Book Review: “So This is Christmas” by Josh Lanyon

Posted April 22, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: “So This is Christmas” by  Josh Lanyon

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

"So This is Christmas" by Josh Lanyon
Genres: Amateur Sleuth, Mystery
Published by JustJoshin Publishing Inc. on December 30, 2016
Pages: 127
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Fair Play, Fair Chance

A short story, 5.5, and last (wahhhh) in The Adrien English Mysteries amateur sleuth mystery series and revolving around a gay bookseller in LA, California, on Boxing Day.

My Take

I’ve enjoyed Lanyon’s Adrien English mysteries. Well, Adrien is a writer and runs a bookstore…what’s not to love!? He’s also a sweetheart who has struggled for years with his health. All of a sudden he’s so much better and ticked off at all the mothering he’s getting from loved ones, lol.

It all revolves around being gay and family acceptance — with one significant conflict that has nothing to do with being gay, but it does have to do with sex. Yeah, being gay is still a big issue, especially with Jake’s family. What is with people being so anti-gay? It’s not like we’re born with a list of preferences to check off. It’s all God’s doing, so how can anyone protest God’s choices for each one of us?

It’s first person protagonist point-of-view from Adrien’s perspective who notes that Jake’s family and Ivor’s are both blaming their same-sex partners for turning them gay. As if. It really makes me love Adrien’s so-very-supportive mom and her new family.

It’s those family perceptions that get in the way of so many. The Arbuckles’ anger with Kevin was such a horrible impediment while the Riordans’ anger pushes Jake away, and Natalie’s worries also create problems. A lot going on in such a short story. I love that Adrien wins Jake’s dad over with his appreciation for Peggy Lee.

Adrien cracked me up with this:

“‘Don’t think about it toooo loooong,’ I trilled softly. ‘I still have to pick my outfit and get my hair done!'”

…fulfilling people’s stereotype views of gays, and it makes Jake laugh.

Seems that J.X. Moriarty, an author, wants to do a book signing at Cloak and Dagger Books, lol. He’s from Lanyon’s Holmes & Moriarity mystery series.

Adrien is such a pushover. Not only with Natalie, but in going along with Kevin to confront the Arbuckles. I mean, duhhh. And it does make sense that Ivor’s family and Kevin should have such opposing ideas of what happened to Ivor.

I do have to wonder why Adrien had to leave England early.

As much as I hate that the series is ended, it does end well, with Jake becoming comfortable with himself and Adrien…and leaving Adrien overjoyed that Jake is happy.

“‘Your family is my family.’ Unless they hurt him again, in which case next holiday season I’d be poisoning the gift baskets.”

The Story

It’s a conflict for Jake. He’s been hired by the Arbuckles to find their son Ivor…and they suspect Kevin of doing away with him. Meanwhile, Kevin is begging Adrien for help in finding his missing lover…Ivor.

What’s worse is Jake’s family and his estrangement from them. So when Jake and Adrien are invited to celebrate New Year’s Eve with them…both are aghast.

The Characters

Adrien English is doing well since his heart surgery, and he’s happy living in his mom’s old house with Jake Riordan, a former detective with the LAPD and now a private investigator. Scout is their almost-seven-month-old German shepherd.

Cloak and Dagger Books is…
…Adrien’s independent bookstore. Natalie Dauten is his stepsister who has been working as his store manager and “living above the shop”. Adrien sees Angus, with his archeology degree, as his other business investment mistake. Tomkins is the beige alley cat Adrien rescued six months ago.

The Dautens are…
…the family into which his mother, Lisa, married. Bill Dauten, a councilman, is her husband. He has three daughters: Lauren is the oldest, then Natalie, and then Emma.

The Riordans are…
…Jake’s very disapproving [all cops!] family who have taken Kate’s, Jake’s ex-wife’s, side Janie is Jake’s mom. Neal, his middle brother, is married to Brenna (Kate is her best friend); both are detectives with Glendale PD. Rory and Cory are their toddlers. Danny is the youngest brother who hasn’t made detective yet at Pasadena PD; Dusty is his girlfriend who works Metro Traffic.

Kevin D. O’Reilly, an excavator and ex-boyfriend of Adrien’s, and Ivor Arbuckle, a paleontologist, is his current boyfriend, who’s missing. Both work for the Archeological Research Institute. Candace and Benjamin Arbuckle are wealthy, strait-laced, “normal” people and Ivor’s parents. Terrill is his snotty big brother with whom Adrien had played tennis in high school; his sister, Jacintha, just had a baby.

LAPD Homicide Detective Alonzo hated Jake and Adrien.

Guy is another of Adrien’s exes. Peter is Guy’s boyfriend. Warren is Natalie’s ex-boyfriend.

The Cover and Title

The cover looks like Adrien with his shaggy dark hair, his head tilted down as he holds his phone to his ear while wearing a black leather jacket, a scarf wrapped around his neck over a cream shirt against a background of fuzzy Christmas lights. A black border runs along the right vertical edge with the author’s name in white. The title is a combination of pale orange for the first three words and red for the last. It’s positioned to the right around Adrien’s waist. The series information is below that in a pale orange.

“So This is Christmas” is a unique holiday for Adrien and Jake, each receiving amazing gifts.

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