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November Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

black and white image of a man walking away from the viewer into the fog - he's walking alongside a barbed wire fenceThe Tyack & Frayne series by Harper Fox  Well… less of a review and more of a series recommendation really.  As you might know, I attempted to cut off the top of one of my fingers a few weeks ago and the recovery period has left me struggling with typing. As a result I took a break from review books while I recovered (well, mostly recovered) and read/listened to things already on my TBR/TBL. As much as it is a privilege and pleasure to read review books and have early access to them, it is also a delight to read or listen just for fun. 

One of the fantastic things I did over the past few weeks was listen to all of the Tyack & Frayne mysteries by Harper Fox. The entire series is not available on audio yet (alas), but the first 7 book are and – joy of joys, they’re all available in the Audible Plus catalogue. (Also at the time of writing this, book 1 is available to buy for only $3.99.) The series is built around Cornish local police officer, Gideon Frayne and Lee Tyack, a clairvoyant who is called in by the Truro police to consult on the disappearance of a young girl from Gideon’s village. There are mysterious and spooky goings on and along the way, Gideon and Lee fall deeply in love. Each of the available audiobooks is self-contained – no cliffhangers – but they do need to be consumed in order as they build one upon the other.

I love the connection Gideon and Lee have and I also enjoy the Cornish setting and the use of local myth and legend which adds to the atmosphere.

Once Upon a Haunted Moor by Harper Fox, narrated by Tim Gilbert

Black and white photo of a man in the distance walking against a wire fenceline on a misty moorWhy I read it:  My friend Caz recommended this series to me.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Gideon Frayne has spent his whole working life as a policeman in the village of Dark on Bodmin Moor. It’s not life in the fast lane, but he takes it very seriously, and his first missing-child case is eating him alive. When his own boss sends in a psychic to help with the case, he’s gutted – he’s a level-headed copper who doesn’t believe in such things, and he can’t help but think that the arrival of clairvoyant Lee Tyack is a comment on his failure to find the little girl.

But Lee is hard to hate, no matter how Gideon tries. At first Lee’s insights into the case make no sense, but he seems to have a window straight into Gideon’s heart. Son of a Methodist minister, raised in a tiny Cornish village, Gideon has hidden his sexuality for years. It’s cost him one lover, and he can’t believe it when this green-eyed newcomer stirs up old feelings and starts to exert a powerful force of attraction.

Gideon and Lee begin to work together on the case. But there are malignant forces at work in the sleepy little village of Dark, and not only human ones – Gideon is starting to wonder, against all common sense, if there might be some truth in the terrifying legend of the Bodmin Beast after all. As a misty Halloween night consumes the moor, Gideon must race against time to save not only the lost child but the man who’s begun to restore his faith in his own heart.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I enjoyed the story very much. It was a short (novella-length) audio and, considering that the main characters had not met before it began, it managed to sell me on the budding relationship between Gideon and Lee. There is a bit of insta-lust (nothing wrong with that) and perhaps one or two narrative jumps which suprised me just a little in the romantic story but nothing I wasn’t able to go with fairly easily. Gideon’s last relationship broke down because he was closeted. It’s clear that he has enough regret about that and enough time had passed that when Lee bobs up in his life, Gideon wasn’t likely to let that happen again. So it made sense to me.

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