The Hell You Say - Josh Lanyon
(The third Adrian English novel)
Itís very hard to discuss this book without major spoilers; so for those of you who like to remain spoiler free, Iíll just say that this is another superb read from Josh Lanyon in his Adrian English detective series. Adrian isnít really a detective, of course: heís a bookseller who writes mystery novels yet who seems to attract real life mishap and mayhem. This time, itís his assistant, Angus, who draws Adrian into this tale of cults, devil worship and human sacrifice. Itís a cracking good readóat last a book that I looked forward to getting home to and one that kept me up way too late at night reading. It has all the humorous trademarks of the earlier two novels, told in the first person with great wit and style by Adrian.
Donít miss this one.
Major Spoiler from now onÖ.
Okay, now I have to get onto the part of this book thatís made me madder than hell! If youíve read our reviews of the first two novels, youíll know that I adored the relationship between Adrian and Jake, his ultra-closeted cop lover. The way Lanyon wrote the relationship in the second novel (where they got together as lovers) Jakeís homophobia (yep, heís a gay homophobic) and inability to commit to Adrian wasnít presented as destructive. In fact, it was funny and seemed to be building up to something very special if Jake could only realise where his heart really lay. So, I ordered The Hell You Say as soon as I saw from Lanyonís (great) website that the book was published. Jake is just not the same person in this book. Heís angry, bitter, seeing a woman whom he then makes pregnant. He comes to Adrian one night and tells him itís overóthat heís marrying the woman, that this may be his one chance to be ďnormalĒ. I canít fault Lanyonís sensitivity in handling this scene and Adrianís feelings after the hurtful announcement. He just shuts down, but if you read between the lines, his pain is palpable. But after Brokeback Mountain, I donít want any more tragedy! I want the characters I love to find happiness! I was reading so fast, desperate to get to the end when Jake makes a dramatic reappearance admitting that itís Adrian he loves after all, but the pages got fewer and fewer andÖ it didnít happen.
Iím desperately hoping that if Lanyon writes a forth in this series heíll consider bringing Jake back. Itís a brave author who kills off one of the main reason why people love his books!
So, buy this, read it and then badger Lanyon to write an Adrian/Jake sequel!
Itís been quite a wait for this 3rd instalment of the Adrien English mystery series-Lanyon had to self-publish because no one would take it on.† Meeting Adrien again is like hooking up with an old friend. I was very keen to discover how his relationship with hunky LAPD detective Jake Riordan was progressing.† Things arenít going too well.† Jake remains deep in the closet and the strain of this is starting to tell on them both.
Adrien is a bookseller and part-time mystery novelist who keeps getting drawn into dangerous circumstances due to insatiable curiosity and burning need for truth.† His dodgy heart is as ever a problem not to mention an overprotective mother and that on/off relationship with Jake who regards it as his duty to keep Adrien out of mischief.† Except Jake is never there when Adrien needs him most.† Heís too busy pretending heís straight.† A stance hard to maintain with twice weekly sleepovers at Adrienís place.† In public Jake is ALL about denial.† In consequence Adrien is lonely and feeling the emptiness of his life.†
Adrienís young assistant Angus comes to him in fear of his life due to involvement in sinister goings on concerning Satanists and black magic and so begins Adrienís latest adventure.† It leads to Adrien finding himself under suspicion from the police and risking his life to expose a mysterious devilworshipping cult at work in LA he believes responsible for the deaths of several young people.†
Itís the run-up to Christmas (never a good time for the lonely) and to make things worse Adrienís mother Lisa is about to get remarried to a man with a large family determined to draw Adrien to its collective bosom- whether he wants to or not.
I really enjoyed this novel, finished in one sitting because I had to find out about Adrien & Jake.† Adrien is as always good company with his sharp mind and sardonic humour.† I loved the shout-out to Joseph Hansen, very touching. †Adrien doesnít always get it right and thatís partly what makes him so endearing.
†Thereís a sad tone due to the situation with Jake but it makes very real, with Jake determined to protect himself from discovery at the expense of Adrienís feelings and his own happiness.† No one wins in these situations.† Jakeís need for Adrien is driven home in one particular scene that reveals his desperation, while Adrienís position is shown very effectively when Jake has an accident and Adrien canít get close to him in hospital.† We canít blame Adrien for being attracted to the dishy professor he meets during his investigations.
What draws me to a book- and makes me love a series- is the characters.† Adrien & Jake are so well drawn theyíre real to me and I SO want them together.† Jakeís insistence on secrecy says more about self-hate and shame than attitudes in the police force to gay people.† His actions in this book made me so angry with him even though I Do understand and it fits the character weíve got to know over 3 books.† I wanted Adrien to stand up and fight for what he wants and Jake needs even if heís not ready to admit it.† The ending left me desperate for more so I hope the next book doesnít take so long to appear!† Highly recommended.