Erryn reviews ‘Conspiracy Theory (Hamarsson and Dempsey Book 1’ by Elle Keaton. The book was published by Dirty Dog Press on October 4, 2019 and is 247 pages. The audiobook was narrated by Michael Dean. It was released November 18, 2019 and is 6hrs and 42mins.
NOTE: This book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read: I love a good mystery and adore Michael Dean.
Years of grueling police work have left Niall Hamarsson jaded and disillusioned with life…although it’s likely he’s been that way all along. The last straw lands when the DA refuses to try a case Niall worked for years to bring to justice. Within hours he finds himself heading to the only place he’s ever been able to call home – a place he knows he doesn’t belong.
Mat Dempsey returned to Piedras Island after his father’s death. These days he’s Island County’s sheriff. He’s happy enough, even if moving home from San Francisco effectively forced him back into the closet. Mat’s well-ordered universe collapses when a local’s body is discovered floating in the cold waters of Hidden Harbor’s marina. All hell breaks loose in the community, and accusations fly…all coinciding with Niall Hamarsson’s return.
Niall and Mat have a history, and it’s not one Mat’s proud of. He owes Niall an apology, even if it means getting down on his knees. However, Mat’s first priority is investigating the murder before his community tears itself apart and he may have to ask the aloof Niall Hamarsson for help.
Push apart, pull together, yes or no…The chemistry crackles between them but will the two men be able to put aside their pasts and embrace a future?
Niall Hamarsson is a hardened cop with a reputation of being, frankly, unsocial. He does his job and he’s good at it. When he can’t get the District Attorney to prosecute a man he knows is guilty, he walks away from his life. He returns to Pietras, an island off of the Washington coast. He hasn’t been home in ten years and although his grandparent’s home is currently inhabitable, he plans to fix it up and perhaps even call the island home again. His memories of his grandparents is good. The rest of the island? Yeah, not so much.
Matt Dempsey is the sheriff on Pietras. He took over the post not long after his beloved father’s death. He left his job as a cop in San Francisco and came home to take care of his mom and watch out over the population of his favorite place in the world. And until Niall Hamarsson shows up, things have been pretty quiet. Now, all of a sudden, weird things are happening on the island, including the death of a young woman. Niall’s arrival may be coincidence but Matt has to look at all angles. When Niall is the victim of a crime, the two men reluctantly partner up to figure out exactly what is happening.
Neither man particularly trusts the other. Matt’s heard the rumors of Niall’s formative years before he came to the island and he was one of the many young boys who bullied Niall when he first arrived. Matt’s ashamed of what he did in the past and is, after a bit, willing to give Niall the benefit of the doubt. As the strange events continue, though, things become desperate.
I’ve always wondered what I would do if facing some of the bullies who went after me when I was younger. Girls can be vicious in their attacks, mostly verbal. I hoped Niall would be able to put the past behind him, but would have understood if he held on to a bit of the resentment.
This book has a strong mystery at its core. Something I followed avidly, wondering where it would go next. On top of it all, Matt is firmly in the closet and Niall has lived out and proud for years. He’s definitely not going back in the closet. Right? This book has an ambiguous happy for now ending that leaves itself wide open for the next book which I’m waiting for with anticipation. Part of me wonders what will bring the two men together. I mean, how much crime can there be on Pietras? Well, more than I would’ve thought, anyway.
Michael Dean (formerly Michael Pauley) is a brilliant narrator. Over and over he delivers solid performances and this one was no exception. I enjoyed this book immensely and can’t wait for the next one.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Author/imaginator & photographer (also rare Pacific Northwest Native), Elle grew up in Seattle, WA., with the Cascade Mountain range to the east and Olympics to the west.
Elle shares her life with between three to five cats (depending on who’s counting), an extremely patient fiancé and a flock of young adults. She’s lived in four US states, London England, and Hong Kong; always knows what time it is, and has little problem finding parking even in the most difficult places.
Elle’s series made its debut spring of 2017. Accidental Roots, is set in the Skagit Valley of Western Washington. Writing has always been a passion but not something she was able to take seriously until recently, some journeys are longer than others. Now her head is full of ideas and not enough time in each day. As far as we know she wasn’t actually raised by wolves.