Book Review – Stop Cock by JL Merrow

Plumber’s Mate Mysteries #6
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 263
Characters: Tom/Phil
POV: 1st
Genre: Mystery Detective, Series

Blurb:
A match made in heaven – but the honeymoon from hell

Plumber Tom Paretski and his newly-wedded husband, PI Phil Morrison, plan to enjoy their honeymoon in Italy to the full. It should be the start of a wonderful future together. But when Wayne—Phil’s ex best mate and Tom’s former bully—turns up unexpectedly at their hotel, issues from their schooldays threaten to derail the fun. Tom may not bear a grudge against Phil for past injuries any longer, but Wayne’s another matter—or is he?

Wayne now seems determined to make friends, but Tom’s struggling to forgive and forget. To add to his confusion, cryptic messages from home spark the question: Are he and Phil are really as in tune as he thought? Tom’s not the first man Phil ever made a commitment to, and that marriage turned sour sooner rather than later.

It shouldn’t surprise them when death explodes onto the scene in shocking fashion, and their honeymoon turns into a murder investigation. When the group of locals Wayne had been meeting with turn their attention to Tom’s psychic abilities, he and Phil will need to pull together to figure out what’s going on—or risk this trip being the last they’ll ever take.

Buy Link

Review

I enjoyed the latest book in this series. I’d read one a few years ago, but although I’m not up to date and will have to do something about that, it didn’t detract from the story. I love the narrative style and how Tom ‘chats’ to the reader, and the Britisms. He and Phil are great together, and I like the quirkiness of Tom’s abilities.

I liked how Phil still feels bad about what happens during their school days, and how they take the time to talk to each other, rather than let misunderstandings drive them apart. I love how protective they are of each other too. These guys are definitely not getting the honeymoon they planned, but perhaps it’s the right one for them, given their history.

The setting was wonderfully description and added almost another character to the story. The supporting cast are great, and I like how almost no one is quite what they seem. I found the story very visual, and I enjoyed visiting all the historical sites along with Tom and Phil.

I liked how the plot unfolded, with each bit of the puzzle finally sliding into place. The lovely twist about the identity of the murderer is well done, and although I guessed it, it wasn’t until almost the end. The scenes after the bad guys make their move are tense, although Tom’s narrative prevents it from getting too much so. I was still seriously worried for him and Phil though!

The epilogue has a few hints for what Tom and Phil’s future holds, so hoping there will be more in this series! As an aside, loved the names of their cats.

5 out of 5 stars.

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 https://annebarwell.wordpress.com
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