Title: Sparks and Drops (Book 1 of the Wheel Mysteries)
Author: Susan Laine
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Magic is in the air when Gus Goodwin, a pagan shopkeeper and owner of the Four Corners’ occult shop, meets a Niall Valentine, a mysterious PI investigating the disappearance of a local witch named Joy. What starts out as harmless flirting and information gathering soon turns into a partnership, with both men determined to solve the case.
Then bodies begin to pile up. Someone is using fire and water to kill witches associated with Joy, and it is up to Niall and Gus to find out what’s going on. But when their friendship blossoms into something else, the unknown dangers looming ahead become even more frightening. If they can’t solve the murders soon, they’re going to get themselves killed.
What type of book is it? M/M contemporary romance
What is it about? For Gus and Niall, it’s almost love at first sight. Niall is a PI who has been hired to solve a missing person report. The lead takes him to Gus’s occult shop, where the two meet for the first time. The case that Niall is working on involves witches. Since he really doesn’t know anything about the Wiccan way, Gus is able to provide information needed. Gus is also able to help out with clues, as he has the advantage to look at things and see the occult connection.
But it gets complicated and complex. When things flare out of control, Niall wants to protect Gus by refusing him to work any further on the investigation. Of course, Gus isn’t going to take that, as he knows he has the pagan knowledge which Niall needs to crack the case open.
Three more deaths and a cult of sex magic add to the mystery. Through many twist and turns, the case becomes closer to being solved – but not before something tragic happens to one of them…
The best bit was… The whole development of Wiccan/Pagan elements within the story. As a practitioner, I truly appreciated the factual way it was handled. This is NOT a story about magic, but a true account on things a Wiccan witch would know and understand. With Gus explaining things to the novice Niall, one could almost use this as a simple basic primer for the Wiccan way.
As much as I enjoyed the author’s writing, the mystery, the Wiccan flavor and the charming characters, I was disappointed. The sexual tension between Gus and Niall – which was beautifully portrayed as high strung through-out the novel – fell flat at the end. After pages of reading about the characters feelings for each other and all the flirting – there was no lovemaking in the book. It was a genuine let-down as I really was looking forward to these two getting together sexually.
Who would you recommend his for? Those m/m romance lovers who love a good mystery, like stories spiced with a Wiccan flavor, or don’t mind sexual frustration for the reader.
Have you read any other books by this author? No, however I enjoyed the authors style of writing enough that I purchased a four book series she wrote. I do hope there is sex in those.
Reviewed by: Dawn