Erryn reviews The Rational Faculty (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 1) by Gregory Ashe (Published by Hodgkin and Blount, November 28, 2019. 397 pages. Audiobook released Jan 14, 2020. Narrated by Tristan James. 11 hours 18 minutes in length.)
Why I listened to this: I love the Borealis series and so wanted to try out this one.
Three months have passed since Emery Hazard and John-Henry Somerset faced a madman and lived to tell about it. Three months have passed since Emery Hazard resigned from his job as a detective. Three months can be too long and too short, all at the same time.
On Halloween, a professor at the local college is murdered in his apartment, in front of dozens of witnesses. Then, the killer disappears. Somers is assigned the case and a new partner. While Somers investigates the murder, Hazard struggles to find purpose in his new freedom. Despite his decision to stay away, he finds himself drawn to the case. But he’s no longer in the police force, and in the small town of Wahredua, not all of his former colleagues are happy to see him investigating another crime.
When the sheriff’s son and husband go missing, though, the case becomes more complicated than either Hazard or Somers had expected. And soon, they learn that someone else is manipulating events in Wahredua. Someone who is very interested in Emery Hazard.
See Dana’s review of the audio here.
I started this series at book 2 then did 4 and 5 and am now circling back to 1. Do I recommend the series be read in order? Yes. Can you dive in and enjoy yourself? Also, yes. This series is also a spin-off from a previous one and I haven’t listened to those – but I have plans.
So, on to the actual story. Hazard and Somerset were partners in the Wahredua police department. Hazard left and is at loose ends while Somerset continues on the job, but now with a new partner. Somerset isn’t sold on Gray Dulac, but he’s at least willing to give the younger man a chance. Hazard isn’t pleased at all – he misses his time with Somerset. And now he’s at home with time on his hands. He’s trying to be a good house husband, but it’s tough. The men share custody of their three-year-old daughter with Somerset’s ex-wife and Hazard is protective of the little girl. And of the family they’ve made.
A murder of a college professor brings out many different characters – most of whom hated the man – and a few who wished him ill. Somerset and Dulac are officially on the case while Hazard is hired by a third party to solve the mystery. Then the sheriff’s son and his husband go missing and Hazard’s hands are full. Then there’s the utility sink that needs repair. The symbol of what isn’t working in the Hazard/Somerset relationship.
There are plenty of twists and turns in this book. As the mystery unfolds and the professor’s murder is solved, things shift to the missing men. That resolution will propel the next few books.
I like being challenged as a reader. I don’t read many thrillers, but I’m so glad I’ve picked up this series. I also like the dynamic duo of Hazard and Somerset, although sometimes their treatment of each other made me uncomfortable. But then, life isn’t all chocolates and roses.
Finally, I’ll mention Tristan James. I love his narration style and he nails the two men as well as the myriad of other characters in the series. I look forward to moving on to the next review.
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.
To read Dana’s review of The Rational Faculty (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 1) click here.
To read Dana’s review of Police Brutality (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 2) click here.
To read Dana’s review of Transactional Dynamics (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 3) click here.
To read Dana’s review of Wayward (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 4) click here.
To read Dana’s review of The Keeper of Bees (Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords Book 5) click here.