Throwback Review: The Hell You Say by Josh Lanyon .. the series is still a favorite.

The Hell You Say (Adrien English Mystery, #3)The Hell You Say by Josh Lanyon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think the mystery in THYS was stronger than the previous book but still kind of convoluted, as that seems to be a running theme in this series. It allows for a pretty lengthy investigation to occur before the resolution and thus plenty of time for Jake and Adrien to have their relationship drama. Except this time there wasn’t much to these two. The scenes they did have were dramatic and stunning, which kind of made me want to cry that there weren’t more. Jake breaks up with Adrien late in the book but the writing is on the wall almost from the start. It’s clear these two are not “together” in the strictest sense and it’s not surprising when the final confrontation happens. Thus we meet a new love interest for Adrien, which is nice, and his new overwhelmingly blonde and perky sisters in law in between him running around trying to solve a satan-worshipping case. It’s a good book and the personal relationships Adrien has steal the show with a mildly interesting, if convoluted, mystery as the backdrop. Once again the narrator is really the shinning star with both Adrien as a great character and Patton being an excellent narrator.

It’s now been a year since the last book and Adrien is still seeing Jake twice a week – Monday and Wednesday nights – while working on his next book (which I’m starting to think will never actually materialize). Adrien’s bookstore is doing well and he’s kept Angus as his part or full time help. Angus has been getting death threats over the phone from his fellow devil worshipers so Adrien has the bright idea to give Angus some money to get out of town; figuring kids have a short attention span and they’d give up by the time Angus returned to LA. Except trying to help Angus has landed Adrien in the middle of Jake’s murder investigation. Since this is an important case, Jake has a new partner and must work overtime to bury any relationship he has with Adrien. And Adrien, being Adrien, can’t help wanting to solve the multiple murder cases first to clear Angus and later just to have some answers.

The murder mystery is slightly more interesting this time. It deals with Satanism but in a rather circuitous way. There is a side plot about a well known author going missing that eventually connects to the main mystery but it’s tangential for the most part and confusing. There’s no real reason for Adrien to become so involved in the murder investigation but the frustration mounting with Jake’s deeply closeted status does provide some impetus. The final resolution is so disturbingly easy and almost a let down but I was kind of happy just to be done with all the various threads the book had thrown out.

What works the best here is, as always, Adrien and his various relationships. His ambiguous status with Jake is the most dynamic but it’s amusing and heart warming to see Adrien get enveloped in the crazy world of his new sisters. I like this development and it gives Adrien more connections than just Jake’s casual affections. These scenes are among the most interesting and allow Adrien to define to himself what he really wants with another person. His burgeoning romance with Guy is tepid at best and I’m not a fan. I really want Adrien to have a separate love interest, especially since Jake is still out sleeping with other people, but I just don’t get the chemistry between Guy and Adrien. It feels forced and awkward.

I’m enjoying this series even more than I expected and I practically listened to this one night and day. Partly I knew some of the best scenes were coming and I’m always a glutton for some delicious angst but also because I loved listening to the narrator’s voice, Patton, and how the story gets into Adrien’s head so well. He’s a charming and engaging first person narrator/character and I feel as though I could read anything with him as the main character. He’s nuanced, subtle, interesting, and usually makes a ton of mistakes. Sometimes he’s really stupid but I always seem to forgive his stupidity and want more anyway.

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