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

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

Genre: Mystery, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

After solving the mystery behind the death of his former friend in July, ex-Army Sam Auden has been aimlessly wandering the country. Everything had gone sideways in New York City, so when his phone rings three months later, the caller is the last person Sam expected to be asking for help.

Confidential informant Rufus O’Callaghan has been struggling. His NYPD contact was murdered over the summer, and the man Rufus is head over heels for was driven away by his own undiagnosed trauma. But when he receives an anonymous letter that promises information on his mother, life goes from dark to dangerous in the blink of an eye.

Sam and Rufus must dig into Rufus’s rough and turbulent past in order to solve a series of contemporary murders connected to his mother. And if the two can’t expose who the killer is in time, they will most certainly become his next targets.

The Review

Rufus O’Callaghan finds himself in trouble, and the only one he feels safe to call is Sam Auden.  

In his abrupt departure, Sam is back on the road, hitch-hiking from state to state, going somewhere. Grouchy and grumbly, he has made his way back to NYC when Rufus calls for help.

Apparently, Rufus is now a target as he starts digging deeper into the death of his mother Daisy. Looking into the past is painful for Rufu,s and he really needs Sam to be his rock.  Rufus and Sam also have to deal with Rufus’ arrogant NYPD handler, Detective Erik Weaver.  As Rufus and Sam start their own investigations, more bodies start to crop up, and they find themselves in grave danger. 

Rufus and Sam are not without their own personal issues. Rufus has been trying yoga to help with his panic attacks and has made plans to see a psychiatrist. Sam still has issues with crowds and takes his medication, but sometimes it doesn’t help. Both Sam and Rufus have a gradual connection that seems to form a balance between them.

The banter between Sam and Rufus is so much fun. There are also little moments of jealousy and teasing between them which bring out that fragile connection they struggle with. Sam’s little deadpan jealousy moments balance out his soft side.

I can’t see this as “insta-love,” as their connection is still very fragile, and they have a number of personal issues that need to be worked out.  It’s more like a growing friendship filled with caring and emotional moments that they both have to find a way to deal with.

Although this isn’t my first read about the NYC subway system being the main mode of  transportation for the MC’s, it’s still an interesting factor. The subway also brings out Sam’s issues with claustrophobia and fear of crowds.

The fantastic Ashe and Poe writing team has created a complex, twisted, violent murder mystery that puts Rufus and Sam through their paces as they do their own investigating, another action-packed, suspenseful, fast-paced addition to “An Auden & O’Callaghan Mystery” series.

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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