Title: The Told Me I Was Everything
Series: The First Quarto: Book One
Author: Gregory Ashe
Length: 373 Pages
At a Glance: The tension, as always, is top tier, and the mystery is fraught with danger, as many of this author’s readers have come to expect. The end also leaves readers anticipating how things will resolve between Theo and Auggie—will they or won’t they?—which is the very definition of the romantic suspense we’ve come to know and love and anticipate from this author.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Auggie is starting his first year at Wroxall College. It’s a punishment, and he’s determined to make his way through the year, prove himself, and earn the right to go back home.
Theo is a grad student recovering from a terrible car accident. He’s lost his husband and their daughter, and he’s trying to figure out how to keep going.
When both are tangled up in a murder, though, they have to set their personal problems aside and work together—first to clear their names, and then, when the killer turns his attention on them, to survive.
But what might really kill them is finishing a seminar together on King Lear.
Review: “We all want people to tell us we’re special, that we’re important, that we’re everything. But that kind of attention has consequences.”
Auggie Lopez is an internet star. He’s crafted a persona that feeds the dopamine high some people crave from social media “likes” and the attention they get from tens of thousands of strangers who feed it with their praise in comments on his carefully filtered photos and creatively staged videos. But that’s not the real Auggie. The real Auggie isn’t the straight guy his followers think he is. His ex-girlfriend has built a brand and a business out of trashing Auggie on her own social media platform, something he’s having a hard time mitigating. Auggie also has an incident in his past that he’s trying to distance himself from, which is how he ended up at a college nearly two thousand miles from home…where his life has gone ass over tea kettle in the space of a moment, thanks to a single bad decision.
“you just saw a murder.”
To say that grad student and teacher’s assistant Theo Stratford is in a bad way would be an enormous understatement. His entire life imploded in the blink of an eye, leaving him with physical injuries from which he’s still recovering, and psychological and emotional scars with which he’s still struggling. The way he and Auggie meet is as inauspicious an occasion as one could imagine. The way their lives become intertwined is the absolute stuff of a Gregory Ashe novel.
They Told Me I Was Everything is book one of a duology that is Hazard & Somerset adjacent, in that the story takes place at Wroxall College in Wahredua, Missouri, though years before Emery Hazard left St. Louis to return to his hometown, and to the man he’d eventually commit to spending the rest of his life with. John-Henry Somerset is a newly minted detective on the force, and his fellow detective Albert Lender—if you’ve read the series, you’ll recall where he ended up—figures prominently in the dirty business going down when Auggie and Theo are implicated in a murder.
As they work together to figure out the murder victim, Robert Poulson’s, true identity, who the killer (or killers) is, and try but fail spectacularly to avoid the people Robert double-crossed, they toe and ultimately cross the line between accomplices and friends while flirting with being more. And true to form, Ashe manages, through a combination of empathy, likability, tragedy, and that elusive thing we call chemistry, to make sure we root for an outcome that seems improbable, if not impossible. At least for the time being. The key to Ashe’s writing is that he makes you see what he wants you to see, want what he wants you to want, and then he snatches it all back and makes us wait and work and wonder if what he’s made us want will ever happen. It’s a brilliant form of torture, really. If you like to feel a little shredded and drained when you get to The End.
Other characters factor into the story, of course. Orlando, Auggie’s dormmate, and Cart, Theo’s husband’s former partner on the Wahredua police force, offer help that, more often than not, feels like unwelcome interference. They both create some friction and tension that Auggie and Theo are forced to work through all while trying to stay alive long enough to do it. The tension, as always, is top tier, and the mystery is fraught with danger, as many of this author’s readers have come to expect. The end also leaves readers anticipating how things will resolve between Theo and Auggie—will they or won’t they?—which is the very definition of the romantic suspense we’ve come to know and love and anticipate from this author.
Gregory Ashe offered this book to readers, serialized by chapter in his newsletter, earlier this year. If you missed it, now’s your chance to catch another excellent murder mystery with a fantastic new set of characters, and some old familiar ones too.
You can buy They Told Me I Was Everything here:
[zilla_button url=”https://books2read.com/TheyToldMeIWasEverything” style=”black” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon & Other eTailers [/zilla_button]