Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Fair Game by Josh Lanyon
A young man has gone missing from campus-and as a favor to a family friend, Elliot agrees to do a little sniffing around. His investigations bring him face-to-face with his former lover, Tucker Lance, the special agent handling the case.
Things ended badly with Tucker, and neither man is ready to back down on the fight that drove them apart. But they have to figure out a way to move beyond their past and work together as more men go missing and Elliot becomes the target in a killer's obsessive game...
When Elliot's father asks him to look into the disappearance of a friend's son at the university where Elliot is a professor of history, Elliot finds himself back in the investigations game. Doing so puts him right in the path of his former lover, Tucker. These guys have history, and it's mostly related to Elliot's inability to come to terms with his career-ending injury and feelings of inadequacy as it related to that.
I found this to be quite a compelling read, but at first it felt like Tucker did a less than stellar job of investigating the case out of residual anger at Elliot. Also, I would have liked to have seen more from Tucker's POV, but it did fit in with Lanyon's usual style, so I knew I'd get something from Tucker eventually, and I did.
I liked the way Lanyon grew their relationship, even through the phone calls, where a lot got said by staying unsaid. They communicated like men. By which, I mean that there wasn't a whole lot of communicating going on, especially on issues of import. Just lots of in-your-face one-upsmanship based on emotional response and anger and uncomfortable silences rather than actual productive conversation. (no offense to any guys out there, but, c'mon!) But I also liked that Elliot recognized that Tucker made the first move to open himself up more often than not and so he also made the attempt, even though it went against his instincts and nature. There was excellent chemistry between them. I also liked that they were two strong men, but that they weren't afraid to show their vulnerabilities in bed.
And that's one thing I really like about Lanyon's books. His love scenes are very, very intimate, but not necessarily explicit. Yes, sometimes, they get harshly explicit (he shoved tab A into hole B - hello, Jake?). But in general, he creates his love scenes through the emotions elicited from his characters, through the connections developed, and though good old fashioned "leaving it up to the imagination". I think many m/f authors could learn how to convey intimacy from reading his love scenes. There are never any gratuitous love scenes in a Lanyon book. Those that are there, need to be there. And I love that.
I also really liked the dynamic between Elliot and his dad. Respectful and loving despite their obvious philosophical differences. And his dad just cracked me up. He's a throwback to the 60s radicals, calling everyone "cat" (as in, "he's a cool cat", LOL), anything that relates to the establishment is bad, etc. But he respects and loves his son even though he doesn't respect or love his son's former job.
As far as the mystery, it was well done. I had hoped for some additional evidence gathering and to see that, but that's the thriller lover in me. It wasn't lacking, although I'd have liked some further explanation on the resolution of the Baker murder.
I liked that Elliot came to terms with his change in career by the end and came to realize that he actually liked teaching. It was a very satisfying resolution. Although I get the feeling that he'll still find himself embroiled in Tucker's cases going forward.
Another stellar book from Lanyon. And he's a great author to try if you want to dip your toes into m/m and also enjoy romantic suspense/mystery.