Geography of Murder by P. A. Brown
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (273 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Spanking, Questionable Consent
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Phlox
Jason Zachary finds himself with a map straight into a murder rap when he runs afoul of Santa Barbara detective Alexander Spider, charged with the murder of a man he's never met.
A well-constructed, gripping mystery intertwined with a believable, engaging roller-coaster romance is rare; this novel manages it all without losing a beat. Both stylish and gritty, with a noire flair and Philip Marlow overtones, the tension ramps up from the first page where the reader is dropped directly into the crime scene along with our hapless and, at that point, clueless hero.
Brown’s shared, first-person narrative works well for this piece, the chapters alternating between Jason and Alex, which allows the reader to ride along through each crisis, each shift and revelation, through the eyes of these two very different personalities. Both heroes are flawed, carrying scars and distrust like shields, keeping them safe from connecting in any meaningful way with another person. Alex keeps the world at bay, a Dom’s Dom, who picks up boys for a night or two of fun and then tosses them away without regret. Jason drifts aimlessly through life, hiding behind a smart-ass persona, often in a drug-induced haze, convinced he has no future and no right to think of one.
First-person narrative often grates on my nerves – it must be done well, with distinct, recognizable voices and must still pull the reader in completely without becoming self-absorbed. The author pulls off this difficult bit of literary magic so well, I forgot about the point of view issue within the first two chapters.
This story roils with sexual tension and physical peril while keeping the main characters’ emotional journeys front and center. Feel free to get all mushy and teary-eyed at the ending. After this wild ride, you’ll feel it well deserved.