Friday, 31 December 2010

DIK Challenge - Death of a Pirate King by Josh Lanyon

So we come to my final review of the year - just squeezing in there. It's the fourth in the Adrien English series by Josh Lanyon - Death of a Pirate King. Two years have passed since the end of The Hell You Say. Adrien hasn't seen Jake, (though Jake has seen Adrien) and he is now involved in a relationship with Guy Snowden. Adrien's first book has been optioned for a movie and during a Hollywood party one of the guests is murdered. Adrien's life being what it is, of course Jake is one of the police officers called to the scene. And when producer Paul Kane asks Adrien to unofficially look into the case, Adrien finds he cannot refuse, even if it means being thrown back into proximity with Jake...

I now have to reorder my favourite Adrien English books. This still doesn't top A Dangerous Thing for me, which remains my favourite book of the series. But I think this comes in a close second. (Followed by Fatal Shadows and then The Hell You Say).

Adrien - his usual sarky, snippy self (I love how the opening paragraph gets you straight back into Adrien's head) - is a little more petulant in this one. Possibly because he's recovering from pneumonia and his heart is causing him more trouble than usual. I think on a re-read you'd definitely pick up on what's being said between the lines when Jake and Adrien are talking. In some cases it felt like Jake was saying one thing and Adrien was hearing what he wanted to hear. But considering how they left things two years ago, you can't really blame Adrien for the assumptions he's making.

Two years have passed and I think Jake has changed (I am kind of rooting for him, I know not everybody does). For instance he does say this (one of my favourite lines)
"Listen, I know you think I'm an asshole - I am an asshole..."
And I don't think he would have said that before.

Previously I think they had great chemistry but were not at the right places in their lives to meet up relationship-wise. Now although things have obviously changed in Jake's life, Adrien is not at the right place, I don't think he's forgiven Jake for what he did. He still thinks he's dealing with the 'old' Jake.
I wasn't in the mood for chitchat - and I didn't remember it being Jake's style either. At this rate he'd be asking about my mother and I'd bounce my juice glass off his head.
I think because of the way Paul Kane manipulates Adrien, he is more susceptible to making assumptions. Jake is in a way to blame as well because he chooses not to explain himself. Which is his right, he and Adrien aren't together, but I think if you hadn't read the previous three books it may leave you a little frustrated thinking - just talk to each other. Whereas being aware of their previous history you know where the attitudes are coming from.

I love how the Adrien's relationships with his now extended family are developing, and especially like the newest member of the group - the Book Store cat. (And Adrien's impromptu Dr. Seuss impression).

I thought towards the end, we slipped a little towards melodrama. But hey, a little melodrama never hurt anyone. And I think at the end the stakes needed to be raised really high. One of my favourite endings to a story this year. Kind of cliffhangery but also perfect.


Jenre said...

Great review, Lesley and I think you sum up perfectly how the dynamics have changed in the relationship from THYS.

This is my favourite book of the series, not just because of the way Jake's character develops but also because I loved the character of Paul Kane in all his manipulative glory. I don't think I've enjoyed such a good villainous character in m/m romance before or since.

I shall look forward to your review of The Dark Tide :).

LesleyW said...

Jenre - thanks. :) I'm pretty sure The Dark Tide will be one of my first books of 2011.