Date: April 4, 2011
Genre: M/M Suspense – Murder Mystery
Length: 44,499 words, 131 pages
Josh Lanyon Website
Los Angeles, 1943
Reporter Nathan Doyle had has reasons to want Phil Arlen dead, but when he sees the man’s body pulled from the La Brea tar pit, he knows he’ll be the prime suspect. He also knows that his life won’t stand up to intense police scrutiny, so he sets out to crack the case himself.
Lieutenant Matthew Spain’s official inquiries lead him to believe that Nathan knows more than he’s saying. But that’s not the only reason Matt takes notice of the handsome journalist. Matt’s been drawn to men before, but he must hide his true feelings – or risk his entire career.
As Nathan digs deeper, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay one step ahead of Matt Spain – and to deny his intense attraction to him. Nathan’s secrets may not include murder, but has his hunt put him right in the path of the real killer?
Previously published, newly revised by author.
I was transported back to the days of Sergeant Joe Friday of Dragnet and Humphrey Bogart while reading SNOWBALL IN HELL. The story starts out with a noir-esque feel to it, but the tone subtly changes about a quarter of the way through to a more contemporary nature. Either that or I just got used to Mr. Lanyon’s writing style.
A smartly written murder mystery that places the characters front and center, while the romance aspect of the story stays somewhat in the background. Spain and Doyle meet when a body is pulled from the tar pit. What starts out as a simple homicide quickly turns into kidnapping and blackmail. As the case progresses and more players get involved, Spain finds that he isn’t prepared to face the emotions he has for Doyle. Doyle on the other hand, longs to be loved, if just for a little while.
And there is was: the longed-for warmth of hands on his bare skin, the strength and gentleness that he craved but could never – would never - find except in fleeting, stolen moments.
Their Christmas encounter is a poignant and telling scene. Doyle and Spain begin to share their feelings, but the fear of discovery keeps them at arm’s length. It’s only when Doyle takes an unnecessary risk that they realize if there’s a will, there’s a way.
This story ended way too soon for me! I wanted more of Matt Spain’s enthusiastic optimism along with Nathan Doyle’s persistent self-flagellation.