Reviewed by Taylor
SERIES: Duncan Andrews Thriller
AUTHOR: Stephen Osborne
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
Pale as a Ghost (Book One, Duncan Andrews Thriller)
BLURB: Private detective Duncan Andrews’s best friend Gina is a witch. His dog is a zombie. And his dead boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost. So it’s hardly any wonder that he uses his connection to the supernatural to help him solve cases. Good thing, too, because Duncan has his hands full. Janice Sanderson, the richest woman in Indianapolis, wants him to find her stripper daughter, Brenda, and another client is having some trouble with a specter haunting her family home. On top of that, Duncan has decided to add dating into the mix, though after Robbie’s death, he’s not sure he’s ready.
When Duncan meets Nick while tracking down a lead on Brenda’s boyfriend, he shelves his doubts and agrees to a date. Robbie doesn’t make it easy on him, showing up to spoil his chances, but that is the least of Duncan’s worries—because one of his clients’ husbands is missing and there’s a serial killer on the loose—one Duncan fears isn’t human.
Private Detective Duncan Andrews has a complicated life. He has a ghost for a boyfriend, a witch best friend, a lovable and hungry zombie dog, and he solves unusual crimes on top of that. In this first installment, Duncan has been hired for two separate cases, a blue female ghost haunting a family and finding a missing, rebellious girl. Along the way, he meets Nick, a man that just may convince Duncan to move on from his dead boyfriend and start dating someone human.
OH…OH…OH…how I heart this special, lovely book. It caught me by surprise, as I had never even heard of this author before, and didn’t have any expectations. But it’s everything I could ask for in a story. It made me LAUGH and laugh and laugh some more until I cried. It even caused me to laugh unexpectedly, which are always my most attractive and “barkish” laughs. Morton’s salt and a ghost defending his man. That’s all I can say. But it’s more than just incredible wit. Duncan is smart, patient, devoted, self-deprecating, sarcastic, and relatable. His boyfriend, Robbie, is someone I just want to hug and protect, and he’s so abashedly adorable that I loved him the way Duncan loved him. And the moments where they slowed down their banter and really talked and revealed their sadness at their situation broke my heart. They can’t be intimate because the effort it takes for Robbie to become more human-like weakens him too much. There are a few times where he musters the strength to hold hands with his love or to kiss him, and I felt so much compassion for them both.
But there is more to this book than even Robbie and Duncan. There is Gina, Duncan’s kickass best friend and witch, who is understanding, funny, and I loved all her powers and observations. The zombie dog, Daisy, is hysterical as she chases squirrels to eat. Even the lesser secondary characters held my interest. From Kevin, the teenager who loved the Jonas Brothers, to Brenda, Derek, Caleb and more. Both of the cases Duncan worked on were vastly different, but they were quick. The pace was perfect, and I never felt any of it dragged. Just the RIGHT mix of action, humor, love, gore, and world-building.
I have only two tiny niggles. Nick, the secondary lust interest, whom I found pretty bland. I’m glad he came across that way, though, because not once did I feel any heat between him and Duncan, and it’s like observing a couple that has been slogged in mud versus a shiny diamond with the pairing of Robbie and Duncan. Those two fit and are meant to be together (I hope, I hope…please…please), and Nick was just there. The other thing was the author has a tendency to use the phrase “made a face” too much rather than switch it up, but like I said, tiny niggles.
Highly recommend for a fast-paced, amusing mystery.
Taylor rates it –
Animal Instinct (Book Two, Duncan Andrews Thriller)
BLURB: Sequel to Pale as a Ghost Duncan Andrews Thriller Private detective Duncan Andrews has the home-team advantage when it comes to solving paranormal crimes: His best friend, Gina, is a centuries-old witch. His dog is a zombie. And his boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost. Duncan certainly has his work cut out for him with this case. Someone’s been using the skull of a powerful wizard to control animals, and whoever it is, they’re not out to set up a petting zoo. For Gina, the case hits close to home-she knows just how dangerous it is, since the wizard was her father. Just when he thinks they’re close to breaking the case, tragedy strikes, leaving Gina in a coma. Then, after years as a ghost, Robbie finally decides to move on, leaving Duncan to protect young Ashton Marsh, the victim of several strange animal attacks. Suddenly Duncan is working without his supernatural safety net. Without his friends, can Duncan defeat the power of Eleazar’s skull and keep Ashton alive? Or will the struggle for his life end in broken bodies as well as broken hearts?
In the sequel to Pale as a Ghost, we are back with Private Detective Duncan Andrews and his cast of unusual companions, from his zombie dog, his ghost boyfriend, and his witch best friend. Duncan isn’t just your usual detective, though, because he’s always out solving the random Twilight wannabe vampire running amuck or in this instance, a stolen skull from a powerful wizard being used to harm and even kill others. This case strikes personal for Duncan and his best friend Gina, as it is her father Eleazar’s stolen skull.
Soon Gina is put into a coma, and he has another case that brings him clues as to who stole the skull. Weird trick of the skull? Its power uses animals to harm.
Amidst that you have Duncan and Robbie questioning their reality of a relationship and whether either can make it on their own. And Nick is still tagging along.
I loved this book just as much as the last one, but it was different in its own way. The reader still has Duncan’s priceless one-liners, his awkwardness, his love for his boyfriend, and everything else that makes this wonderful man up. Robbie….SIGH…my fictional hubby, Robbie. Damn, I love that man. That dead man still wearing his high school letterman jacket that wants to have sex with his very alive boyfriend. Trust me it’s not as creepy as it sounds. And gahhhhh, he is so freakin cute and hilarious. When Duncan was getting hit on??? Robbie’s reactions were classic. Even in the dream sequence where he’s wandering around observing and asking questions. He’s just so caring, sexy, pouty, and wise in his own way. These two FIT. I can’t see them apart ever…ever, ever, ever. Mr. Osborne, do NOT break my heart. That scene in the car where Duncan and Robbie are discussing whether Robbie should move on to the afterlife? How awesome and neat (not really). You knew I wanted to sob like a 5 year old.
Then there is Nick, who I’m coming around to (again not really). Don’t get me wrong, he’s fine and nice and dependable, but he’s not Robbie. He is a good friend, though. And Duncan needs a great friend that has no association with the paranormal world. Gina, when she was there in this book, is just as lovable as always. And Daisy, that sweet murderess dog. Yeah, me likey her.
I thought the case in this book was more interesting than the ones in the last book, and I also thought the instances where the skull worked its magic were creepy. That makes me happy. M/m books need more great suspense or mystery novels. I’ll never look at squirrels the same way. Or that damn grinning cat.
Oh and Eleazar?? You, my kind floating head sir, are so, so, SO badass for the gift you gave the reader and, most importantly, Duncan at the end.
Highly recommend for fictional hubby love and a good mystery and suspense.
Taylor rates it –
Taylor is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
To read all her reviews, click the link: TAYLOR’S REVIEWS