Author: A.M. Riley
Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Publisher: Loose Id (May 21st, 2013) First published April 9th, 2010)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts
Blurb: Stefan Sanchez’s number one reason to flee Boerne, Texas twelve years ago, was closeted deputy Chet Blain. Since then he has lived in Los Angeles, become a successful author of children’s books and managed his sexual relationships with a certain cool cynicism.
When Stefan returns to Texas for the funeral of his best friend, Tommy, he is confronted by painful memories: His infamous father, shot as a traitor, his alcoholic mother, and Chet, who seems to want to start their old painful relationship all over again. Added to this is a missing widow, drugs in the trunk of his rental car, and a hunky Secret Service agent who seems determined to make Stefan’s business his business.
It all ends in a mad chase across the infamously haunted Devil’s backbone where ghosts from the past and personal demons in the present all conspire to give Stefan a chance to close the book on his childhood forever… or die trying.
Product Link: http://www.loose-id.com/son-of-a-gun.html
Review: You know what this story reminded me of? The Three Musketeers. Yeah it really did. There were the three guys here with Stef being the reckless one, the one who was sharp and witty and always the cynic. There was Tommy – the dead/murdered friend, who used to be the one to always pursuit justice, and there was Chet, the clean-up-the-mess guy. There was Tommy’s wife Sammy, the one to get em all together, the cool one, the one that never came between friends. And there was definitely the evil/smart villain, who of course is above suspicion and the obligatory conspiracy theory.
That was quite simple really. Stefan having left Texas for twelve years is forced back for his best friend’s funeral. It’s weird because all the way back he was hearing Tommy’s voice in his head, having quite a conversation, and at first I thought he was a bit crazy and had an imaginary friend you know. Only later on at the funeral did I realize that Stef is indeed a bit crazy and has whole conversations in his head.
Anyway, so there he is looking at his best friend’s dead body and it hits him that even as a corpse Tommy looks horrified. The cause of his death doesn’t satisfy Stefan – who always had some sort of an intuition – and he believes that his friend has been murdered. Of course, it helps a bit the fact that he discovers bits and pieces of information written in their secret code language that only he and Tommy perfectly knew and a small portion Tommy’s wife Sammy.
Speaking of Sammy, she’s gone missing in a hurry leaving nothing behind, no trail, no way to get in touch, at least for the simple mortal, because Stefan finds bits of clues from her too and like this starts a kind of a treasure hunt for a runaway bride and truth at the end of the game.
I liked it, a lot. The story was quite engaging, the plot laid in such a way that had you wanting to follow it, wanting to see what’s next and at time making you feel like you figured the bad guy, then doubting yourself and then going back to what you originally thought and then doubting that thought… again. It was quite fun the way it sent you back and forth. The characters involved were numerous and quite literally filled the book.
In the middle of all this was the very weird, very dysfunctional relationship between Stefan and Chet, that started out as friends when they were kids, morphed into secret hooking/lovers later on and ended quite badly causing Stefan to leave Texas to escape the pain. But oddly enough, there was no romance in their “thing,” for it wasn’t even a relationship. It was as if Stefan was a drug Chet couldn’t resist and you have one hell of a nightmare between them. As for Stefan, gosh what a character. His entire personality was so very complex that I don’t know how to feel about it. His life was literally stolen from him and he’d been in a loveless situation his entire life, or that how he felt. Quite the dark emotional drama there, but so skillfully written, so flawed and hurt and stuck in limbo for so long that you can’t help care for this character.
So, concluding my thought on this book, it was a very nice story, with a very nice conspiracy, well-developed characters and a good enough pace to keep you interested through the entire read. The romance was lacking there and the relationship between Stefan and Dale was hazy at best and left quite hanging, but overall a very decent read I don’t hesitate recommending those who like a good suspense/mystery story.