Review – A Shot of J&B by Lou Sylvre

Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. After the rescue, Brian ended his employment with Jackie’s uncle Luki and left the US for England, aiming to distance himself from the confused feelings—not lust, but not brotherly—that then sixteen-year-old Jackie engendered. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust with a dose of D/s rope kink is definitely on the list of possibilities. As they get to know each other, though, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true.

When Jackie moves to London for graduate studies in criminal psychology, he and Brian hope they’ll be able to enjoy each other’s frequent company. But they haven’t factored in the claim Brian’s police job with Scotland Yard will make on his time, especially when the “Gaslighter crimes” sap investigative resources. An abandoned aide dog named Soldier leads to a breakthrough clue, and a chain of discoveries fall like dominoes. As Brian rushes to beat the criminal’s game before it escalates to true terror, he comes to an undeniable conclusion: Jackie Vasquez, the man he loves, is in mortal danger.

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I’m already a fan of the universe Lou Sylvre has built with her Vasquez and James series so I was excited to learn that she is writing a spin off series featuring characters from that series—Jackie and Brian. I love series, and next generation spin offs.

The title A Shot of J&B works on a couple of levels. It’s not only Brian’s favourite drink, but is also their initials.

As with all of Lou’s work, this was a very smooth and lyrical read. I got sucked into the story and invested in the characters very quickly. Part romance, part detective/action drama, this has a bit of everything but comes together as a very integrated whole.

I also enjoyed the change in location as a lot of the action takes place in the UK, and the research that has gone into the story. While it’s definitely Jackie and Brian’s story, there are still appearances from Luki and Sonny, and the introduction of new characters. I loved Brian’s cat, Marley, and their other new addition to their family—but that one is a spoiler so not mentioning it here. Brian and Jackie’s relationship grows over time although their attraction is immediate, and I thought the way Lou handled it was very believable. Her guys are always very loving, and respect and trust each other—I really like that about them.

Lou certainly knows how to rack up the tension, and the bad guy in this is really disturbing, but realistically so. Like in all good detective stories, the clues were there, but it’s only as things come together that the reader puts it all together, and like Brian, hopes like hell it’s not already too late.

An early night I had planned became a lot later, as I had to keep reading to see what happened next.

Another five star story, and a great start to a new series. More please.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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