Series: Borealis Investigations: Book Two
Author: Gregory Ashe
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 446 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Murder Mystery, Romantic Suspense
At a Glance: Gregory Ashe never takes the shortest distance between two points to get to the resolution of a story, and his readers benefit from it. He’s a proficient spinner and tangler of the webs he weaves, and 100% of the appeal is to go along and enjoy the ride.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: After a recent case with a treacherous client, North and Shaw are ready to go back to work building Borealis Investigations. They’re also ready to go back to dodging their feelings for each other, with neither man ready to deal with the powerful emotions the Matty Fennmore case stirred up. Everything is getting back to normal when their secretary asks for help: her girlfriend’s boss has gone missing.
Shep Collins runs a halfway house for LGBTQ kids and is a prominent figure in St. Louis’s gay community. When he disappears, however, dark truths begin to emerge about Shep’s past: his string of failed relationships, a problem with disappearing money, and his work, years before, as one of the foremost proponents of conversion therapy.
When Shep’s body turns up at the halfway house, the search for a missing person becomes the search for a murderer.
As North and Shaw probe for answers, they find that they are not the only ones who have come looking for the truth about Shep Collins. Their investigation puts them at odds with the police who are working the same case, and in that conflict, North and Shaw find threads leading back to the West End Slasher—the serial killer who almost took Shaw’s life in an alley seven years before. As the web of an ancient conspiracy comes to light, Shaw is driven to find answers, and North faces what might be his last chance to tell Shaw how he really feels.
Review: If you have one of those authors in your own personal lexicon who consistently delivers for you, who never, ever disappoints, then you’ll know exactly where Gregory Ashe sits on my list of favorites. This author delivers, time after time, and he does so with characters who may share certain similarities, but they are always unique to themselves. Ashe’s protagonists are not perfect specimens, are rarely okay, even—both Shaw and North are made of jagged edges and soft underbellies—and they are not miraculously made well with the magical power of love. They fall, long and deep and committedly, but rather than the love-fixes-all trope we see so frequently in the Romance genre, in the case of Ashe’s characters, the love is patient and supportive, because life is rarely simple or perfect. The mainstay of his brand of romance is that his characters resolve to love, come what may. And trust me when I say that something always comes.
Triangulation advances several plotlines within the whole of the trilogy: 1.) working to discover the identity of the Slasher, which is ongoing, and 2.) bringing North and Shaw closer to the reckoning of their eight-year-long slow burn yearning for each other, which is a hard-fought achievement through starts and stops, through mistakes and apologies, through internal (the self-recriminations are numerous) and external variables in each of their lives, but mostly they work through their denial of each other through talking around and over and under and through everything but the proverbial elephant in the room—until they can’t avoid it any longer. This serves to complicate rather than simplify things for a bit, however, and it’s the relationship elements in the series that further layer the tension and anxiety already present in the new murder investigation delivered to the Borealis Investigations doorstep.
A former advocate for gay conversion therapy now has a husband himself and runs an LGBTQ center for teens in St. Louis. When Shep Collins goes missing and then turns up dead, the juxtaposition of those conflicting realities and what it means to the people who work for him begins to take on a new complexion as more facts in the case come to light. Nothing in a Gregory Ashe murder mystery is as it appears on the surface; there is always substantial underlying evidence uncovered to complicate and twist the narrative and to sustain a steady surplus of danger, and that remains true to form here. In addition to the murder mystery encapsulated within this installment, we also get a little side hustle of a mystery to tag along on, and the Easter eggs which result from that are fabulous. The bottom line is that Ashe never takes the shortest distance between two points to get to the resolution of a story, and his readers benefit from it. He’s a proficient spinner and tangler of the webs he weaves, and 100% of the appeal is to go along and enjoy the ride.
Triangulation bridges Orientation, book one in the trilogy, to what will be the final installment, Declination, and it succeeds in fixing its position in the overall arc of the series. The supporting cast of characters, as always, is robust and leaves a mark, often impacting the story in useful ways, sometimes in disingenuous and calculating and artful ways. Dirty cops are always the dirtiest, and that seems to remain a theme here. Murder and corruption are hallmark qualities of the landscape of Ashe’s craft as is the dialogue and banter he uses so proficiently to tell the story, to build and delineate the character dynamics, and often to solve the crimes through a steady monologue of facts and conjecture until the stream of words lands on the truth.
Borealis Investigations is yet another top-notch mystery series from this author.
You can buy Triangulation here:
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