A big welcome to Elle Keaton as part of her review tour with Signal Boost Promotions for Conspiracy Theory.
I was pulled into this story, and wanted to know more about these characters, immediately. I love slow burn romances, especially with flawed characters. I particularly felt for Niall with his horrible start in life, and how he has convinced himself he’s not worth anything, and buried himself in his work in an attempt to ignore his past. I liked how the contrast between his mother, and his grandparents was portrayed. I hope we can see more of his life with his grandparents in flashbacks in future stories. They made an impact on me as a reader despite them only being in the story as memories. I also liked that Niall and Mat have some life experience under their belts. I like reading about older characters.
The attraction between Niall and Mat is nicely done, a lovely strong slow burn, but although I hoped they would get together, their growing friendship and reconnection didn’t pull me away from the murder mystery plot either. I thought the two story threads worked side by side very well. I liked Mat immediately. He’s definitely one of the good guys, and I hope he is able to come out, whether the island is ready for a gay sheriff or not.
The vivid descriptions of Piedras Island also contributed my being hooked in so early, and painted a picture in my mind as I read, to the point that the setting felt like another character. I thought the author did a great job in portraying a small community with all its quirks, some good and some really not. This story wasn’t just a murder mystery, but an unravelling of layers of a community and relationships within that, some of which go back generations.
The supporting cast were great, and felt very real. I loved Birdy, Marshall, and Alyson in particular. I loved the scenes with Alyson being there for Niall, and her reaction to Sean. She’s a very strong lady, and one I would not want to cross. I hope Marshall gets a HEA at some point—I’d love to read something from his POV. Fenrir needs a mention too. I loved him, and his presence was very strong as soon as he made his first appearance. The swear jar is a wonderful idea, and Niall’s reaction when he finds out about it is classic.
I liked how all the pieces of the mystery tied together. I had guessed some of it, but that didn’t detract from my reading enjoyment. I was on the edge of my seat and turning pages to find out how everything worked out. Martin and Sean are both pieces of work, with the former not being particularly bright with it. I thought the author did a fabulous job in building a strong picture of all the characters, and their personalities came across very clearly.
I’m already hanging out for book 2 which is coming out next year.
I’d recommend this story to readers who enjoy slow burn romance, a murder mystery set in a small community, flawed layered characters, and a plot that keeps you turning page trying to put all the puzzle pieces together. 5 out of 5 stars.
Years of grueling police work have left Niall Hamarsson jaded and disillusioned with life…although it’s likely he’s been that way all along. The last straw lands when the DA refuses to try a case Niall worked for years to bring to justice. Within hours he finds himself heading to the only place he’s ever been able to call home—a place he knows he doesn’t belong.
Mat Dempsey returned to Piedras Island after his father’s death. These days he’s Island County’s sheriff. He’s happy enough, even if moving home from San Francisco effectively forced him back into the closet. Mat’s well-ordered universe collapses when a local’s body is discovered floating in the cold waters of Hidden Harbor’s marina. All hell breaks loose in the community, and accusations fly…all coinciding with Niall Hamarsson’s return.Niall and Mat have a history, and it’s not one Mat’s proud of. He owes Niall an apology, even if it means getting down on his knees. However, Mat’s first priority is investigating the murder before his community tears itself apart and he may have to ask the aloof Niall Hamarsson for help.
Push apart, pull together, yes or no… The chemistry crackles between them but will the two men be able to put aside their pasts and embrace a future?
Thanks for stopping by, I’m Elle Keaton and I hail from the northwest corner of the US where we are known for rain, rain and more rain. I write the Accidental Roots series, set here in the Pacific Northwest featuring hot mm romance and the guarantee of a happy ending for my men. They start out broken, and maybe they end up that way too, but they always find the other half of their hearts.
I started writing way back when but only began publishing about two and a half years ago and now have nine books out. Each features a couple in my little universe, sometimes there is added mystery and suspense.
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