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Summary

Emery Hazard is trying to plan his wedding, even though his fiancé, John-Henry Somerset, isn’t exactly making things easy for him. To be fair, Somers has been distracted lately; his father is running for mayor in a hotly contested election, and their hometown is splintering under the weight of divisive politics. 

In a matter of hours, those poisonous politics invade Hazard’s life in a way he couldn’t have imagined. Glenn Somerset, Somers’s father, shows up on their doorstep, and he wants two things: first, for Hazard to neutralize a blackmail threat; and second, for Somers temporarily to move out of the house he shares with Hazard, part of public relations stunt to win the election. To Hazard’s shock, Somers agrees. 

Determined to lose himself in his work, Hazard takes on a missing person’s case, but his investigation only leads him deeper into the tangled web of small-town politics. To find the truth, he must face off with the viciously rich who rule Wahredua — and with the poor, desperate, and marginalized, who fight just as viciously in their own way. 

When Hazard’s investigation uncovers a murder, he is forced to work with Somers to bring the killer to justice, despite their fractured relationship. But the sudden news that Hazard’s father is failing fast threatens to put an untimely end to the case — and, in doing so, jeopardize Somers’s last-ditch effort to repair his relationship with his own father. 

The killer, though, has an accelerating timeline, and in a world of wayward children, every relationship is fraught with hidden dangers.

©2020 Gregory Ashe (P)2020 Gregory Ashe

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Brilliant

I have read and listened to all the hazard and Somerset stories and the pull me in every time. Great mysteries with strong characters who a full.of angst and love that is most difficult. I do recommend the books and audio books. The narrator does a fab job of making the characters feel real. Really good stff.

1 person found this helpful

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To solve a murder

I am relatively new to the whole Hazard and Somerset pairing, and I’m pretty sure John-Henry’s father has been in previous books. Well, frankly, I don’t like the guy. He’s running for mayor and is convinced he’ll only win if his gay son moves out of the home he shares with his gay lover. I understood why John-Henry moved out, but it took him down a notch or two in my estimation. In Emery Hazard’s as well. There’s more going on than he knows about, but he also knows he doesn’t function well without his other half. Then rumours start that John-Henry is getting back together with his ex-wife and all hell breaks loose. I also have to say there’s a lot of dysfunction in the relationship and it breaks my heart how often the men hurt each other – whether intentionally or not.

Oh yeah, and the men are still working. Somerset’s father has asked Emery to look into a case of blackmail – an interesting backdrop to the real mystery. Emery is approached by a woman who wants him to track down her sister. The wayward sister. The irresponsible sister. This responsible woman and her parents have cared for the errant sister’s daughter for years – through the woman’ flights of fancy – but now that the woman appears gone for good, the ne’er do well father of the child has taken custody. And isn’t he just a piece of work. Between him and his parents, I really did wonder for the little girl’s safety.

But as missing person turns to a murder investigation, Hazard needs Somerset the cop. And as Somerset is a step behind, he needs Hazard the PI. So the men are forced to work together and, to top it off, there are political machinations at the office as well. Add to that the fact Hazard’s father is dying, and the men have a lot going on.

I enjoyed this book. I was surprised at the end to see who the real killer was. That always ranks high in my estimation. Tristan James did a brilliant job narrating the story – as he has with the entire series. There’s one more book to go when all will be revealed – I can’t wait.

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Interesting Story

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

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Brilliant

By far the best narrator I've listened to. The whole Hazard and Somerset series is addictive. I dread the day when it ends...

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I really like this series

I've followed all the Hazard and Somerset books since the start of the first series. I really like them as a couple and they deal with real-world same-sex couple issues. This book, in particular, dealt with the impact on Somerset's life of his coming out. But they also solve crimes, build a network of associates, deal with their families and live in a town which is on a journey from conservative blue-collar to more liberal university community. Many of the social and personal issues that happen in the Hazard and Somerset universe are playing out in real-time in the real world at the moment so these are all really relevant issues.
At times Hazard's mental health is a real concern and he feels like a pressure cooker about to explode, at other times the violence is extreme to the point of gratuitous, but other readers will not feel the same.
I'm looking forward to the end of this series and (hopefully) hearing that the Keeper of Bees has been brought to justice.

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Can we ever be the child that our parents want?

I received this audiobook as an advanced listener. I have already read the book and you can see my review at the end of this piece. If I could, I would this audiobook at least 6* and I gave the book 5* So why listen to the audiobook? Tristan James is the natural interpreter of Gregory Ashe’s writing. Listening to the book gives and added depth to the story as James capture these the intense couple who are Hazard and Somerset as well as the voices of the people they investigate and the town of Wahredua Although, I knew what was to come actually listening to James voice both Hazard and Somerset’s complex relationships with their father really slayed me. Even if you have read the book, listen, a good book never dies. E book review ‘I already told you how much I love this series. The key components to the story are already in the synopsis and I don't want to give away key aspects of the plot. However, suffice to say that Gregory Ashe's writing is sublime. The only reason I took so long to read this book is because it was a slow burn for which you needed to be able to concentrate as Ashe built the foundations of a sad crime story and in many ways a familiar story. The difference here is the story is told well. Once we got that foundation I was away and I finished 70% of the book in a day. Within all if this we have Hazard and Somers relationship that continues to be compelling, both complex and beautiful. We learn more about their internal worlds and why they are so right for each other. As always I want the audible book too because I know Tristan James will do a good job of catching the myriad of emotions that rise from the telling. Also, the title of the next book, can you imagine what's coming! Thankfully not to long too wait.’’

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  • Michelle Janes
  • 16-09-20

I HATE Glen Somerset!!!!

How dare he drive a wedge between Emery and John. Worse yet, how dare they let him. Stubborn. That's what they are. They love one another so much but they let pettiness come between them. Which of course, is all the opening that people need in order to try to drive them even farther apart. From Emery's father's cancer to John's father's mayoral election, and Nico and Dulac sniffing around "being supportive", their relationship goes up in flames fast.

With neither Emery or John willing to resolve their issues, work becomes their best outlet. Hazard had been hired to work on a blackmail case for Glen Somerset and John Henry had all but been told to collaborate with his fiancé on it. Thank God they can still work together, because at this point that's about all they've got left.Their professional relationship has always brought them back together and this time it is no different. When working side-by-side they can finally set aside their differences and just be themselves. Almost. By the end of the book, they both finally remember who and what is important to them and stop acting like petulant children.

Throughout the whole book I was just waiting for the Bee Keeper to make some kind of a grand appearance, but all I got was this teensy weensy small little clue. Which is just so unfair because I want to know more now! The next book needs to come out in audio sooner rather than later, or the anticipation might just kill me. Now, I'm the one acting like the petulant child.

I got the book five days ago and I've already listened to it twice. You know, just in case I missed something really important the first time. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 29-04-21

I want to scream!!

I was literally crying actual tears of frustration by the end of this one. I want to give it 5 stars and also 1 star. It's so well written and the characters are so complex and wonderful. But after seeing how frustrated reviewers always seem to be with Somers, my heart breaks for him and I start to hate everything Hazard does more and more. John has done 100% of the emotional leg work and given 100% of the support throughout both series. Hazard carries all the trauma and Somers has this unreal amount of patience and confidence. He somehow never allows Nico to rattle him for too long, just like he was able to move past his own torture and help Hazard through his PTSD last summer. This is not a criticism of Hazard at all... I'm just explaining what I see in Somers.

Sometimes Somers reminds me of an enthusiastic dog, constantly following Hazard, living off of the rare and reluctant pats on the head, and bouncing back from constant whacks on the snout with astonishing speed and no decline in enthusiasm. He and Hazard both do these amazing things to help each other behind the scenes using things like blackmail and it shows the reader that they both care. But Somers is the one making every big gesture, providing all the emotional growth AND support, and doing all the apologizing (Hazard does this sometimes, but only in a self hating way that martyrs himself). The reader definitely sees how much Hazard loves Somers, and somehow we also just accept that John is so secure that he knows it all on his own, even after catching exes with Hazard and getting verbally demolished all day by the guy he loves. How is he so incredible?! Hazard is an amazing character and he's gone through a lot. But when someone finds it hard to communicate emotion, it does not give them a free pass to not grow or concede, and then make them heroes for sometimes saying "I love you John." Even if it's with all the conviction in the world...

Dulac was the only person fighting for John's feelings in all these books (as weird as it may have been), and John shut that down with such a ruthless efficiency that it actually hurt because I just want someone for John... anyone. Hazards exes are never shut down this way... unless they do it to themselves, that is. I just need Hazard to show John that he is growing and that he loves him, and not in some way John won't ever know about!

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  • Sandra Kirchner
  • 09-09-20

An emotional kick to the stomach

I never thought I would come so close to wanting to murder John Henry Somerset. For the partner who is described as being the one who can read people, he was pretty much illiterate through most of this book. The strain between them was viscerally painful at times to the point where I would have to stop and take a breath before continuing. That being said, John redeemed himself in the end (even though Hazard would probably like to kill him for it.)

The central mystery was also well thought out and well-executed. The author is always great at providing a cast of unique possible suspects and this was no different. I was convinced the culprit was every one of them at some point!

As always, Tristan James brings Hazard and Somerset to life in a way that no other narrator could. His performance was top notch and he deserves an award for voicing Dulac.

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  • Sadie G
  • 11-08-20

Such a great series.

I loooooovvvvvvvvvveee this series. From book to book I don't know if I'm pissed at Emery or John-Henry more. I think its about 75% John-Henry/25% Emery. I don't think there was enough "Ree" for my liking. (Tristan James saying Ree is too cute). They are both such hot messes. I loved the ending. It gave me all the feels. I cannot wait to read/listen to the next book. Can it come out now? Please?

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  • J. Roberts
  • 17-12-21

Another great Hazard and Somerset story.

The ending of this moving story is a beautiful affirmation of the unique relationship between Hazard and Somerset and their struggle to overcome two lifetimes of social and family abuse to have what they both desire most in this world.

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  • Carol (bookish_notes)
  • 09-08-21

Relationship angst still going strong

This is my third time reading this book? I love angst and this definitely delivers. There’s a LOT of relationship angst in this book, and it’s really masterful how deep the hurt goes even after all this time Hazard and Somers have been together.

It comes from an unexpected source - Glennworth Somerset, Somers’s father. He’s calling in debts owed and this puts a wrench into Hazard and Somers’s relationship. You might think that everything should be FINE after the big proposal in the last book, but then you wouldn’t know the author very well. Everything is very much not fine.

Content notes include homomisia, racism, violence, parent with cancer, parent in hospice, death of a parent, unaddressed PTSD, blackmail, misogyny, unethical medical practice (psychiatrist sleeping with a patient), and a mention of animal abuse.

I think this is the first time I’ve read a book in this series that starts off with a Reprise section? It’s to remind you of the deals Hazard and Somers each individually made with Glennworth Somerset in desperate times. It’s like how before every tv episode in a series, there’s a small recap of things you should remember that happened in previous episodes that will be relevant in the coming episode. This is like that.

Glenn is running for mayor against Somers’s ex-sister-in-law, Naomi. While his dad is not a good person and old money, he’s somehow the lesser of two evils when it comes to Naomi. And his request is that Somers has to move out and pretend up through the election that he and Hazard have broken up. It’s a real mess.

I won’t say I’m a huge fan of the mystery aspect of this book, and honestly I’m still a bit fuzzy on the details even after rereading this book, but it’s compelling enough. It features a character from a previous book (Savanna Twilight). Her sister reports her as missing and that’s where everything gets twisty as the story unravels.

I did like the scene at the beginning where we see Hazard being extremely uncomfortable hanging out with Somers at their neighbors, Rebeca and Noah, along with a number of people in their friend circle. This includes Somer’s detective partner Dulac, Dulac’s boyfriend Darnell, Hazard’s ex-boyfriend Nico, Hazard’s first paying client Mitchell, pastor at their local church Wesley, and Wesley’s girlfriend Susan. It’s a very odd group of friends all things considered, but it was a nice scene to see all of them interacting in regular day fashion and no worries yet.

The book IS also just sad in a lot of places. There’s the relationship drama between Hazard and Somers of course. I don’t necessarily agree that any of this was on Hazard, but maybe it’s because I emphasize with him more.

Then there’s the father and son relationship that plays out in this book. Both with Hazard and his father, as well as Somers with his. They both have rocky relationships with their fathers and both still have a need to be seen, and to be loved, and acknowledged in some way. There’s some hardcore daddy issues all the way down.

And, look, I will say I usually don’t care for sick parents in books at all, but we’ve seen in the events of what’s to come for awhile so I wouldn’t call what happens in this unexpected? We’ve known that Hazard’s father has cancer for awhile now and it’s still hard to read this book and see it all getting worse. Tougher yet is reading the scenes between Hazard and his father, while knowing what’s to come. It’s heart-wrenching.

How Hazard manages to solve the problem that is Glennworth Somerset, though, does lighten the mood. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in future books and if Glenn manages to keep his word.

I think the ending was a little too Three Billboards (aka the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) for me and I absolutely despise that movie, so I can’t say I love what happened here even though it was meant as a sweet and tender moment.

The audiobook, though, is great, as expected. Tristan James does his job bringing the characters to life and there is one particularly scene between Hazard and Somers that left me laughing SO hard. When I read the text for this book, I was looking forward to listening to it on audio and Tristan James DELIVERED. There’s also the bonus of Evie learning new words that she should absolutely not be saying and that is also hilarious.

This book is a whirlwind of emotions, and at the end of the day, the relationship angst between Hazard and Somers is enough to keep me engrossed in the book and what keeps me coming back time and time again to read. Unfortunately, the mystery aspect of this takes a back burner for me compared to the other books in this series, and we’re still no close to finding the Keeper of Bees in this book than the last one.

***Thanks to the author for giving me an e-ARC and audiobook to read and review!***

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  • MisMissyC
  • 07-06-21

Great Series

This is one of my very favourite series. I absolutely love Emery and John Henry.
However I have to admit that this book was not my favourite, I struggled Too like Emery in this one, for far too much of the book he was really a complete jerk. The last few chapters were very redeeming, But I am hoping that maybe in the last few books I will see a nicer Emery. Anyone who has read the majority of the series and this couple knows that Emery is a marshmallow in the centreAnyone who has read the majority of the series and this couple knows that Emery is a marshmallow in the center. It would just be nice to see a tiny bit more of it with the adults in his life.
And really can Nico just go away.
And don't get me started on Gray Duloc. He is turning out to be just a big creep. I thought it was amusing before but this book- yeah -no.
Anyway I look forward to the next book in the series because the last chapter in this one was fabulous.
And of course Tristan James is amazing as the narrator really brings these stories to life.

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  • casrock
  • 26-01-21

Soapy Mystery + Angsty Relationship

While this one was not my favorite, it was still a solid 5 star read. The others I would just put over 5 stars. First, Hazard & Somers find themselves in a tough spot and spend some time apart, like not broken up, but it causes so real rifts between the two. The mystery this time while still really interesting, I could pick it out right away, last book I guessed, but it was not as noticeable. This one was kind of like a soap opera. But you get everything in this book, all the feels as well as the different dynamics between all the characters. I am obsessed any time Evie is in the books especially while interacting with Hazard, melts your heart. By the end of this, I wanted to give Hazard the biggest hug and just help him so much. I know this series is leading up to something nuts in the next one, and so it was kind of nice of Greg to give us a bit of a reprieve from the super intense cases. Tristan James on the audio was fantastic, and I cannot wait to continue.

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  • Janet Gibson
  • 15-12-20

Fantastic!

another fantastic read/listen! Love the series, love Tristan, its a bit quirky so be prepared!

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  • Julie Whitehead
  • 09-12-20

Gets me every time!

Great story, great narration! I misted up, I laughed, I did housework just to keep listening. The day this series is over will be a sad one. I’m the meantime, I got another ready to go!