A Dangerous Thing - Josh Lanyon
(Adrien English Series #2)

Buy from the States at Lambda Rising Booksellers here

Ladymol's Review

I had to be very circumspect reviewing Fatal Shadows (the first in the series) because I didnít want to give away the fact that Jake, the homophobic cop, becomes a feature in Adrienís life at the end. The whole tension of Fatal Shadows depends upon whether the killer is Jake or Bruce (the other man Adrien takes up with). I was so hoping that the killer wouldnít be Jake. I suspected that Adrienís feelings for him were very confusedóhow right I was.

This novel starts with Jake calling Adrien to say he canít make a date. Nothing unusual in that: heís a cop, and cops have weird schedules. But what gradually emerges is the most original and amusing relationship you can imagine: Jake seems to love hanging out with Adrien, but he wonít touch him (other than one memorable arm around a shoulder). The very thought of kissing Adrien seems to make him slightly nauseous, and he constantly professes a pretty homophobic heterosexuality. Not a good basis for a gay relationship really.

Adrien, on the excuse of needing some peace and quiet to write (huh, do other writers get that then?), takes off to the ranch he was left by his Grandmother (mentioned in Fatal Shadows). Adrien is narrating the books, so youíd think you were getting honest self-analysis. Yeah, likeÖ not! We know the real reason Adrien is suddenly taking off. We know that his feeling for Jake now run very, very deep, and he canít handle Jakeís confusing and hurtful responses to him.

Never mind, we love Adrien, so we go along with his emotional denials. Theyíre very amusing, and Lanyon handles this with a deftness of touch that leaves your heart aching for Adrien at the same time as laughing wryly at his stupidity. Heís such a bright guy for all problems but his own!

Adrien arrives at the ranch heís not seen for twenty-four years (I love the scene where a reproachful woman in a local shop accuses him of not coming for his grandmotherís funeral, and he points out that he was eight and didnít have his drivers licence) only to find a dead body in the roadway. By the time the local police get there, itís gone, and thus we are plunged delightfully into the latest Adrien English mystery.

I particularly love the way that these books are like layers upon layers. The author is, apparently, a gay bookseller who lives with an (ex) LAPD cop and writes mystery stories about a gay bookseller who loves an LAPD cop and writes mystery stories. Itís very cleverly done, and I love that Lanyon (through Adrien) uses the fact that he has a wide knowledge of fiction to talk, for example, about Joseph Hansen and his Dave Brandstetter series. As those of you who read these reviews will know, we adore Dave and the whole Brandstetter series. Hansen is constantly referred to in reviews as ďthe worthy successor to HammettĒ. Well, Lanyon is the worthy successor to the late Hansen. Heís taken the gay detective genre (are there enough gay detective novels to form a genre?) and given it a delightfully refreshing twist. The sex is more graphic in these books than in Hansen or Stevenson (the Don Strachey novels), but itís still sparse compared to many modern gay novels. However, that only makes it more erotic when it does appear: so delicately sprinkled into the plot that it falls like sweet rain on arid earth.

Jake must be the most original creation in gay fiction Iíve read so far. That he resists Adrien so hard when all the time we can see that heís head over heels for him, but that Adrien canít seem to see this at all makes the most delicious tension throughout the novel. I didnít read this book, I devoured it. Thank goodness Lanyon is writing the third in the series: ďThe Hell You SayĒ.†

He has a great website by the way:


You must buy these books (not easy to get hold of Fatal Shadows in the UK), read them and then email Lanyon and badger him about finishing the next one. I intend to.

I need my Adrien/Jake fix.


Cerisaye's Review

If you liked Fatal Shadows the first book (in what I hope will be a multi-volume series) featuring mouthy bookseller and soon-to-be-published gay mystery novelist Adrien English, I guarantee youíll love this follow-on.Itís a more accomplished effort that displays Lanyonís greater maturity as a writer.†

Adrien, the slender sleuth with the dodgy ticker, and Jake Riordan, the hunky LA homicide cop buried so deep in the closet (says Adrien bitterly) he doesnít know where to look for himself, have a deliciously complicated relationship.

Adrien is 32, openly and happily gay as a goose, looking for love and commitment, a companion to share his life and a warm willing body in his empty bed.† Namely Jake, prime hunk of all-American beef, with leonine eyes, golden hair and big arms Ade longs to feel holding him tight as prelude to greater intimacy.† Riordan, however, prefers to think heís straight.† Except when the hunger gets too much then he puts on the leathers to punish himself for his unnatural desire with a bit of S&M.† Gay sex he can do, but love & affection with another man would compromise his precious masculinity and force him to admit heís gay as Adrien.

Itís two months since Jake saved Adrienís skin when he went up against the Gay Slasher.† Jake put his life on the line and his career at risk, all he-man protective.† WE know Jake cares for Adrien.† Adrien THINKS he does, but isnít prepared to put up with Jakeís ambivalence because itís driving him crazy with unrequited passion and no affection or intimacy.† Heís lonely and frustrated, and his creative juices have dried up under the strain.† Struggling with that difficult second novel (hah!), he decides to escape the distractions of Pasadena and the pressure of Jakeís hot/cold attitude, for the peace and tranquillity of the ranch in Mother lode country left him by his old granny, along with the legacy that underwrites his comfortable lifestyle.†

However, things donít go according to plan. When Adrien arrives at the old homestead thereís a body at the gate, and once more heís called upon to turn detective for real, putting his own life in danger.† By the time the local sheriff arrives, however, the body has vamoosed.† Then Adrien finds grass (NOT the green kind) growing all over his hillside and a bunch of archaeologists from a local college digging on his land at Spaniardís Hollow.

Of course, in a crisis the first person Ade turns to is Jake, sexually confused, self-hating King of Denial.† Except when he phones, Jake has company.† Of the female kind.† Adrien is understandably angry and very jealous.† Is it time to say good-bye?† And what about Kevin, the cute grad student who clearly has the hots for Adrien?† Is he the one?

When Adrien & Jake are alone together itís so good between them.† I love the way Jake calls Ade Ďbabyí and the small details of intimacy like Adrien getting off on watching Jake lick his candy coated fingers.† Thereís a nice Dakota & Benny vibe in the old ranch house, and the way weíre told what theyíre cooking and eating reminded me also of Dave Brandstetter & Cecil.† But Jake is so frustrating!† Youíd think being straight was some kind of holy virtue the way he wants so badly to hold onto it.† Anyway those labels donít matter and feelings have no gender.† I just love how this book takes their relationship onto another level as Jake discovers sex isnít at all what itís about.† I hope Lanyon gets book #3 finished and published soon as I NEED to know what happens next.† Highly recommended.