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Monday, October 4, 2010

Like Pizza and Beer by Elle Parker

Like Pizza and Beer by Elle Parker
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemp
Length: Full Length (170 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Working for his ex and his boyfriend, Dino's past and present cross.

Dino is caught off guard when his ex shows up out of the blue asking for help. His current lover, Seth, is pushing him to find dirt on his sister’s boyfriend. Juggling between two cases – and his boyfriend and ex – isn’t easy, but what choice does he have?

Working with his ex takes Dino on a trip down memory lane, raising a few doubts and stirring up Seth’s jealousy. Now he must save his ex’s restaurant and his relationship with Seth before it’s too late.

When Dino’s ex Gigi appears asking for help, Seth is determined to keep an eye on them both. Gigi needs help with her restaurant and Seth needs Dino to look into his sister’s creepy boyfriend. Dino tries to balance both cases but Seth is jealous of Gigi and the pranks in Gigi’s restaurant are turning more and more dangerous. Dino needs to solve both cases while convincing Seth he’s not ashamed of their relationship. Just another day at the office for Dino and his private investigator business.

Like Pizza and Beer is the second book in the Dino Martini series. You don’t have to have read the first book to pick up this one but as with any series it’s helpful. The first book introduces Seth and his relationship to Dino, which is continued in book two. Otherwise the two separate cases – Gigi’s restaurant and Seth’s sister – are completely new to this story. The mysteries are both quite good and seemingly independent of each other. The first is a clever case in finding out who is sabotaging the restaurant with escalating pranks. At the same time Dino is trying to prove that Seth’s sister’s boyfriend is a scumbag and get enough dirt on him to convince said sister to move on. This is also well-crafted, amusing, and fun to read as Dino tracks the boyfriend and ends up befriending a charming yet powerful mob boss.

Besides the two cases Dino works on, his relationship with Seth grows over the course of the story. Although Dino’s an open bisexual he’s never had a relationship with a man before so he’s careful and overly cautious about letting people know. Dino has some valid concerns about violence and hatred towards gay people while outgoing and vicarious Seth is angry that other people’s opinions affect their relationship so much. When Dino goes too far trying to deny their relationship, he may lose Seth in the process. This is a great source of tension and conflict in the book. It’s kept simmering so it never overwhelms the main mysteries but is always in the background. Just as this is going on though the men have a great relationship that’s based on friendship, shared interests, and great sex. They feel casual, honest, and masculine in the best ways.

The story hits all the great high notes of an engaging and enjoyable romance. There is a bit of mystery but it’s kept very classic private eye with no wild antics but more methodical step by step work. This will definitely appeal to mystery/romance fans that enjoy a good mix of both but like the more classic PI storytelling. The pace is quick and entertaining but it’s nothing like a james bond thriller so settle in with this when you want a good story and not so much high octane insanity. I think you’ll be incredibly pleased.

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