Title: Heat Trap
Series: The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries: Book Three
Author: JL Merrow
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 310 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: If you enjoy a good mystery/romance with quirky characters and humor, this series just might be what you are looking for. If you have already fallen in love in the prior books, this one won’t disappoint.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Old flames can leave a nasty burn.
It’s been six months since plumber Tom Paretski was hit by a shocking revelation about his family, and he’s been avoiding dealing with it ever since. His lover, PI Phil Morrison, wants Tom to dig deeper into his history and try to develop his psychic talent for finding things, but Tom’s not nearly so keen. Just as he decides to bite the bullet, though, worse problems crawl out of the woodwork.
Young Devil’s Dyke barmaid Marianne has an ex, Grant Carey, who won’t accept that things are over between them, and he’s ruthless in dealing with anyone who gets in his way. When Carey threatens an old friend of theirs, Phil and Tom step in to help—but that makes them targets themselves.
What with his uncertainty about Phil’s motives, Tom’s family doing their best to drive a wedge between them, and the uncovering of an ugly incident in Phil’s past, Tom’s not sure who he can trust—and the body he finds in the pub cellar isn’t the only thing that stinks.
Publisher’s note: This is lightly edited reprint of a previously published novel.
Review: I have had the great joy or reviewing the first two books in the Plumber’s Mate series, Pressure Head and Relief Valve, and was so excited to continue on my journey with Tom and Phil as well as their extended family and friends. I have made it pretty clear in prior reviews that I adore Tom, and that didn’t change one little bit in this next installment. His dry wit, the banter, the places his mind goes even when faced with adversity—I want a Tom in my life.
I have also mentioned my weeble-wobbling when it comes to Phil. I like Phil but he frustrates me. He is an enigma in a lot of ways. Even though it’s exasperating, Phil’s more reserved and mysterious personality creates a delightful and delicious tension for the romantic portion of the plot. In Heat Trap I found myself more on Team Phil, though it’s subtle (I mean, he didn’t do a one-eighty or anything). There are changes in his behavior, and I am starting to fall under his spell as some of his layers are peeled back just slightly enough to catch glimpses to his heart. Tom and Phil’s progression as a couple becomes more solid and really did it for me here.
Though there was another mystery to solve which leads to some pretty bizarre and even creepy situations, it wasn’t quite up to the level of the first two books. It was a little easier for me to figure it out and the resolution was expected for me. Even so, I still had a blast reading as Tom and Phil stumble along uncovering clues, but it wasn’t quite as complex and didn’t have me scratching my head while parsing out the clues.
Fitting with the prior installments the secondary characters are realized and add just the right amount of humor, perspective and realism. Gary and Tom’s relationship is one of my favorites to read. Because of how they communicate and love each other for all their oddities, their friendship is tangible and just plain believable; it remains consistent and strong as ever. The familial relationships really got to me in this one. After the way the last book ended, I expected there to be some hard times a’comin, and I wasn’t wrong. There were some interesting dynamics and feelings explored, some uncomfortable conversations had, and a lot more questions. I really appreciated the evolution and changes in Cherry and Tom’s relationship. It was understated, but I was able to see her various sides and their complex bond, which had intrigued me already. There had been evident love between the two, but there was also distance and apparent indifference, creating a complicated relationship. When some truth bombs are dropped, and answers start surfacing, it all starts to make more sense and, in turn, some of that remoteness is removed, changing and strengthening their sibling-bond.
I love this series and this is a great addition. If you haven’t read the prior books and enjoy a good mystery/romance with quirky characters and packed with humor, I recommend getting Pressure Head and starting it right away. If you have already fallen in love with the wonderful world and eccentric characters, like me, my guess is you are going to love this one, too.
You can buy Heat Trap here:
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