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Double Review: Killer Notes – CJ Barlowe

Killer Notes - CJ Barlowe

Genre: Contemporary, Rock ‘n’ Roll

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewers: Maryann; Linda, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

Making it to Rocktoberfest will be a feat when a crazed fan goes after Danny Raven Wells, the lead singer of Warrior Black. On the cusp of launching its first major album, Danny has to navigate the band’s quick rise to fame, a stalker that’s willing to kill, and an infuriating bodyguard Danny’s falling for.

Tobias Grant has only two jobs: to protect the lead singer and deliver him safely to Rocktoberfest. Falling fast for the talented rocker, who somehow got under his defenses, isn’t one of them. However, Tobias will do whatever it takes, even putting himself in the line of fire, to get Danny on stage before the deranged fan hurts another person.

In this force proximity ballad, Danny and Tobias must make compromises, but will they survive the sexual friction between them as music and danger collide?

The Review

Maryann

Danny Wells, better known as Raven, is the lead singer with Warrior Black. Connor, aka Wild, plays drums and is Danny’s best friend. With Warrior Black’s new manager Ron Darling, the band is making great progress, and they will be appearing at the greatest event ever – Rocktoberfest 2023.  Danny, Connor, Callum, Raef and Bobby will not only get to perform, but also watch their favorite bands: Maiden Voyage and Social Sinners.  

Even with all the excitement, there’s trouble to be had. Danny’s personal assistant has been attacked and threatening letters have been sent to Danny. He’s had troubles in the past with his former manager – and ex – Siles Barrett. Lucky for Danny, he has Connor Wild as a best friend, and they’ve kept what occurred secret.  

Ron’s not playing around. He calls Dean Harper, head of Harper Security Agency, and gets Tobias Grant and John Brand to be bodyguards for the band, especially for Danny.  

Tobias Grant has baggage, too, with his own ex. In fact, he’s ready to make this his last job and get away from Dean Harper and the agency.  

As much as Tobias and John do to keep the band protected, it’s not enough, but Tobias has a plan – keep Danny secluded until Rocktoberfest. But being alone with Danny turns out to be a big problem for both of them, and they’ll have to find a way to avoid each other in close quarters until Rocktoberfest is over.Will they discover the identity of the stalker? And how will Tobias and Danny deal with their exes and the rest of their baggage?

Barlowe rounds up Warrior Black to go on “The Road to Rocktoberfest” in Killer Notes. The band members are a wild bunch with lots of banter, teasing and true friendships. There’s not only steamy chemistry between Danny and Tobias, but something seems to be going on with the high strung Connor and John Brand too.

For a lot of fun on “The Road to Rocktoberfest,” try CJ Barlowe’s “Killer Notes” – a quick read, with the high strung suspense of a thriller, leavened with humor and some very steamy moments. 

Linda

Another band, another trip to the Rocktoberfest Concert. This time it’s with Warrior Black, a band of five men who began together in high school. This concert is their big break. Only there’s trouble – the lead singer, Danny Raven Wells, has been receiving notes from a stalker, and some of them are threatening. Security is hired, but Danny is not happy with the idea of always having someone looking over his shoulder.

Tobias Grant is assigned to Danny. He’s sure he will be protecting a prima donna, which is funny, because as soon as he sees Danny he is drawn to him. Danny is also attracted to Tobias, and yet their Interactions are less than friendly. When Danny’s personal assistant is attacked and has a note pinned to her chest, the reality of the danger he’s in can’t be ignored. The best way to protect the band is for Danny and Tobias to retreat to a safe house.

Now the two of them are alone together, fighting their feelings. Danny spent years with his ex-boyfriend who physically abused him, until the band took charge and kicked him out. Unfortunately, the mental scars are much harder to deal with. Tobias was engaged until he walked in on his fiancé in bed with another man. Both have been hurt by the person they loved and thought would love them back. Both are afraid to open up their hearts again.

Tobias takes them to his grandfather’s house, which he now owns, in an isolated area, where he feels confident that they will be safe. It was fun to watch the back-and-forth as they to convince themselves they won’t give in to their feelings. Sometimes the heart has to ignore the head, LOL…

Now the big day is almost here, and Tobias is determined to keep Danny safe. They have no idea who the stalker is, and when both mens’ exes show up, the sense of danger becomes a reality. More security is brought in, but Tobias doesn’t care. He has only one objective – sticking as close to Danny as possible and keeping him safe.

The night before the concert, Danny is hurt and Tobias is not there with him to help, although he arrives before any real damage can be done. The stalker makes it very clear that they mean business, and it could be someone in the inner circle.

I read this book in one sitting. And don’t worry – there is an HEA.

This is a multi-author series. I have read a great many of them and highly recommend the adventure. There’s music, romance, sex, suspense and wonderful characters, both primary and secondary. I enjoyed learning what goes into making a band, and how hard they must fight to be recognized. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t survive their hours, so thank goodness I can’t carry a tune!

The Reviewers

Maryann

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.

Linda

I am an avid reader the mother of 3 sons and grandmother to seven grandchildren. Since retiring I have been doing more reading while volunteering as a CASA worker. CASA is an organization that works with the family court system to ensure that children are in the best living situation. There are way too many children that get overlooked in the foster care system and I visit homes and make visits to the parents. I was born and raised in New York and my husband of 50 years and I live in Upstate New York.

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