Dana reviews They Told Me I was Everything (The First Quarto Book 1) by Gregory Ashe. (Published by Hodgkin and Blount on December 16, 2020. Audio length 9 hrs 53 mins. Narrated by J.F. Harding. Ebook released October 13, 2020. 373 pages.) An audio code was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Auggie is starting his first year at Wroxall College. It’s a punishment, and he’s determined to make his way through the year, prove himself, and earn the right to go back home.
Theo is a grad student recovering from a terrible car accident. He’s lost his husband and their daughter, and he’s trying to figure out how to keep going.
When both are tangled up in a murder, though, they have to set their personal problems aside and work together — first to clear their names, and then, when the killer turns his attention on them, to survive.
But what might really kill them is finishing a seminar together on King Lear.
I am a big fan of this author and his Hazard and Somerset series. This series takes place in the same universe, meaning that it is the same town and the main character attends college at the local university the two detectives spent a lot of time at. The First Quatro series seems to take place a few years before Hazard returned to town and a young officer Somerset visits Auggie at one point to question him. I love the tie-in, but on the whole the story is very different.
Auggie is a young college student looking to get famous through Social Media. He tries to keep a squeaky clean personality, but Auggie has a slightly self-destructive side that has him driving while intoxicated with a young man who is about to be murdered. His joy ride is cut short when he nearly runs into Theo who has his own self-destructive tendencies. Both of these characters are imperfect which makes them pretty relatable.
After the accident, the mystery man with Auggie runs away and isn’t heard from again. But a mysterious social media post seems to suggesting that Auggie and Theo are connected to a murder. The two men work together, mostly, to try and figure out who posted the video and what they are trying to gain from it. A corrupt officer who makes appearances in the other series threatens them unless they can find a thumb drive that the guy had apparently been carrying the night of their run-in.
The mystery in this story is really good, though it’s not particularly urgent. The two characters spend weeks in between incidents with the dirty cop. And though the killer isn’t obvious in any way, it isn’t shocking when it’s revealed. In a way, it seems like the mystery is filler as the two characters deal with their personal issues, and reconsider what they want from life. This also goes for the romance. A Gregory Ashe series usually contains a slow burn romance for the main characters. With Auggie being a former student, and Theo being a dad to a child with special health needs, there is no urgency in their romance. There is chemistry, but I suspect that they won’t be getting together until later in the series.
J.F. Harding is a really good narrator and I thought he did a great job with the audio for this book. I definitely recommend this audiobook. Since it takes place before the Hazard and Somerset series, you don’t have to read those books to appreciate this one, but if you already have read it, you will like seeing the cameos.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 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.