Title: Footsteps in the Dark
Authors: LB Gregg, Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon, Dal MacLean, Z.A. Maxfield, Meg Perry, C.S. Poe, S.C. Wynne
Publisher: JustJoshin Publishing
Length: 929 Pages
Category: Mystery, Romance
At a Glance: There is a whole lotta awesome packed into these eight stories. It’s an incredible gathering of talent that is not to be missed!
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: The snick of a lock. The squeak of door hinges. The creak of a floorboard. Are those approaching steps that of a lover or an enemy?
Entrée to Murder. After a steady diet of big city trouble, Chef Drew Allison moved to the island town of Orca’s Slough to get a taste of life in the slow lane. But hometown hospitality goes stale when he finds a dead body in the basement of his own Eelgrass Café.
Lights, Camera, Murder. When PI Rory Byrne goes undercover on the set of a historical drama to find a stolen script, the last thing he anticipates is falling for handsome, talented, and out-and-proud lead actor Marion Roosevelt—or to find himself in the middle of a murder investigation.
Twelve Seconds. A mysterious phone call, a missing executive, and an exploding rocket throw space reporter Justin Harris and Air Force Special Agent Greg Marcotte into an investigation that will change their lives…if it doesn’t kill them first.
Blind Man’s Buff. A game of Capture the Flag turns deadly inside an abandoned shopping mall when Tommy and Jonah stumble into a homicidal maniac’s hunting grounds.
A Country for Old Men. Inspector Calum Macleod has returned to the Western Isles of Scotland to bury a part of himself he can’t accept. But the island has old secrets of its own. When a murderer strikes, Calum finds his past can’t be so easily escaped.
Reality Bites. Detective Cabot Decker is called to the set of hot-shot TV producer Jax Thornburn’s reality-TV show after a contestant is mauled to death by a tiger. Is someone trying to ax Jax’s career—or Jax himself?
Pepper the Crime Lab. When Lonnie Boudreaux’s neighbor is murdered, he must foster the man’s dog, befriend a mysterious former cop, and stop the killer—or else!
Stranger in the House. Miles Tuesday’s memories of Montreal are happy ones, but now that he has inherited the house at 9 Braeside, everything feels different. Was Madame Martel’s fatal fall really an accident?
Review: Run, don’t walk, to buy this anthology! This thing is $3.99 right now, guys, and worth every penny and much more. Footsteps in the Dark is a fantastic collection put together by Josh Lanyon and including eight amazing stories by Lanyon, Nicole Kimberling, Meg Perry, S.C. Wynne, L.B. Gregg, Dal Maclean, Z.A. Maxfield, and C.S. Poe. Three of the authors I had not read before (Perry, Wynne, and Maclean), and am now wondering how the hell I’ve gone this long without enjoying their work! And the others turned out stories every bit as brilliant and/or entertaining as other things I’ve read from them. The collection as a whole is diverse, well-written, intriguing, fun, and sexy. I had some favorites, sure, but enjoyed every single novella for what it brought to the group. There are a couple of stories with chefs and a couple of stories set in the world of celebrity and entertainment, and of course, there are some cops and PIs—these are mysteries, after all—but every story is unique, and each author brought their special touch.
Perhaps the thing I was most excited to learn when I read Lanyon’s introduction at the front of the anthology, was that the first three stories are introducing brand new series from those authors. Kimberling’s Entrée to Murder starts things off on such a high note. I adored everything about this story. It was smart, sexy, and funny, and I totally fell for Drew and Mac. I LOVED that Mac was such a foodie, and how exasperated he constantly got with Drew. The supporting cast was fun, and I loved the small-town vibe. And, Kimberling kept me guessing who the killer was pretty much until the end!
Next, we have Twelve Seconds by Meg Perry. This was one of my favorites of the bunch. I loved that it was dual POV. It was so sweet, on top of being a fantastic mystery. I loved Greg and Justin together, and the premise was so, so cool and original. I can’t wait to see how the series lays out!
And finally, S.C. Wynne introduces us to Detective Cabot Decker and producer Jax Thornburn in Reality Bites. Decker meets Jax while investigating a grisly death on the set of his reality show and is surprised at how approachable he is. I fell for both the characters and Wynne’s writing style. Her talent for writing an action-packed story with great banter as well as characters with good chemistry was definitely showcased here.
The next group of stories includes offerings from L.B. Gregg and Z.A. Maxfield, two veterans in the genre, and one from Dal Maclean, whose debut novel, Bitter Legacy, was a Lambda Literary finalist for best Gay Mystery in 2017. So, she clearly also knows her way around writing mystery and suspense. 😉 Maclean’s A Country for Old Men was probably my favorite in the anthology. There were just a million things to love. The setting, the mystery, the historical elements…I was completely enthralled from beginning to end. Maclean’s use of language is stunning, and her masterful execution of weaving together the mystery—and in this case, there was actually a mystery within the mystery—alongside Calum and Adam’s story, was awe-inspiring. My favorite scene in the entire anthology is in the final chapter of this story, and reading it again just now made me want more all over again. I’m so glad this was the book that introduced me to this wonderful author. I’ll be diving into her other books ASAP.
Blind Man’s Bluff by L.B. Gregg was fun, though it took me a bit to get into it for some reason. I enjoyed the premise and all the gamer speak. I liked the idea of this group of friends getting together to play elaborate games of Capture the Flag, paintball, etc., and I loved the way Gregg laid the story out with Run, Hide, and Fight as the chapter headings. But I do think it could have benefited from a bit more character development and been fleshed out a little more. I will say that it ended on a strong note, however! The final chapter was super exciting, and I liked how everything wrapped up with Jonah and Tommy.
Z.A. Maxfield’s Pepper the Crime Lab was also a fun read. It was maybe a tad predictable—I knew whodunit right from the start—but enjoyable all the same. I liked both Lonnie and Rick and thought it was cool that they had a previous connection, and I especially liked Lonnie’s growth over the course of the story. And, I really loved Pepper and Chancho! But, who doesn’t love dogs in books, right?
The final two stories in the collection are Lights. Camera. Murder by C.S. Poe, and Stranger in the House by Josh Lanyon. While Poe is maybe mainly known for her Snow & Winter series, this is actually the first mystery of hers I’ve personally read. Having really loved her contemporaries, I was super excited to read this one, and I’m happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The premise was original, the mystery was great, and I loved Rory and Marion together. Poe’s signature style and humor made it a fast, entertaining read, and an excellent addition to the group! And, rounding things out we have Lanyon’s Stranger in the House. This one was spooky and suspenseful and gooorgeously written. I adored Miles, and Lanyon’s beautiful descriptions of literally everything made me want to hop on a plane to Montreal. Also, my other favorite scene in the anthology is an unexpected scene toward the end of this story that totally made me gasp out loud and gave me goosebumps. Lanyon expertly delivered the moment, and I didn’t even see it coming. So good!
There is a whole lotta awesome packed into these eight stories. It’s an incredible gathering of talent that is not to be missed! I’ll be reading a few of these stories again, and checking out some backlists in the very near future as well. But, like I said at the beginning, don’t wait on this one, guys. Read it all at once, or spread the stories out and read them over a longer stretch…but, definitely go grab it up!
You can buy Footsteps in the Dark here:
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