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Orientation

A Borealis Investigations, Book 1
Narrated by: Charlie David
Series: A Borealis Investigations, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Summary

Shaw and North are best friends, private detectives, and in danger of losing their agency. A single bad case, followed by crippling lawsuits, has put them on the brink of closing shop. Until, that is, a client walks into their Benton Park office.

Matty Fennmore is young, blond, and beautiful, and he’s in danger. When he asks for Shaw and North’s help foiling a blackmail scheme, the detectives are quick to accept.

The conspiracy surrounding Matty runs deeper than Shaw and North expect. As they dig into the identity of Matty’s blackmailer, they are caught in a web that touches politicians, the local LGBT community, and the city’s police.

An attack on Matty drives home the rising stakes of the case, and Shaw and North must race to find the blackmailer before he can silence Matty. But a budding romance lays bare long-buried feelings between Shaw and North, and as their relationship splinters, solving the case may come at the cost of their friendship.

©2019 Gregory Ashe (P)2019 Gregory Ashe

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Good story

The concept is interesting and well written. The characters are likeable and the narration is good.

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Great new series and accomplished narration

I'm writing this review again, because when I went to check, my original one had disappeared. Much as I love Tristan James (who narrates the Hazard and Somerset books) I was glad a different narrator had been used for this, as I would have been hearing H and S in my head otherwise! Charlie David did a pretty good job with the narration, and I finished the book feeling satisfied (I had already read it, so knew I liked the story). Would recommend.

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Intriguing

After reading/listening to Gregory Ashe’s previous series Hazard and Somerset this was a definite auto buy for me. I really like the authors style of writing and the crime/mystery genre alongside the mm romance. What I did like about this book is that the characters of Shaw and North are nothing like those of Hazard and Somerset and there is much more humour within the storyline. However, personally, I do feel the choice of narrator did not do the audiobook any justice. Whilst Charlie David is a very good narrator, I don’t think he carries off crime/mysteries off very well. I can see why Gregory Ashe May have wanted to differentiate between the different series by using separate narrators, but Tristan James or another comparable narrator would have been preferable to me.

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Lacking the quality of writing or narration of H&S

I really enjoyed the Hazard and Somerset series by this author. The writing for that series was well-plotted and tight. This book, no1 of a new series, was a mess from the start. The narrative was all over the place and the writing was choppy. It was hard to keep up with the flow of information in backstories and the anything but linear investigation. I didn't fall for these characters from the off, in fact, I found them both really irritating, and as the book continued I became more and more confused about what was going on. There were some really poorly constructed scenes and unnatural dialogue, not something I expected from Gregory Ashe. Sadly, the narration didn't flow either, and I wasn't a big fan of this narrator's voice, and don't believe he was the right choice for this book, but the lack of flow in the story is all down to the words he was given. I am really disappointed. I expected better from Gregory Ashe. It feels like this book was speed-written and lacked the editing to make it into a shorter, tighter story.

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Great start to this series....

First of all, thanks to Greg for the ARC of this audio. As I said to him, Charlie David is not my fave narrator - Hot Head by Damon Suede I absolutely love...although not too many others unfortunately, but I was very willing to give this audio a try as we're talking about North and Shaw here <3. As far as Charlie's narration is concerned, well we all know that he doesn't really do voices for each character, but he did at least have a fairly distinct voice for both of the MC's, and really, who cares about the other characters, hehe. There were a few little niggles, but on the whole, it wasn't bad at all so I would leave my book review at 5 stars and this audio at maybe 4.25 stars. I will definitely listen to the rest of the series on audio. ***Book Review May 2019*** 5 outstanding stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Gregory Ashe...you've done it again. Another fantastic series in the offing, and you're already making the MC's work very hard to a) stay alive and b) actually see each other instead of looking straight through and dismissing everything as 'just friends'. A Gay Fiction whodunit at it's finest, with wonderful banter, this is NOT a friends to lovers romance...yet...she says hopefully 🤞🤞🤞. Yes, Shaw and North will do anything for each other but North won't admit that (view spoiler) [heads up for domestic abuse] and Shaw certainly won't admit that he's been love with North since college...and that the awful attack he suffered at college, which killed his then boyfriend and left him badly scarred, has also understandably left him with intimacy, trust and flashback issues. Blackmail, drag queens, hustlers and violence...this story had it all. I liked Pari too, and yes North said some pretty dreadful stuff to Shaw that he wished he could've taken back the second they left his mouth and which he now sincerely regrets, but I think he's mainly ashamed of how much he feels for Shaw, given the fact that he's married to Tucker. As for Shaw...well, we'll see what happens as the series progresses. He clearly deserves some happiness.

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Ashe has another winner with this new series

I was given this book as an advanced listener and boy was I lucky. After the Hazard and Somerset series, I wasn't sure if Gregory Ashe could create another set of characters I could come to care for. Plus, there is the added bonus of having Charlie David's narration. However, with the introduction of Shaw and North, private detectives I am hooked. Their complex friendship is an important thread running through the story and their inate need to protect one another informs their decision making but this does not stand in the way of good crime story where there are a number of untrustworthy and downright unpleasant people who you have working at guessing their motives and level of guilt. (This includes the cops). Charlie David keeps a natural rhythm and the characters are distinct. He helps the characters unfold and you can't help rooting for the lead protagonIsts to obtain the things they deserve. I already have the next two ebooks in my library as some threads are ongoing. I hope that the audible narrations are not too far behind.

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  • Jill K.
  • 18-10-19

King of the Slow Burn

I swear to God that Gregory Ashe is the King of the Slow Burn! Ugh. I loved it. I loved Shaw and North's relationship. There are a few thing that I'm on the fence about but they are too much of a spoiler to say. Great story. Can't wait to see where it's going next. Charlie David isn't my favorite narrator but I still enjoyed it. No heat level. :( There are some trigger warnings that should be looked up.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Colleen M
  • 20-10-19

The first book in a new series by Gregory Ashe! ❤️

The new series features Shaw & North as private detectives. They are long time friends who know and can read each other like a book. I enjoyed this book because I adore Gregory Ashe’s writing style and he is amazing with a mystery. If you like Hazard & Somerset, you will love North & Shaw. Now I’ll wait for the next book to be done in audio-soon, I hope!!! ❤️

4 people found this helpful

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  • Gaia
  • 20-10-19

A Great Start To Another Great Series!

Gregory Ashe is one of my favorite contemporary authors. His writing is crisp, smart, funny, and impressive in its ability to make you *feel* something. After falling completely, maddingly in love with his Hazard & Somerset series, I was excited embark on a new Ashe adventure. North and Shaw are complex, endearing characters. Their relationship is beautiful, deep, complicated, simple, and--at times--infuriating. They are friends who care deeply about each other, each wishing, in their own way, that they could be more. Shaw naturally seems like the more fragile of the two, but by the end, one wonders if it isn't North who might fall apart in a brisk wind without Shaw as his anchor. The mystery in this novel is wickedly smart. It's hard to express just how smart it is without spoilers, but It's like if a Sherlock novel and Macgyver had a baby and that baby took classical piano lessons from the age of 3, kind of smart. You might think you have a bead on what's going on, on the culprit/s behind it, and you might be right... For a while at least. Charlie David does a nice job narrating the story, giving each character their own, unique voice and setting the tone throughout the entire book. In summary, you really should get this book if it sounds like something that's up your alley. You won't be disappointed, but you will be swept up and carried away into North and Shaw's daring, dangerous, and intriguing world. It's Gregory Ashe's world, and we're all just living in it. *I would be remiss to not take this opportunity to also plug his Hazard & Somerset series as well. Both series are amazing (Sorry Gregory I had to)!*

3 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel BPG
  • 18-10-19

So Good!!!

So good! I was a big fan of his Hazard and Somerset series so I was hoping this would be just as good. Well this was better, yes there’s a slow burn but it didn’t bother me as much as it normally would because the story so good. The chemistry between the MCs was really good! The story made me laugh and cry. I thought the narrator did a good job. I can’t wait for the next book!

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  • Sandra Kirchner
  • 26-01-20

Great mystery and perfect narration.

I loved everything about North and Shaw when I read this book, but Charlie David's narration just makes the whole thing better. Best friends who run a private detective agency specializing in helping LGBTQ people together while secretly pining to be more than friends is definitely something I need in my life. Beyond the absolutely sublime way the narrator performs their banter, the underlying mystery is well thought out. I had inklings throughout but was still shocked when it played out the way it did.

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  • RV
  • 21-09-20

A highly entertaining mystery featuring two fascinating gay PI's

With Orientation, author Gregory Ashe brings us another pair of inwardly tortured gay detectives, but with none of the awkward edges of his Hazard and Somerset series. The personalities and inner conflicts of his Borealis private investigators, North and Shaw, have a coherent emotional dynamic missing in the earlier series. Not that I dislike Hazard and Somerset; I enjoy those books quite a bit. But Hazard’s inner psyche has a stitched together, Frankenstein quality, as if characteristics from radically different people were pieced together In a way that’s left the disjointed seams showing. Both North and Shaw have deep seated emotional scars, some of them raw and open, but I can easily accept them as two unique, coherent personalities, each of whom have experienced different kinds of trauma but who’ve held on to their individual identities. Set in contemporary St. Louis, Orientation finds North and Shaw on the trail of a blackmailer in possession of videos of members of the LGBTQ community in compromising positions. A core dynamic of the book is that the two PI’s are clearly in love with each other, but, because of missed opportunities, misunderstandings, and their own private demons, neither can acknowledge this obvious truth. Worse, North is already married and Shaw is still dealing with a violent assault from his past. You might expect Orientation, given these plot points, to be a dark and angsty novel. In fact, it’s hilarious. The banter between North and Shaw, both in private and when threatened, is inventive, funny, and wonderfully entertaining. It lets the novel breath, creating space to understand the Borealis PI’s in multiple ways, but also provides the reader with a greater range of emotional experiences. With Orientation, Ashe has found a way to give voice to his multiple gifts as a writer, allowing humor and tragedy, the absurd and mundane, and decency and violence to careen off each other. The result is a cascade of sparks that keep this story lively and engaging from start to finish. The narration by Charles David is outstanding; his characterizations are superb, as is the emotional range of his voice. I can’t imagine anyone bringing this book to life as beautifully and seamlessly as David.

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  • Jim
  • 11-08-20

I Don't Often Write Reviews But...

I feel the need to say that this is a great book, the narration is excellent, story is compelling, plot is good. But did LuLu Lemon sponsor this book. Does the author get a kickback for every time the company LuLu Lemon is mentioned. The first couple of times were ok. But after the 10th time just in the first half of the book it is jarring every time LuLu Lemon comes up. I've only written it 3 times here and wasn't that annoying? Someone should talk with the author about editing for future printings. It's just blatantly pandering and really not appropriate for a serious author. Thanks for taking the time to read my rant. Fix it, Gregory Ashe.

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  • Lisa
  • 22-07-20

Straight through the heart

Y'all. 😳 I thought, having cut my teeth on Gregory Ashe's stories with Hazard and Somers, that I was ready. Spoiler: I was not ready. Gaaaah! 😩 North and Shaw run Borealis Investigations. They're polar opposites and best friends, since they met in college. They've been through a lot of traumatic, painful events in all those years but there's also a LOT they've kept hidden from each other. And at a difficult time with their business, all kinds of complications they already didn't need come in the form of a new case. If you read any of Ashe's books, you know one of the hallmarks of his stories are knotty, complicated relationships, and oh man, North and Shaw are about as complicated as it's possible to get. They're funny, the best friend banter is unparalleled and they hilariously bicker like only people who know you inside & out can. They're both super protective of each other and they take care of each other. Shaw is as organic-hipster as he can be, and his efforts to "healthy" North up make me laugh. North is a huge, rough guy that grew up on construction sites and whose relentless, amused teasing of Shaw can bring on a sputter worthy of Gustavo Tiberius. ❤️ They're both very good at their jobs. And they're also both hiding what they really feel for each other, and always have. I'm not going to lie, as this started, I did like North and Shaw and they absolutely did crack me up. But they also frustrated me so, SO badly that a couple of times I might have given up, had I not learned my lesson with GA's other stories. Shaw has had it so rough for many reasons for the last few years, and he wants so badly to see the good in everyone, and have something good for himself. In that effort, he makes some of the worst decisions ever. North believes his life ruined, for reasons that he won't share with anyone. He's trapped in a way he can never be happy, but he wants to make sure Shaw is and he just about tortures himself *AND ME!!* with it. 😭😭 Parts of this were honestly so very hard to read and my Lord, GA can bring the feels like nobody's business. Let me clarify that by no means are those feels necessarily good. And I learned many books ago that I do love his writing but this time? He wrapped me up so tight I literally forgot what was going on around me. I sat down about 6:00 to finish the book with my headphones on, intending to get up shortly to make dinner and feed my dog. When the book ended, it was 9:45, I hadn't eaten, drank anything or fed the dog *who was very unhappy with me, I finally noticed, LOL*. The world outside of this book had literally disappeared. It was worth it. The chemistry between these men, the UST, is so bloody intense it burns. The emotion sometimes takes over from where they keep it tightly hidden and they both do & say some things that are hard to take. Also as usual for Ashe's stories, there was a LOT where I was unhappy with how things played out. Though there was lots of teeth-grinding going on *again, as usual* I did understand why things had to happen the way they did. They were realistic to the story and felt true, if maddening, for the North & Shaw. The story was utterly compelling and I'm once more, annoyingly, hooked on GA's infuriating men. I also have to add that I very much enjoyed Charlie David's narration, and I loved the voices he gave to North & Shaw. 🥰 You better believe that when I finished this *and fed the dog*, I jumped right into Triangulation! Disclaimer: A copy of the audiobook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 26-05-20

Suspenseful with humor

I loved the whole story which caused several sleepless nights. The narrator was excellent. Shaw and North was so real to me

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  • CARLENE MCLAUGHLIN
  • 29-04-20

Great narration of a great story

Charlie David really brings North and Shaw to life. A great way to showcase their relationship as it evolves. There are many instances where the humor really comes through and I'm laughing out loud. The story, of course, is enjoyable as expected. I feel like I'm figuring things out with North and Shaw as the story progresses. A great read.