Title: The Same Breath
Series: The Lamb and the Lion: Book One
Author: Gregory Ashe
Length: 455 Pages
Category: Murder Mystery
At a Glance: The Same Breath has all the earmarks of what makes a Gregory Ashe novel a Gregory Ashe novel, and waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop between Tean and Jem becomes a study in anticipatory heartbreak, something with which his readers are all too familiar.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Teancum Leon, who goes by Tean, is a wildlife veterinarian. His life has settled into a holding pattern: he loves his job, he hates first dates, and he only occasionally has to deal with his neighbor Mrs. Wish’s cat-related disasters.
All of that changes, though, when a man appears in his office, asking for help to find his brother. Jem is convinced that something bad has happened to Benny, and he thinks Tean might be able to help. Tean isn’t sure, but he’s willing to try. After all, Jem is charming and sweet and surprisingly vulnerable. Oh. And hot.
Then things get strange: phone calls with no one on the other end of the line; surveillance footage that shows what might be an abduction; a truck that tries to run Tean and Jem off the road. As Tean and Jem investigate, they realize that Benny might have stumbled onto a conspiracy and that someone is willing to kill to keep the truth from coming out.
But not everything is as it seems, and Tean suspects that Jem has been keeping secrets of his own.
Review: When it comes to the expectations of a new Gregory Ashe novel, readers can rely on several things: 1) Someone is going to die; that’s just a given. 2) The ensuing investigation will exacerbate and escalate the danger. 3) The MCs will not be okay, at all, emotionally, though they’ll put up a plausible front—at least until they don’t. 4) The journey to some semblance of okay will be rife with tension, secrets will be kept, and mistakes will be made. 5) There will be a solid, often gut-punching reminder that humor isn’t always about laughter but about masking pain.
…and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together.
If you believe in the Law of Attraction, that like attracts like, I suppose it could be said that on some level Teancum Leon and Jem Berger were destined to find each other. Sure they couldn’t be more opposite, in a variety of ways, if they tried, but there is a symmetry to what they expect out of life—which, if we’re being honest, isn’t a hell of a lot. Their shared mantra is that people suck, and based on some of the people they encounter, they are not wrong. The ways their lives differ may be expansive, yet the ways in which they both hurt and have survived that hurt, and the compassion and empathy that builds between them, will eventually make them inevitable. Even if, for now, they’ve placed each other firmly in the friend zone.
The building tension of the investigation into Benny Guthall’s death draws Tean and Jem closer to the truth, and to the danger, and to each other as readers are drawn into the details of their lives, which Ashe delivers with a precision that is meant to build our affection for them, to build an emotional connection to and investment in what they have endured, and to allow us to assimilate the coping mechanisms they’ve developed for the sake of maintaining some semblance of an existence. As the investigation creates the opportunity for not only close proximity but a growing bond, and they allow themselves to become more vulnerable to each other, waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop becomes a study in anticipatory heartbreak, something with which Ashe’s readers are all too familiar.
As is always the case with the locations of Ashe’s novels, the setting of The Same Breath is integral to the story and to the composition of its characters, and, as always, Ashe delivers the details of, in this case Salt Lake City and the Utah landscape, in such a way that the place becomes a character itself. SLC informed Tean’s upbringing, in particular, and without the influences of his being raised Mormon, he might not only have been a completely different character, but this would have been an entirely different book. His religion plays a significant role in the way he sees himself, what he’s been willing to put up with in a relationship that has been nothing but toxic for him, and the instrumentality of his coping quirks, which is where some of that darker side of Ashe’s humor comes into play.
If you’ve enjoyed this author’s other works, I can’t imagine The Same Breath will disappoint in any single way. It has all the earmarks of what makes a Gregory Ashe novel a Gregory Ashe novel, all the way down to the interesting little facts and details that I didn’t even know I wanted to know until I read them.
You can buy The Same Breath here:
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2 thoughts on “Review: The Same Breath by Gregory Ashe”
am reading Hazard and Somerset at present, so looks like another series for me!!!
The second book comes out in November, so there’s time to catch up :) I can definitely confirm that The Same Breath is a lot less angsty than H&S. There’s still some angst (would it be a Gregory Ashe book if there wasn’t?!), but nothing close to what Emery and John-Henry put us through. Happy reading! :)