’ve seen of him? I don’t trust him at all and it wouldn’t surprise me if he weasels his way back into the story somehow to make North and Shaw’s life hell again.

I liked that this book explores the differences in North and Shaw’s upbringing and it’s highlighted in this book more than we’ve seen in the previous books. Shaw grew up rich. I mean, he IS rich and is an only child. This is an entirely different world and lifestyle than how North grew up. I hate to say it, but the privilege and wealth Shaw is used to is entirely similar to Tucker. Shaw is NOTHING like the abusive guy Tucker was, sure. But the wealth and privilege that comes with that is something that I don’t think North would ever be used to.

North wasn’t necessarily poor, but he’s solidly working class and the social divide between him and Shaw is strongly emphasized and something that comes to a head here. North knows and loved Shaw’s eccentricities, but the case with the missing rich white kid and having to deal with Shaw’s family (and maybe a lot does have to do with Shaw himself) all in a very short amount of time is just a lot for North. His own relationship with his father isn’t at all like what Shaw has to deal with in regards to his own parents, so they definitely need to work stuff out.

I love how Gregory Ashe manages to give us books that seem to present a HEA at the end of a story arc, but manages to give us even more books that doesn’t lessen up on the relationship angst. Like, the attraction and the tension between the main characters is still a THING, but from a different angle now? He did amazing with the Union of Swords arc with Hazard and Somerset and I trust that North and Shaw will be okay after book 4 of this story arc. I guess we're just in the middle of it with this book. I just want North and Shaw to be okay.

This is a very solid book, with lots of mystery and story to keep me entertained!

There are some fun Hazard and Somers Easter eggs in this book (they don’t show up though, just mentions) and I adore the fact that Shaw and Hazard oddly seem to get along? I think Shaw insisting that him and North are best friends with Hazard (unbeknownst to Hazard, I’m sure) is so cute.

So, there's a lot going on here with the audiobook. Charlie David just isn't my favorite, but it's manageable as a re-read? The thing is I don't know why narrators keep making up their own pronunciation for things (and it's not even like a regional dialect problem in this case). These are self-published books with self-published audiobooks so why is Charlie David pronouncing Wahredua all wrong. Couldn't he ask the author how to pronounce it correctly? This is the town that Hazard and Somers live, and at the very least, maybe listen to how Tristan James pronounces the town.

Then, with this audiobook, I found out the narrator has never once watched The Vampire Diaries. How do I know this? Well, he pronounces Salvatore as in the Salvatore brothers the way you would say the brand Salvatore Ferragamo (four syllables), instead of how everyone who has watched the TV show would say it (three syllables).

And besides the obvious things I've pointed out in previous reviews, the pronunciation for the word "treacle" was super weird. Instead of a two syllable word, he uses three? And the book text says Disney World in chapter 20, but the narrator decides to read out Disneyland instead? What is even going on?? They're not even the same park. Oh, and he does the whisper thing where he actually whispers in the audiobook that really creeps me out, instead of doing what other narrators do and just performing whispers more softly to indicate whispering. I am not a fan of Charlie David's performance with this book at all.

The book is a solid one, but maybe would have been more enjoyable without this particular narration.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • RV
  • 24-02-22

Funny and wrenching, superbly narrated

Misdirection, the second installment of Gregory Ashe’s Borealis Without a Compass trilogy, is entertaining, funny, and, true to form, extreme. The intricate story is flawlessly narrated by Charlie David, who might be my favorite audio book talent.

Misdirection has more coherence than Indirection, its predecessor, in that it feels more unified, with the main story, about missing and murdered teenagers at an elite high school, woven tightly around the trilogy’s ongoing story arc

Indirection, while also funny, felt more ad hoc, as if its various parts were forced together. Misdirection’s multiple elements, for the most part, flow easily together.

At the start of the book, North and Shaw’s relationship is at its strongest, their Borealis detective agency is going well. But the mafia-linked Uncle Ronnie turns up to spin another of his endless webs of manipulation and menace, even as North and Shaw are forced into chaperoning a conservative state senator’s teenage son, Flip. When North and Shaw show up at Shaw’s elite high school alma mater, Flip has disappeared and the duo suddenly have to deal with a number of sketchy administrators, teachers, and students.

Misdirection continues Ashe’s misanthropic vision. If Ashe were a visual artist, he’d be the painter of the abject. If his characters came to life, they’d look much like the uncanny portraits of John Currin. But where Currin’s figures are dissonant, so very close to kitschy-normality they would feel as cozy as Norman Rockwell if not for their off kilter eyes or disturbing asymmetry, Ashe’s characters are burlesques, caricatures meant to makes us, the readers, feel superior.

Where an artist like Currin seeks to shift his audience’s way of seeing, even make them uncomfortable in their complacency, Ashe’s characters placate us. By creating such obviously wretched and frequently appalling characters, Ashe plays to our conceits and egos. His characters make us feel good about ourselves simply because we can be certain we are no where near as pathetic as they are.

If I had to take the author to task on anything, it would be the imbalance in his representation of African and African-American characters. Two main Black characters are depicted as involved either with drugs or under-age sex. Sure, the White characters are often pretty despicable, but the North and Shaw books feel like a White Boy faire to begin with. Ashe might be consistent in his misanthropic writing, with everyone getting smeared with the same abased brush, but given that our country’s foundation rests solidly on demonizing and degrading people of color, perhaps more care is called for, even in narratives of the abject.

Note: An audio ARC was generously provided by the author for an unbiased review.

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  • Eugenia
  • 23-02-22

Fabulous!!!! 👏👏👏👏😱😱😱❤️❤️❤️

The. Ending.
Wow!
I can’t even.

It goes without saying that this is best enjoyed as part of the series.

I love North.
I love Shaw.
I love how quirky and real the two are.
I love seeing the cracks.
In both of them.

Another case.
A missing boy.
A murder.
A fire.
A fight.
The last one between North and Shaw.
Both their insecurities and jagged edges out for each to see.

After loving Hazard & Somerset for so many years, I fought getting cozy with North & Shaw. Now, I can’t leave them alone.

What are you waiting for? Get to know these two—you’ll love them!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C.S. Poe
  • 16-01-22

Mystery and angst to the max

From my initial review: I still, despite the heartache, continue to wholly recommend this series. It's an absolutely unique, fun, gut-wrenching, dangerous, and hilarious PI mystery series, and there are no protagonists quite like North McKinney and Shaw Aldrich.

This audio production by Charlie David was a trip and a half, and I was only able to listen to that ending (yes, THAT ending) exactly one time. His delivery of the content is so good and so heartbreaking, that the fact it's difficult to stomach, even though I've read the book a few times and know it's coming, says a lot as to his talent!