Dana and Erryn review Cascade Hunger ( The DuPage Parish Mysteries Book 2) by Gregory Ashe (Ebook published by Hodgkin and Blount, October, 29, 2021. 204 pages. Audio released December 23, 2021. Narrated by Declan Winters. Length: 8 hrs 4 minutes) An audiobook was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Eli and Dag survived a monster. Two monsters, in fact.
A year later, though, they’re still trying to settle into a regular life. Dag is working hard in school. It’s not going great. Eli is working hard at…being a better Eli. He’s eating right. Most of the time. He’s thinking about exercise in healthy ways. He’s okay with how he looks, as long as he doesn’t walk past any mirrors.
He goes out some nights, though. He goes across the lake, back to Bragg, where the monsters were. And he’s not sure why. He’s not sure what keeps calling him back. When a woman is brutally murdered and an eyewitness claims to have seen the killer transform into a mysterious light, Eli and Dag are forced to set aside their own problems and face a difficult truth: There is another monster out there. Worse, there doesn’t seem to be anybody else who can stop it from killing again.
But not all monsters are the same, as Eli and Dag discover. And the most dangerous monster might be the one who can give you what you’ve always wanted.
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I really enjoyed book one of this series and was excited to see where the story would take Eli and Dag next. This is the only series I’ve listened to by Gregory Ashe that incorporates the paranormal with mystery. Though I’ve only listened to his books, so I’m not sure if it’s the only series he writes this way. I have to say that I am enjoying the paranormal twist, a lot.
There is a different feel in this book with Dag and Eli being an established couple. They aren’t without problems, though. Eli is still unpredictable and harsh at times, preferring to lash out than confront his emotions. But I think he is better at recognizing when he does something wrong right away and apologizing. Dag is amazingly patient, but he won’t allow Eli to regress into self-harming behaviors. Dag and Eli also seem to be on their guard now after fighting off two paranormal creatures in the first book. Dag has another problem when his own ex comes back into the picture, wanting to get back together. It does seem to be a little bit chaotic for Dag in particular when he is also trying to study for school.
When a woman who Dag knew through his police work turns up dead, he and Eli are dragged into the mystery, even though Dag is not on duty anymore. A former victim of abuse, it is easy to believe her husband had something to do with it, but there are reports of “fireflies” at the scene of her death that seems awfully similar to the paranormal deaths that Eli and Dag saw in the first book. But patterns are not the same, and it looks like something new might have arrived to fill the gap left by the monsters that Eli and Dag killed. What I find unique and interesting about his series are the different types of “monsters” that the protagonists face. With the setting of New Orleans, and the bayou, it’s not your typical vampire or werewolf problem, but it might be a hashok, or a rougarou, or something else entirely. The legends of the mix of cultures in New Orleans are unique to the area, and it’s interesting what you might learn reading this series. That’s not to mention the fight going on between a voodoo woman and a demon hunter woman playing out on the sidelines of this story.
By the end of this story, another monster is defeated, and Dag and Eli seem to be on better footing. Eli comes to realize that Dag loves him for who he is, just as he is. It makes it easier for him to fight his own self-doubt and open up. I can’t tell if there will be more in this series, but I hope there will be. I find the two men to be interesting and I like seeing them work together to take out the unique monsters of New Orleans. I have to mention the narration, of course. I have only listened to Declan Winters on the previous book of this series, but I think he does a great job and I’d like to see him narrate more books in this genre.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
I enjoyed the first paranormal book in this series and so was interested to see where this book would go. I’m a huge Gregory Ashe fan. His couples are always quirky and interesting. Hazzard and Somerset, as well as North and Shaw, are two of my all-time fave gay couples. So I’ve nabbed every audiobook I could get a hold of. I’m not always a huge paranormal fan, but I wanted to see where this series would go.
The story was good. Another creature killing people. A mystery only Dag and Eli can solve. Plenty of suspicious behavior from various suspects, and an unexpected murder kept me guessing. On a personal level, I’m still struggling with Eli’s eating disorder. I can see it as part of the character arc and I’m really hoping it gets adequately resolved in the third book. I also felt bad for Dag as he struggled to balance school, Eli, and killing monsters. Oh, and his ex-boyfriend thrown in for good measure.
The location of the stories works as well – the bayou down near New Orleans. A place I’ve always been curious to visit. Anyway, I got a satisfactory ending, but I suspect there’s more and I’ll be eagerly awaiting it.
Finally, I’ll mention Declan Winters. I wasn’t familiar with the narrator before, but he’s just perfect for the role. Like I said, waiting for the next one.
8.5/10 Pots of Gold (85% Recommended) – Compares to 4.25/5 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.
While I enjoy reading across many genres, my two main loves are mystery and speculative fiction. I used to keep a list of favorite books, but it changes so frequently that I’ve given up. I’m always looking for recommendations, though, so please drop me a line if you have something in mind!
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