Join Josh's Newsletter and receive an exclusive audio book! Exclusive audio offer!

To use baseball parlance, Lanyon doesn't just hit this one out the park, she clears the bases.

Jessewave for Reviews by Jessewave
Gay bookseller and reluctant amateur sleuth Adrien English’s writing career is suddenly taking off. His first novel, Murder Will Out, has been optioned by notorious Hollywood actor Paul Kane.
But when murder makes an appearance at a dinner party, who should be called in but Adrien’s former lover, handsome closeted detective Jake Riordan, now a Lieutenant with LAPD — which may just drive Adrien’s new boyfriend, sexy UCLA professor Guy Snowden, to commit a murder of his own.

When I woke, the buzzer was ringing downstairs.

I sat up, groggy and a little confused by a series of weird dreams. The corners in the room were deep in shadow. Just for a moment it looked like someplace else, someplace strange, someone else’s house. It looked like the home of whoever would live here years after I was gone.

The clock in the VCR informed me that it was eight o’clock. Shit. I’d stood Guy up for dinner.

The buzzer downstairs rang again, loud and impatient.

Not Guy, because he had a key.

No way, I thought. I started coughing like I’d inhaled a mouthful of dust. Dusty memories maybe.

I got up, adrenaline zinging through my system like someone had flipped a switch. Heading downstairs, I turned on the ground level lights. I crossed the silent floor of towering shelves and strategically placed chairs, my eyes on the tall silhouette lurking behind the bars of the security gate.

Somehow I knew — even before he moved into the unhealthy yellow glow of the porch light. I swore under my breath and unlocked the front door. Pushed the security gate aside.

“Can I come in?”

I hesitated, then shrugged. “Sure.” I moved out of the way. “More questions?”

“That’s right.” Jake stepped inside the store and stared around himself.

The previous spring I’d bought the building space next door, and between the bookstore and the gutted rooms was a dividing wall of clear, heavy plastic. Otherwise it didn’t look too different: same comfortable chairs, fake fireplace, tall walnut shelves of books, same enigmatic smiles of the kabuki masks on the wall. Everything as it was. Me excluded. I had certainly changed.

I remembered when I’d first met Jake, when he’d been investigating Robert Hersey’s murder. He’d scared the hell out of me, and I wondered now why I hadn’t paid attention to that first healthy instinct.

Death of a Pirate King is deserving of more than 5 stars so I have rated it as a Desert Island Keeper (DIK) which is the highest rating on this blog.

His eyes came at last to rest on me. He didn’t say anything.

“Déjà vu,” I said, and was relieved that my tone was just about right.

It seemed to annoy Jake, though. Or maybe he was annoyed at being forced to remember there had ever been anything between us besides criminal investigation.

He said flatly, “I want to know what you were holding back when we interviewed you this afternoon.”

That caught me off guard. “Nothing.”

“Bullshit. I know you. You were hiding something.”

Now that really was ironic. “You think?”

He just stared, immovable, implacable, impossible. “Yeah.”

“I guess some things never change.”

“Yeah,” he drawled. “Two years later I find you smack in the middle of another homicide investigation. Coincidence?”

“You think not?” I started coughing again, which was aggravating as hell.

He just stood there watching.

When I’d got my breath again, I rasped, “If I were hiding something I guess it was the realization that you and Paul Kane are also already…acquainted.”

He didn’t say a word.

“Same club, old chap?”

He raised an eyebrow. “You sound jealous, Adrien. And bitter.”

Did I? The thought startled me.

“Nah. Just curious.”


I shrugged. “Not really my business.”

“You’ve got that right.” He was curt. After a moment he said slowly, “So that’s all it was? You guessed that Paul and I…knew each other.”

“In the Biblical sense?” I mocked. “Yeah.”


After we’d parted company he’d called twice when I hadn’t been there to take his call. Or maybe I had been there, but just hadn’t picked up. Anyway, I knew from caller ID who the hang-up calls were from.

And then, eleven months after the whole thing was over, he’d called and actually left a message.

It’s Jake.

Like, did he think I’d forgotten his voice along with his number?


It’d be nice to talk to you sometime.

As he himself would have said: Uh-huh.


Dial tone.

What did he think we’d talk about? His marriage? Work? The weather?

“So are we done?” I heard the tension crackle in my voice and knew he heard it too. I didn’t have the strength to keep fencing with him. I didn’t have the energy to keep standing there pretending this wasn’t getting to me, that it wasn’t opening up a lot of wounds that weren’t as well healed as I’d believed.

He said flatly, “Yeah, we’re done.”