Dana Piazzi reviews What Lies Beneath (Lancaster Falls Book 1) by RJ Scott. (Ebook published July 16. 2019 by Love Lane Books, 248 pages. Audio was published by Tantor audio on November 19, 2019. Narrated by Sean Crisden. Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins) An audio copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
In the hottest summer on record, Iron Lake reservoir is emptying, revealing secrets that were intended to stay hidden beneath the water.
Best-selling horror writer Chris Lassiter struggles for inspiration and he’s close to never writing again. His life has become an endless loop of nothing but empty pages, personal appearances, and a marketing machine that is systematically destroying his muse. In a desperate attempt to force Chris to complete unfinished manuscripts his agent buys a remote cabin. All Chris has to do is hide away and write, but he’s lost his muse, and not even he can make stories appear from thin air.
Sawyer Wiseman left town for Chicago, chasing the excitement and potential of being a big city cop, rising the ranks, and making his mark. A case gone horribly wrong draws him back to Lancaster Falls. Working for the tiny police department in the town he’d been running from, digging into cold cases and police corruption, he spends his day’s healing, and his nights hoping the nightmares of his last case leave him alone.
Contains mature themes.
The amount of mysteries I read before I started reading MM romance was possibly just one. I can’t actually remember, but mystery was not my thing, to be sure. I have now read many mysteries from many authors featuring characters that are LGBT. I have really come to love the mysteries as much as the romance. The mystery happening in this book has the possibility to be pretty intense but for now we have the set up.
And there is a lot of set up for this world the author created. Sawyer has returned to his hometown after a pretty bad situation occured while he was an officer in a big city. The town is kind of what you expect from a cliche’d small town. Everyone knows everyone and gossip flows freely. The police captain and the mayor have a good old boys network going on that smacks of bribery and corruption. The mayor’s son is addicted to drugs and beats his wife, but he’ll never face consequences when it’s so much more convenient to sweep it under the rug. There is also a small town pastor who tries to save the town’s population by getting them to church. There is something about him and his interest in helping the kids of the town that I find suspicious. Though nothing is really revealed about him, so it might just be me. I do believe that Sawyer’s job in this series is to remove the corruption from the town one person at a time, and the mystery might unravel at a slow pace as he stops each person standing in his way.
Ah, yes, the mystery! It does take a little while into this book to grasp the exact nature of the mystery. At first, it seems like one person might have met an untimely end in the river, when Chris finds a skull in the dried up riverbeds, but the amount of bones also found in the area end up revealing that there is more than one skeleton buried beneath the water. It is very intriguing. And one of them might be someone that Sawyer used to know. By the end of this book, there is no real answer to who might have hidden the dead bodies under the river, or why their deaths were covered up so as far as the mystery goes, this is a very open-ended ending. But I am very intrigued and am definitely interested in the future books of this series.
I don’t want to forget to talk about the two main characters and their budding romance. In the beginning of this book, both Chris and Sawyer are kind of dour. Both dealing with problems with a seriousness and emotional void that doesn’t really endear either of them to me at first. Chris’s care for his pet, and Sawyer’s love for his niece slowly starts humanizing them for me, and as they spend more and more time with each other, they finally seem like more than automatons. What Sawyer went through in Chicago, really was horrible and I felt bad for him as he finally let someone in on how that affected him. Chris seemed really down at first, and I suppose it was warranted because his crippling writer’s block was threatening to end his career. He also seems to express his desires at least when he pursues Sawyer. By the end of this story, I was definitely more in touch with both characters and am eager to see what happens with them in the future books.
Last but not least, I want to mention the narration. I have enjoyed Sean’s narrations in the past, so I was confident his narration of this book would be great as well. I did mention in the last paragraph about how gloomy the characters were and how I felt unaffected by them at first. Experiencing this book as an audiobook first without reading it does leave me to wonder if the characters are as bleak as I felt they were narrated by Sean Crisden. Was it how they were written or his narration? I was even feeling a little morose listening to him, at least in the beginning. As the two men spent time together, and started to brighten up a little, the narration changed to reflect that. It’s hard to say how I feel about the narration because while it might have reflected the characters accurately, it had me feeling kind of blah for part of the time.
Overall, I would absolutely recommend the ebook and/or audio and I think there will be really interesting finds to come and hopefully a little more happiness for these characters as well.
8/10 Pots of Gold (80% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
RJ Scott | author of M/M romance | writing love stories with a happy ever after | cowboys, heroes, family, hockey | read more rjscott.co.uk
USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott has written over one hundred romance books. Emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, hockey players, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives, always with a happy ever after.
She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing. The last time she had a week’s break from writing, she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.
Email RJ firstname.lastname@example.org