Series: Borealis Investigations: Book One
Author: Gregory Ashe
Narrator: Charlie David
Run Time: 11 hours and 26 minutes
At a Glance: Bottom line? Orientation is a thrilling start to what is sure to be a fantastic series. I love Ashe’s writing style. I adore North and Shaw. And, Charlie David is more than up to the task of delivering an excellent and engaging performance.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Shaw and North are best friends, private detectives, and in danger of losing their agency. A single bad case, followed by crippling lawsuits, has put them on the brink of closing shop. Until, that is, a client walks into their Benton Park office.
Matty Fennmore is young, blond, and beautiful, and he’s in danger. When he asks for Shaw and North’s help foiling a blackmail scheme, the detectives are quick to accept.
The conspiracy surrounding Matty runs deeper than Shaw and North expect. As they dig into the identity of Matty’s blackmailer, they are caught in a web that touches politicians, the local LGBT community, and the city’s police.
An attack on Matty drives home the rising stakes of the case, and Shaw and North must race to find the blackmailer before he can silence Matty. But a budding romance lays bare long-buried feelings between Shaw and North, and as their relationship splinters, solving the case may come at the cost of their friendship.
Review: Welp, I’ve just finished my first Gregory Ashe book, and I have two things to say…First, to all the readers who have been shouting from the rooftops about North and Shaw—the main characters in Orientation—and for even longer about Hazard and Somerset: I get it. I totally get it. And, second, to the author: Why so mean, huh? Why do you want to hurt these guys? And hurt my feels in the process. Hmph. *crosses arms indignantly* But, seriously, the crazy thing is, he trampled my tender little heart, and I wanted to thank him for it! How messed up is that?! I couldn’t get enough of it. Well played, Mr. Ashe. 😉 AND, I immediately signed up for further torture by right away starting Triangulation, the second book in the series.
First things first, though…Orientation. This first book in Ashe’s Borealis Investigations series was released last May (you can read Lisa’s amazing, comprehensive review of the story here), but I had the pleasure of listening to the audiobook, which was released just a few months ago, and narrated by the ultra-talented Charlie David. It took me a few chapters to fall in with David’s style. He’s clearly an excellent performer—he’s got a ton of narrating experience and has done some acting as well—but he has a certain gravitas that, while excellent for a series like this, also takes some getting used to. His delivery is intense, even in moments that are meant to be a bit more lighthearted, like North and Shaw messing with people with their ridiculous banter for example, but boy does he deliver when that emotional intensity or that little extra edge is called for. There were more than a few scenes where I got chills, both from the writing and from David’s delivery.
Ashe is an incredible storyteller. He presents these two somewhat lost, dysfunctional, traumatized best friends, and gets the reader to instantly fall in love with them. I immediately cared about them both, and willingly rode the rollercoaster as the nature of their relationship, which is in flux throughout the book, revealed itself. It’s clear from page one really, that North and Shaw are in love with each other, though that fact is decidedly not clear to either one of them. But, they both have much to work through before anything real can come of their feelings. Shaw is still dealing with the death of his first boyfriend and the trauma of his own injuries after they were attacked seven years ago; and North is…well, married. As I said, much to work through. Ashe also does an excellent job plotting both the blackmail mystery that is the main story arc in this book, and what is revealed at the end to be the larger arc that will presumably run through the series.
Bottom line? Orientation is a thrilling start to what is sure to be a fantastic series. I love Ashe’s writing style. I adore North and Shaw. And, Charlie David is more than up to the task of delivering an excellent and engaging performance. I can’t wait to dig in to Triangulation!
You can buy Orientation here:
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