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Release Day Review: The Mystery of Nevermore, by C.S. Poe

 
3.0
 
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Book Info

Book Series
Snow & Winter #1
Authors
About the Author
C.S. Poe is an author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.
She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.
She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful, and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.
C.S. Poe can be followed on her website, which also has links to her Goodreads and social media pages. She can also be followed via her e-mail newsletter on the website.
www.cspoe.com 
Author Website
Publication Date
August 30, 2016
Pages
216
Content Warning
WARNING: Contains cheating, death and violence, PTSD, as well as Dom/sub elements.
ISBN
978-1-63477-070-5
ASIN
B01HM8F0OS
It’s Christmas, and all antique dealer Sebastian Snow wants is for his business to make money and to save his floundering relationship with closeted CSU detective, Neil Millett. When Snow’s Antique Emporium is broken into and a heart is found under the floorboards, Sebastian can’t let the mystery rest.

He soon finds himself caught up in murder investigations that echo the macabre stories of Edgar Allan Poe. To make matters worse, Sebastian’s sleuthing is causing his relationship with Neil to crumble, while at the same time he’s falling hard for the lead detective on the case, Calvin Winter. Sebastian and Calvin must work together to unravel the mystery behind the killings, despite the mounting danger and sexual tension, before Sebastian becomes the next victim. 

In the end, Sebastian only wants to get out of this mess alive, and live happily ever after with Calvin.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Not for Me
(Updated: August 31, 2016)
Overall 
 
3.0
Cover – Nice. Fitting.
POV – 1st person, 1 character
Would I read it again – Maybe
Genre – LGBT, Crime, Romance, Mystery/Suspense

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY DSP PUBLICATIONS, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **

WARNING: Contains cheating, death and violence, PTSD, as well as Dom/sub elements.

THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD!

For me, this was a bit of an odd one. The writing was great, the plot was okay and I overall enjoyed it, in that “okay” sense, but not in the sense that “it's the best book ever and I'll re-read it again soon”.

The problem was two-fold.

The relationship.

For me, this just didn't work. I saw and loved the chemistry between Seb and Calvin at first, despite the fact that Seb was already with Neil. The cheating grated on me, since it was so blatant and it wasn't even as if they were on “a break” or any of the age-old excused used to justify it. And, frankly, the anger and dead-feeling towards the relationship was all singular, limited only to Seb's opinion and view. I never really got the feeling that Neil thought the relationship was over at any point. It doesn't matter that he was an idiot or that I didn't like him, it just felt wrong. I knew in the blurb that he would move from one relationship to seeking another, but I honestly never expected it to happen so quickly, so irrationally and without even a second of hesitation.

Also, Calvin and Seb's first kiss was basically an attack. It came out of left field, with no explanation and not even a little flirting beforehand. It was a just – having a normal conversation, smash-kiss, groping – kind of thing. I don't care that Seb totally fell for it or that he reciprocated; there had been NOTHING between them at any point prior to this, but suddenly they're making out like there's no tomorrow and Cal is on his knees. Hmm...not exactly romantic.

Which was probably the big problem. There was nothing romantic about their so-called relationship. Nothing. Sure, Cal used “baby” and “sweetie” a lot, but he also seduced and threw himself at a guy that he knew was in a relationship, then turned round and said that was a problem. The way he ordered Seb around, as well, was another issue of contention. I don't have any problem with Dom/sub elements in a story or in a relationship. Neither do I have an issue with rimming or spanking. But to include both these elements in a relationship isn't even a relationship, without even talking about it? Nope. I don't care if this guy is Brad Pitt or whoever the hell he thinks he is, you do not EVER introduce those things into a relationship, without ever having discussed it with your partner first. For all he knew, Seb didn't want to be rimmed or spanked; maybe he didn't like being dominated or almost choked in bed, the way Calvin liked doing.

Why is this an issue? Because these guys are basically strangers and they share a kind of intimacy and the kind of “we don't need to talk about this” bedroom antics that should only happen in long lasting relationships. But, it was very clear from the start that while Sebastian was feisty, he was also a pushover. He never once spoke up when the sex with Neil wasn't good. He never gave him an ultimatum about coming out or about challenging their issues. Yet, Calvin showed up and suddenly he was a feisty lap dog with teeth and crowing about how awesome Calvin was to somehow, impossibly, know his deepest, darkest desires and give them to him regardless of whether he actually wanted them or not.

Grrr!

Not to mention that during their first time together, Calvin asks “Is it too rough?” Only after he's already rimmed and spanked him, which is a little too late, in my opinion. That would be find if they'd talked about and agreed to those things in the first place, but they didn't. In fact, two really huge issues I have with their relationship is that 1) they don't know each other and 2) they don't communicate. It's all snappiness, growling and demanding things of each other, in amongst the few sweet, flirty conversations that don't really amount to much.

Familiar

The second big issue I had isn't really the author's fault. But I've read this story before. It's a combination of two really long crime series that I've read and it just didn't stack up in comparison. Maybe I need to stop reading “closeted cop falls for potential suspect who keeps getting himself in trouble”, but it was just far too familiar. Everything about it has been done before.

~

The crime aspect, for me, was like watching an episode of Midsomer Murders (UK TV show) because every time I began a new chapter, I kept asking myself who was going to die or be attacked now. It was never ending. And, in the end, got a little far fetched.

The whole mystery element was a little too slow for my taste. It didn't take off, the killer was obvious right from the start and there was just no...mystery, I guess.

When it comes to the more delicate issues – PTSD, Seb's achromatopsia and the LGBT aspect – I can't say I was overly happy with that either. Seb's condition was used well, but we were reminded far too often that he couldn't see in colour adn that lights affected his sight. There was just a little too much repetition in it, that wasn't necessary to explain the condition or to keep reminding us of his limitations. The PTSD, I feel, was glossed over. It was a non-issue. It happened once, was a huge thing at the time, but then was brushed aside and ignored other than being mentioned once in passing. I'm not sure if the rest of the series will develop that or not, but it was kind of hidden in the back of that closet, along with the prom tux and Calvin.

The LGBT aspect. Yeah, there was a reason I left that for last. For some reason, every cop in here is closeted and there's only one female in the police department. I'm not sure if that's supposed to suggest a year further back in time or a small town community or if it means nothing. Either way, there's a heavy lean on the whole “hiding in a closet” issue, but that's not my problem. My problem was this - 

“- a handsome young man who was maybe bisexual or maybe just out to experience it all. [...] Max's preference seemed to be mostly anyone. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm a one-man sort of guy.”
This really rubbed me up the wrong way. It might just be me, but it reads almost as if bisexuals are open to the whole buffet, so they want to taste everything in sight and will do that. It doesn't even taken pansexuals into account, or if it does then it's in a really negative way. Not to mention that it's actually a load of rubbish, because Seb is really quick to cheat on Neil once Cal appears on the scene.

~

Overall, there were just too many flaws. Thinking about the book as a whole, I enjoyed the story it told, but I won't be jumping to instant buy the next book in the series. At the moment, I'm not sure I'll read the next book in the series at all.

I definitely appreciated not having to know Edgar Allan Poe inside out. I haven't read any of his stuff yet, so I was worried it would be an issue. Honestly, it's all explained, a little too neatly, so if you're not familiar, you're fine. If you are, you'll spot it easily enough.

With a lack-luster relationship and a crime that was too predictable, I can't say it blew my mind. I never recommend another book in a review, but I definitely have the itch to revisit the old series it reminds me of, to see it done a little better. Sorry!

C.S. Poe is a great writer and I've enjoyed some of their short stories, this one wasn't for me.
EW
#1 Reviewer 126 reviews
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