Josh Lanyon Collected Novellas by Josh Lanyon

Volume 1

MLR Press

Erotic M/M Anthology

ISBN 978-1-60820-006-1

Reviewed by Nannette



“Cards on the Table”

Timothy North is writing a book about a fifty year old murder. Some want the past left in the past, but Tim is determined to uncover what really happened the night a Hollywood starlet was killed.  When things turn dangerous, Tim turns to homicide detective Jack Brady for help. Jack and Tim have a history together, one that Tim would like to see repeated. Jack does not, but he is willing to help him. He needs to keep Tim alive so he can tell him how he really feels.  

“Cards on the Table” is an interesting mystery about a Hollywood fifties era murder. It sizzles with unrequited feelings, desire, and tragedy on all sides. Tim’s been through a lot and Jack seems insensitive at first.  As the story progresses, you get a better feel for what happened in Tim’s past and why Jack did what he did. My heart went out to Tim. A cast of colorful characters do a lot of finger pointing in “Cards on the Table,” leading Tim on a merry chase to find a killer, while Jack and Tim work toward an inevitable and satisfying relationship. 


“Dangerous Ground” 

While camping in the mountains, Taylor MacAllister and Will Brandt discover a crashed plane that authorities have spent months searching for. Will and Taylor are good friends and partners at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. They were supposed to be on vacation. Taylor is recovering from a gunshot wound that almost killed him. The men’s relationship is on rocky ground since Taylor opened up about his feelings for Will. Now, they have a case to solve while being tracked by the bad guys. If Will and Taylor can make it out of the mountains alive, they might have a shot at saving their relationship.

“Dangerous Ground” is action packed, suspenseful, romantic, and erotic. I love Will and Taylor.  When they’re not dodging bullets or running for their lives, they’re driving each other crazy. Taylor is a little impulsive and Will is more contemplative. They are sexy as hell and they make a great team. “Dangerous Ground” has the perfect balance of story and romance.


“In Sunshine or in Shadow”

Keiran Quinn and Rick Monaghan are homicide detectives, partners, and best friends, so when Keiran decides to make a drastic change in his life that doesn’t include his partner, Rick is understandably shocked and surprisingly hurt. If Rick can’t face is feelings, he’s going to lose his partner, forever.

Keiran runs as far as he can from Rick in “In Sunshine or in Shadow.” Rick’s hesitancy nearly broke my heart. The angst in “In Sunshine or in Shadow” is nearly overwhelming. Keiran and Rick are made for each other. Although it’s shorter than most of Josh Lanyon’s work, “In Sunshine or in Shadow” still packs a very powerful punch with an excellent storyline and heart-warming romance.


“Snowball in Hell”

Homicide detective Matt Spain is investigating the murder of a member of a well known and wealthy family.  It’s a case that will change his life, and not just because of the importance of the case.  Reporter Nathan Doyle is hiding a few secrets that he is determined to keep to himself.  Is Nathan trying to help solve the case or is he staying close to Matt for another reason? 

From the first time they meet, the chemistry between Nathan and Matt is obvious. Homosexuality was not accepted (to say the least) in the forties so a relationship between them seems impossible. The angst it creates for them, especially Nathan, is intense and tangible. The era “Snowball in Hell” is set in is depicted with accuracy and done in such a way as to be part of the story, but not a glaring history lesson. The characterization is perfect and the storyline is suspenseful. The ending is also excellent. It’s exactly what I had hoped for. 


Josh Lanyon Collected Novellas, Volume 1 is excellent. Not because the stories have overly mushy romance or fairy tale endings, but because of the incredibly talented and creative writing. Lanyon has the ability to draw me into a story regardless of whether the setting or circumstances surrounding the characters is initially appealing to me. For example, I don’t usually care for stories set in the WWII era, but Lanyon made “A Snowball in Hell”  the first one I thoroughly enjoyed.  And I don’t usually like to have my heart wrenched out and stomped on, but the angst in Lanyon’s stories is fitting and realistic. For M/M romance and hot sex, for angst, suspense, and storyline, Josh Lanyon’s Collected Novellas Vol. 1 is a highly recommended read for this reviewer.


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