Series: Borealis: Without a Compass: Book One
Author: Gregory Ashe
Length: 430 Pages
Rating: 4.5 Stars
At a Glance: I cackled at times at the accuracy, and at the exaggeration, of the goings-on in Indirection, but those emotional thorns in North and Shaw’s blossoming relationship sneak in too, of course they do, and remind us that romance isn’t all candy hearts and butterfly kisses.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Rabid readers. Backbiting authors. A romance convention from hell.
Shaw Aldrich and his best friend, boyfriend, and partner, North McKinney, are doing great, thanks. The aftermath of their search for the Slasher has finally settled down. Their private investigation agency is thriving. And after years of missed opportunities, they’re finally together. Sure, work might be taking up every spare minute, and their time together as a couple might have evaporated—but that’s normal, right?
When an author asks for their help investigating threats against a gay romance convention, Shaw sees an opportunity to shake up their routine and maybe have some fun. But the convention isn’t what he expects. Between the rabid fans and the backbiting authors, the death threats—which seem totally baseless—are the least of North and Shaw’s worries.
Until, that is, a bestselling author is poisoned in the middle of a panel. Then Shaw and North must race against the clock to find the killer before he (or she) escapes—and before the convention ends. But romance authors are more complicated than either North or Shaw expects, and a treacherous web knits the suspects together.
Shaw and North will have to unravel a skein of lies and half-truths to uncover the killer. It doesn’t help that, on top of everything else, Shaw just wants to find his next favorite book—and, if it isn’t asking too much, have sex with North at least one more time in his current incarnation.
Review: Indirection is, and I cannot stress this enough, the most meta book I’ve ever read. The Borealis Investigations guys are back and busier than ever, trying to navigate through their new relationship—and frankly, they’re not doing a great job of it yet—but things get deliciously good when they’re hired by the organizer of the Queer Expectations convention to investigate the shenanigans and goings-on expected to occur at this year’s con.
With tongue firmly placed in cheek (I can only imagine how fun it was to write this over-the-top bit of self-reference), Gregory Ashe leads North and Shaw through the crazy and wonderful and sometimes chaotic world of a Romance authors and readers con (à la the GayRomLit Retreat, except Queer Expectations goes to eleven), where no one is spared from North’s sharp judgement, we discover Shaw is kind of a genre fanboy, and a slew of probable suspects pop up when the community’s golden-boy author—and let’s be honest, its biggest ass-munch—is poisoned. What a mystery author’s delectable kind of whodunnit this is.
I cackled at times at the accuracy, and at the exaggeration, of the convention and its attendees, and yeah, I watched for myself in the pages (tagging me as one of the “pleasant-looking ladies, all in their fifties, laughing and chatting”?). As we’ve come to rely on with these two, Shaw and North give readers some great banter—if Ashe ever pubbed a book full of Shaw-isms, I’d read the heck out of it—but those emotional thorns in their blossoming relationship sneak in too, of course they do, and remind us that romance isn’t all candy hearts and butterfly kisses, which gives the book some bite. Finding a work/life balance is a challenge North and Shaw have to confront together, and they got a bumpy start in learning how to communicate that in Indirection.
The convention murder isn’t the only case the guys are investigating, though. They solved that one in the way only they can, but there’s always the long arc to consider, and this one promises to get uglier as things press on. There’s also the promise of something good coming from the bad, though, a new venture for the guys to undertake, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Ashe goes with this. With all of it, really. This author always seems to leave me wanting more.
You can buy Indirection here:
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1 thought on “Review: Indirection by Gregory Ashe”
Ooh, hadn’t spotted this one – always up for a Gregory Ashe novel!