REVIEW: A Friend in the Dark – C.S. Poe & Gregory Ashe

A Friend in the Dark - C.S. Poe & Gregory Ashe

Genre: Mystery, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

Get It On Amazon

About The Book

Rufus O’Callaghan has eked out a living on the streets of New York City by helping the police put away criminals as a confidential informant. But when Rufus shows up for an arranged meeting and finds his handler dead, his already-uncertain life is thrown into a tailspin. Now someone is trying to kill Rufus too, and he’s determined to find out why.

After leaving the Army under less than desirable circumstances, Sam Auden has drifted from town to town, hitching rides and catching Greyhounds, until he learns that a former Army buddy, now a police detective in New York City, has died by suicide. Sam knows that’s not right, and he immediately sets out to get answers.

As Rufus and Sam work together to learn the truth of their friend’s death, they find themselves entangled in a web of lies, cover-ups, and accelerating danger. And when they witness a suspect killed in cold blood, they realize they’re running out of time.

The Review

I’m very familiar with C.S. Poe’s (Winter & Snow and other novels) and Gregory Ashe’s (Hazard & Somerset, Hollow Folk) novels.  Both authors are experts in writing complex mysteries and creating unique characters.

The collaboration for “An Auden & O’Callaghan Mystery” is just brilliant.  The authors take the reader to New York City and mesmerize them with two of the most unique characters:  Sam Auden and Rufus O’Callaghan.  

It all starts off with freckled, punk, Rufus O’Callaghan, thief and CI for Detective Jake Brower.  Rufus loves his books and knows NYC like the back of his hand. He’s supposed to make a pick-up from Jake but it doesn’t happen.  When Rufus finds Jake dead, he becomes the target.

Sam Auden has come to NYC.  But the big city is where he doesn’t want to be.  He can’t handle all the chaos and his essential tremor has the need for peace and quiet.  Sam Auden knew Jake from the Army and when he get’s wind of Jake’s suicide, Sam knows something isn’t right.  

Detective Jake Brower, is dead but he haunts Sam and Rufus with their mixed feelings about him.  Jake tried to protect his own reputation by remaining in the “closet”. 

What evidence was Jake holding?

As Rufus and Jake set out on their own investigation, they meet up with some very suspicious and possibly untrusting characters:  Sergeant Bridget Heckler, Detective Anthony Lampo, Police Officer Ophelia Hayes and Juliana.  Jake’s death sends Rufus and Sam on a deathly and dangerous hunt for more than his phone and his murderer.  

Even if this wasn’t an absolutely suspenseful, violent, action packed, fast paced, page-turner from Poe and Ashe, I would read this just to follow Sam and Rufus.  They are two of the oddest, quirkiest, smart, baggage-carrying men who will get inside your head and heart.  The banter between them is cute and bound to put a smile on your face and the serious moments will melt your heart.

It was really hard to put this book down as I was pulled in, needing to find out what was going to happen with Sam and Rufus next.  Can they find closure with Jake’s death, and can they survive each other?

I highly recommend this new series – the potential for it to continue is very high in my book.  Poe and Ashe are the new power couple in collaboration and I can’t wait for “A Friend in Fire” the next installment to the “An Auden and O’Callaghan” series. It’s a must read for me!

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 


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