Review and Series Promo: So This is Christmas: Josh Lanyon

So This is Christmas 
(The Adrien English Mysteries, #6)
Josh Lanyon
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Released January 5, 2017
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God Help You Merry Gentlemen…

Arriving home early after spending Christmas in jolly old England, sometimes amateur sleuth Adrien English discovers alarming developments at Cloak and Dagger Books--and an old acquaintance seeking help in finding his missing boyfriend.

Fortunately, Adrien just happens to know a really good private eye…



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So This is Christmas rating
Overall series rating
Prior to starting Josh Lanyon’s The Adrien English Mystery series shortly before Christmas 2015, I could count the number of M/M romance novels I had read on one hand. My teenage years were full of reading whodunits, so to run across such a spectacular series of noir mysteries that also features a gay romantic arc that spans the entire set… well, let’s just say that was a fantastic week or reading, and it’s a series of books I will always have high regard for. What I had assumed would be the final book was published in 2009. As a set, it contains one of best developed long-term romantic arcs I have read, and ended in a way that I felt made the perfect conclusion to the series. The set is truly a master work.

Adrien English owns a small independent bookstore in Los Angeles, writes mystery novels, and, in true noir style, has a propensity to find his way into murders, both by being a target and a suspect. As such, you can add amateur sleuthing to his list of activities. All of the books are narrated from his first-person point of view, and he’s a great narrator. He’s often self-deprecating, has a wonderful sense of self—particularly when it comes to his acceptance for his lot in life—and, befitting the genre and style, he has an amusingly dry sense of humor. While Adrien’s character is easy to like and is, from a character standpoint, relatively steady through the series, his love interest, Jake Riordan, who starts the series as a detective with the LAPD, is much more difficult to pin down. He starts as a deeply closeted man who can barely admit to himself that he can be attracted to Adrien, in spite of the fact that he frequents a club where he has sex with other men. As the series progresses, probably the best word that can be used to describe what develops between the two men is tumultuous. Their difficulties only make the end result all the more satisfying.

The series is certainly intended to be read in order. As a part of my (very strong) recommendation, I must warn you, don’t get disheartened by the series’ opening novella, Fatal Shadows. It is certainly the weakest of the series, but as an introductory novella, it serves its purpose well, both for establishing the characters and for laying the groundwork for the romantic arc the individual mysteries are built around.

The mysteries contained in the series are certainly well crafted, containing all of the information needed to keep the solution from feeling cheesy or the actual solving from seeming like the characters have clairvoyant abilities. That being said, they are not terribly innovative for those who have read a lot in the genre. Even so, Adrien’s narration makes the stories shine.

So now, fast forward over seven years to the night before the new Adrien English book, So This is Christmas, was released. Much to my surprise, I see a post on an author friend’s Facebook page informing me that it was only a matter of hours before she would be staying up all night to read it. I was flabbergasted, and freely admit I had mixed emotions. The series was already perfect, in my opinion, so while a big part of me screamed with delight about getting more of Adrien and Jake, another part was screaming in terror that this could only ruin it.

But, of course, I couldn't not buy it and read it... Though it did have to wait until I finished reading some deadline reads first...you know, the books that I and my fellow reviewers here read in time for their releases. *grin*

So This is Christmas is more a happy, novella-length visit to the world of Adrien and Jake than it is a real mystery. Sure, there is a missing-person case that makes up the plot of the story, but it isn’t much of a mystery, at least not in the way the rest of the books are. That fact did disappoint me a bit—which is why this book only gets 4 stars—but it’s okay, because there’s a much more important purpose for the book. No, I’m not going to say it. You’re going to have to read it to find out.

And no, this book did not ruin what I loved so much in the first five books of the series. In a sense, it served as a wonderful epilogue to punctuate what was so good about the romantic arc of the whole thing.

Just like the first five books of the series, So This is Christmas is not intended to be, and definitely should not be, read as a standalone. There are just too many appearances of characters from and references to events in previous books of the series for the story to make sense to start here. But that too is okay. Do yourself a favor, whether you’re a fan of mystery novels or not, give this set a chance. It’s a beautiful and gritty romance that makes all the books well worth the read.

Josh Lanyon

A distinct voice in gay fiction, and the bestselling author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure, and unapologetic man-on-man romance, Josh Lanyon has been called "arguably the single most influential voice in m/m romance today."

Today Josh's work has been translated into nine languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first Male/Male title to be published by Harlequin Mondadori, the largest romance publisher in Italy. The Adrien English series was awarded the All Time Favorite Couple by the Goodreads M/M Romance Group. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist (twice for Gay Mystery), and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads All Time Favorite M/M Author Award.

Josh is married and lives in Southern California.


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