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Friday, February 12, 2010

'The Death of a Pirate King: Adrien English #4' by Josh LANYON

From the BLURB:

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!

This is the fourth book in Josh Lanyon’s ‘Adrien English’ series.

Two years have passed since the events in ‘The Hell You Say’ and a lot has changed. Adrien and the UCLA occult professor, Guy Snowden, are an item – with Guy pushing for more in the way of holy matrimony. Adrien has gotten used to his extended step family and even, dare say, loves them. Especially his fourteen-year-old steps-sister, Emma, who he shares a love of horses with. Adrien’s heart murmur has gotten worse and open-heart surgery looms. And Adrien hasn’t spoken to married Lietuenant Jake Riordan in two years…. Until one night at a swanky Hollywood party, Adrien is sitting next to a wealthy producer who keels over and dies. Enter Lt. Riordan, back in Adrien’s life and more confusing than ever.

Once again Adrien is suspected of murder. He is unwittingly bought into the sleuthing side of the murder investigation when bisexual film star, Paul Kane, insists that Adrien help Jake Riordan with the case. But there’s more to Paul Kane’s insistence that Jake and Adrien work together, and the plot thickens and congeals…

It was pretty risky of Lanyon to jump the book forward by two years, but it works really well. The hurt Jake inflicted on Adrien has had time to settle and fester, and as old wounds are reopened the emotional stakes feel higher than ever. I didn’t know how much worse it could get for Adrien when it came to his ex-boyfriend, Jake Riordan, but Lanyon manages to increase Adrien’s heartache ten-fold. I was literally gasping in certain passages, as Adrien learns more of Jake’s secrets and looks at his and Jake’s relationship from a whole new angle.

And I thought maybe I didn’t need to worry about my heart anymore because it had stopped beating a couple of seconds earlier, and I was still sitting there living and breathing – though admittedly I wasn’t feeling much of anything.

The increased emotional tension makes for intensely addictive reading. But it is also painful to read – Adrien isn’t really one for confrontation, and as he learns more about his and Jake’s previous relationship he remains tight-lipped - much to my chagrin.

In this book I really responded to the murder plot. It’s made more interesting by the fact that the players are all Hollywood moguls, and the added fact that certain persons have a personal relationship and interest with Adrien and Jake. This book definitely has a ‘noir’ feel to it; there’s lots of seedy underbelly being revealed and the sleuthing is better than ever.

And as if I didn’t love Adrien enough as it was. In this book he makes reference to one of my all-time favorite TV shows; ‘Veronica Mars’. Makes sense, since the show was about an amateur sleuth and leaned heavily toward the noir side of things… but I like to think the reference is yet another indicator that if Adrien English were a real person, he and I would totally be bosom buddies.

I loved this book (as I’ve loved all the Adrien English books thus far) and I’m going into the fifth and final book ‘The Dark Tide’ with a little trepidation. I don’t want the series to end! I want to prolong it for as long as possible, but I know my addiction to Adrien will win out.



  1. yep, this one rocked. I can't wait for you to read the last one. its bitter sweet because it ends but I can't think of a more perfect book, series closer or not! It makes me emotional to think about! :)

  2. I didn't realize this wasn't an open-ended series. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  3. OMG I freaked out when he made that Veronica Mars reference! LOL It was freaking awesome!

    Great review!


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