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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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  • 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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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.

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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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  • 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.

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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.

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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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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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  • kp
  • 23-07-21

What a ride!

What a ride! I'm always happy to get lost again in the world of North and Shaw. Life is never slow or dull with these two.
Misdirection will have you feeling every emotion known to mankind!
Between the mysteries to be solved and the personal baggage to clear up this is a rollercoasters of a ride.
I was glued to my kindle until I finished and was left wanting book 3 NOW!
I can't get enough of these guys!
Charlie David does an amazing job of bringing this story to life!

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  • Michelle
  • 08-07-21

Oh My Heart

So... this was not an easy, breezy book. But then, it never is with this author or these characters. The mystery was engaging but oh! the characters and that ending! It has the hallmark of really great writing, namely I was so immersed in the story that I felt genuine anger over Shaw's actions and felt true sadness for North. These guys, sigh. I adore them even if I get frustrated with them. That's what a great author and narrator can do.

Charlie David continues to shine in this audio, with distinctive narration for the characters and deft treatment of the emotions within a scene. I am so invested that I cannot wait for the next audio!

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  • Wendy
  • 06-07-21

Another wonderful ride with North and Shaw

North and Shaw have been officially together for a while and, now that the initial joy of it has worn off, the warts are beginning to show. North tries to be patient with Shaw’s lack of consideration. Shaw tries to be patient with North’s anger issues. Both thought it would be easy—after all, they’d been best friends for how many years?—and both are surprised and hurt that it’s not.

And they are trying to locate a missing boy from an exclusive private school and return him to the bosom of his family. Problem is, this particular family is so toxic, Flip might be better off staying lost…

Every book by Greg takes us through the full gamut of emotions, much like a ride on a the rollercoaster a Six Flags; you’re terrified, angry, thrilled, elated, and when the safety bars on your seats are finally released, you think, “How soon can I go again?”

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  • Leshi Judy
  • 02-07-21

4.5 my tiny peanut heart survived this.🥵

Welp! That happened.

Audiobook – 4 stars
Story – 4.5 stars

GAAAAHH! What an awful way to rip my heart out Greg!

This was brutal.

Book 2 in the Borealis: Without a Compass series, technically book 5 in the North and Shaw saga and damn what an emotional journey.

This book is emotionally charged, it punches all the punches and broke my tiny peanut heart.

The writing is on another level, I am so happy that Greg is a character driven writer, I always come back to his books because of the characters. They are unforgettable and it is so easy to form a long lasting emotional connection with them. I have discovered that I love character driven stories more. Huh!

Shaw and North feel so real to me. I can clearly picture them in my head, and when Shaw goes on and on about his unhealthy obsession with his best friend Hazard, I smile because I can feel all that. The pictures are so vivid in my head it is hard not to feel the feels win.

Shaw – My bohemian health obsessed, Coca-Cola junkie. GAAAAAHHH!!! SHAW! I wanted to shake saw bad in this book. Pari, I can’t believe I am saying this, but you are my angel. Atleast I can count on someone to put Shaw in his place. Shaw is selfish, I know he loves North but he is so blinded by his selfishness that it is so hard to watch him not even realize it. I love him and his sense of humor, even that couldn’t get him off the hook. GAAHH! Shaw is frustrating.

North – My buff guy, sweet, considerate North. GAAHHH!! North you need therapy and lots of therapy. I love North and North loves Shaw, but these two need to work on themselves. North can be so mean sometimes and that stems from keeping things inside until it all comes out bursting, it ain’t pretty at all. North needs lots of hugs. He deserves better than what he is getting now.

North and Shaw as best friends is the best thing ever. Their banter is so easy going and hilarious. Their BFFS adventures throughout the years! GAAAHHH!! I was laughing out loud.

The mystery, was the most interesting so far. It brought out the best and the worst in Shaw and North and I love to see that. What a bunch of douches though. The other guys, not North and Shaw. They are darlings. I loved the twists, though at some point my theory was conformed and I screamed. I still got it.!!

Shaw’s parents??? Hmmmm!!!

Tucker??? What the fuck is he still doing here? No- no- He is not even allowed to breathe.

That ending! GAAAHH!!! I trust Greg will not make me riot.

Overall, this was sooo good and entertaining. , I laughed, I loved hard and got my tiny peanut heart broken. What more could I ask for?

Maybe some happiness?? Please!.

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