Dana reviews Wayward (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 4) by Gregory Ashe (Published by Hodgkin and Blount, May 29, 2020, 427 pages. Audiobook released August 10, 2020. Narrated by Tristan James. 12 hours 28 minutes in length.) An audio code was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I listened to this: I am a fan of these characters from the previous series and this new series is providing a nail-biting mystery arc and some relationship struggles that have my stomach twisting up. (I wrote this for the last review, and the reason remains the same.)
To read the review of The Rational Faculty (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 1) click here.
To read the review of Police Brutality (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 2) click here.
To read the review of Transactional Dynamics (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 3) click here.
Emery Hazard is trying to plan his wedding, even though his fiancé, John-Henry Somerset, isn’t exactly making things easy for him. To be fair, Somers has been distracted lately; his father is running for mayor in a hotly contested election, and their hometown is splintering under the weight of divisive politics.
In a matter of hours, those poisonous politics invade Hazard’s life in a way he couldn’t have imagined. Glenn Somerset, Somers’s father, shows up on their doorstep, and he wants two things: first, for Hazard to neutralize a blackmail threat; and second, for Somers temporarily to move out of the house he shares with Hazard, part of public relations stunt to win the election. To Hazard’s shock, Somers agrees.
Determined to lose himself in his work, Hazard takes on a missing person’s case, but his investigation only leads him deeper into the tangled web of small-town politics. To find the truth, he must face off with the viciously rich who rule Wahredua — and with the poor, desperate, and marginalized, who fight just as viciously in their own way.
When Hazard’s investigation uncovers a murder, he is forced to work with Somers to bring the killer to justice, despite their fractured relationship. But the sudden news that Hazard’s father is failing fast threatens to put an untimely end to the case — and, in doing so, jeopardize Somers’s last-ditch effort to repair his relationship with his own father.
The killer, though, has an accelerating timeline, and in a world of wayward children, every relationship is fraught with hidden dangers.
Sometimes I wish I could write my reviews like a gossip column and just spill all the tea. Alas, I must keep some mystery in my review for this mystery.
Speaking of mysteries, I thought the one in this book was really good. Hazard technically has two clients in this book, and one of them is the sister of a girl who went missing. The missing girl appeared in one of the previous books as a somewhat violent protester. Though it was Hazard’s case, he worked with Somerset a lot, especially when the missing girl turned up dead. At first, I suspected the killer might be the sister because there seemed to be a little bit of resentment of how troublesome the missing girl was in general. Then I was sure I felt it was another character because of the tone he/she took when being questioned. I didn’t quite hit the nail on the head but do feel like I was a decent reader sleuth. I should mention that Somerset’s partner Dulac wasn’t very present in this book but things were learned about him that have my suspicions raised. I can’t prove anything yet but I am wary of him.
The second client of Hazard’s was Somerset’s father. Glen Somerset is running for mayor against the leader of the Brightlights movement. Brightlights have been pretty quiet of late, but with the election coming up soon, I expect we will hear from them soon. Glen is being blackmailed and needs Hazard to get incriminating evidence of his blackmailer so that he can even the playing field. Glen also calls on a favor owed to get John Henry Somerset to move out of the house he shares with Hazard, until the election. This re-starts the roller coaster ride of the highs and lows of Hazard and Somerset’s relationship. Just when they had some heart to heart discussions and seemed like they were going to try working through their problems, the tension was back.
For some couples, I fear and worry that they won’t somehow get back together. Hazard and Somerset seem to hurt each other so much. that sometimes with this couple, I start to feel like they should just walk away. They don’t. And I’m glad. What I really appreciate is that they do both know that they need to work things out and there is no fast forgiveness. When Hazard gets hurt, which he is when John Henry doesn’t fight his father’s demands at all, he lashes out. Hazard is always cognizant of the fact that he is acting like a real jerk, and that always makes me like him a little more because the only way you can correct yourself is if you admit that you are doing something wrong. Somerset doesn’t always do that. When in his perspective, he seems to gripe about Hazard and not realize his own mistakes. Or at least it seems that way, but in the end he does seem to know it and finds ways to apologize.
Both of these men have daddy issues and it is fully displayed in this book. Hazard’s father, who Hazard has very few good memories of, is dying and he visits his parents for the last days. Somerset’s reason for not fighting back with his father is that he is seeking the approval he probably had when he was the popular high school quarterback, if he ever had it at all.
With the mystery solved, and their relationship in repair, things seem like they will get better, though I am sure we will still have many problems in the path of a happy ending. The serial killer, who was pretty quiet in this book, looks to be coming back in a big way in the next book. I can’t wait for it to be out on audio because Tristan James narrates this series so well. I do recommend this book, and definitely recommend listening to or reading both series in order to get the maximum enjoyment.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
I’m a long-time Midwesterner. I’ve lived in Chicago, Bloomington (IN), and Saint Louis, my current home. Aside from reading and writing (which take up a lot of my time), I’m an educator.