Dana and Erryn review Codirection (Borealis: Without a Compass Book 4) by Gregory Ashe (This book was released on August 17, 2021, and is 335 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Charlie David. It was released on February 17, 2022, and is 11 hrs and 19 mins long.) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
To read the review of Indirection (Borealis: Without a Compass Book 1) click here.
To read the review of Misdirection (Borealis: Without a Compass Book 2) click here.
To read the review of Redirection (Borealis: Without a Compass Book 3) click here.
They killed a girl to keep their secrets. They won’t stop there.
A new home, a fresh start, a chance to do things right this time – and Shaw and North are determined to make it work. But the night of their housewarming party, things don’t go as planned. A reporter arrives, wanting to talk to North about his ex-husband, his father, and a criminal syndicate. No sooner have they gotten rid of her than another unwanted guest appears: a street boy named Nik, whom Shaw met months before, begging them to help him find his missing friend, Malorie.
Retracing Malorie’s steps, North and Shaw learn about the dangerous demimonde of runaway teenagers. Their investigation takes them into the path of men and women who have learned to profit off the suffering and abandonment of children: shelters, clinics, labor brokers, and pimps.
Meanwhile, North’s Uncle Ronnie is set on revenge, and his target this time is North’s father. As North struggles to track down Ronnie and put an end to the danger, he finds himself considering a deal with the devil, and the offer might be too good to pass up.
When North and Shaw find Malorie’s body, evidence suggests she was murdered – and that her death is connected in some way with a truck stop halfway across the state. But as they draw closer to the truth, the danger grows. The people who killed Malorie have the Borealis detectives in their sights, and North and Shaw must race to save their own lives before the killers can strike again.
Codirection (noun) – direction by two or more people working together
Shaw’s note – like that time North was trying to drive the golf cart on campus and then I tried to drive the golf cart because he was doing a terrible job and he hit the gas and I hit the brake and then we weren’t in the golf cart anymore.
North’s elucidation – I broke my aviators, thank you very much and I was doing perfectly fine driving the golf cart. Shaw grabbed the wheel because he wanted to see if Howie Gallagher had a stiffy or just really solid pleats.
Shaw’s correction – Actually, we both wanted to see if Howie had a stiffy because Howie had this spiky hair kind of like if Pikachu had a special adult relationship with a hedgehog and one time, after I watched Lord of the Rings, I had a dream where he was washing my elbows with water from a silver ewer. Oh, and he had great chi.
North’s gloss: From Shaw speak – he was hot as Fuck.
Erryn’s note – hang on, it’s going to be a ride to remember
I have loved North and Shaw from the first moment I met them. They’re quirky, they’re fun, they’re a little nuts. Their on-going antics have brought me great joy (and a little sorrow, because, hello, that break-up was epic). Now they’re together in their new house making a life for themselves. Only there are a few glitches. Like North wants to get married and Shaw doesn’t. Like the business they run isn’t always smooth sailing because of Shaw’s aversion to paperwork. Like Uncle Ronnie, North’s dad, and a bunch of other people don’t want them to succeed.
The reporter who comes sniffing around isn’t a good sign either.
Then a young man Shaw met some time ago shows up needing help. The young man, Nik, has a friend Malorie, who’s gone missing. He wants Shaw and North to find her. Iffy proposition given the girl’s a runaway who sometimes bunks down in a shelter of dubious quality and who apparently had a stash of money with no clear explanation of where it came from.
Finding Malorie is just the beginning of an investigation that leads them down a dark path to some pretty horrific people. Good mystery, disturbing story.
Everything gets resolved and still Uncle Ronnie is out there. I’ve wanted him to get his comeuppance for everything he’s put Shaw and North through. I may or may not have gotten my wish. If I did, that would tie up the series nicely. Part of me is sad and part of me wants this couple to get their forever happy ending. But this is Gregory Ashe and he can never quite let his characters go. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more to come…
And what can I say about Charlie David? He’s a brilliant narrator who hits all the right notes bringing the humor to a very dark story. I can listen to him all day long. He and Gregory are magic together and I hope there are more collaborations to come.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
There was a lot of action at the end of the last book, Redirection. It had me on the edge of my seat and I could almost feel my own adrenaline pumping along with the characters. There was also a reunion for North and Shaw. Sure they still saw each other at work and were acting like friends with benefits, but their romance, their emotional relationship was repaired and I thought, “Well at least they have each other, now.” I knew they were going to need each other after the threats that came from “Uncle” Ronnie and the damage Tucker did to them.
Snarking at each other and exaggerating/making up faults that the other has is the usual for North and Shaw. Even though their relationship is back on track, this doesn’t change, but I felt a solidness between them that was new. Maybe I was imagining it after what they had been through, but I don’t see them breaking up again. They don’t seem to be hurting each other as much, knowing what is an appropriate joke or not. The title of the book Codirection, direction by two or more people working together, is so fitting for the two of them, since they seem to be more in sync than ever.
On to the mystery… When a teen boy asks North and Shaw to find a friend of his that went missing, Shaw wants to help him, and North reluctantly gets pulled along. Nik and his friend, Malorie, are teenagers living on the street, who often see each other at the same shelter. Malorie left to go to a doctors appointment and never came back. What unfolds is a very sad picture of teenage homelessness. There are several people who seem capable of having something to do with Malorie’s absence. Even the ones not involved are guilty of having taken advantage of the teens in need. It is disgusting and sad, and slightly confusing. I wasn’t completely lost, but there was so much uncertainty I couldn’t guess who the real culprit was, and I don’t know if North and Shaw did until own lives were in danger.
Not to fear, the people responsible for her disappearance and murder are exposed and North and Shaw make it through unscathed. There are also a many number of problems they are dealing with in the aftermath of the last book, so it doesn’t seem like they really have time to relax. North’s ex, Tucker is still causing trouble, even from his jail cell. North’s fatally ill dad is arrested and attacked in jail, and the person behind it seems to be his dad’s old friend Ronnie. Ronnie has been a problem throughout this spin-off series and North can no longer let him keep threatening his and Shaw’s safety as well as the safety of his dad. A threatening meeting ends in a way that no one will suspect.
I can’t reveal anything else, but this story is definitely worth reading, or listening to. Charlie David does a great job voicing these characters. I feel like he embodies them so well, especially Shaw. If you haven’t checked out this series yet, I do recommend starting from the beginning, the mysteries are individual to the book, but the relationship drama needs to be experienced in order. Bonus: If you are a fan of the author’s other series featuring Hazard and Somerset, there is an exciting cameo as well.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold (90% 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.
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!
My big goal right now is one day to be responsible enough to get a dog.