Here’s my first post for the Desert Island Keepers (DIK) Reading Challenge. The goal is to write a review each month of a book. Since I read more than one book per month, I’m probably going to cheat a little. I’m only going to write reviews for books that I end up liking. Why am I cheating? For starters, I’m too nice. I’d have a hard time writing something harsh about someone else’s baby. And I’m totally new at writing reviews, so I’d rather get my feet wet by saying something nice.

[openbook booknumber=”9781607374909″ templatenumber=”2″]So, here goes. Josh Lanyon’s The Dark Tide is a mystery with a soupçon of romance. Maybe more than a soupçon, but really, how often do you get a chance to throw that word around?

In this latest installment of the Adrien English Mysteries, someone’s trying to break into Adrien’s apartment, over his bookstore. Who else would he reach out to but Jake Riordan, ex-cop? Jake’s finally out of the closet, and Adrien doesn’t quite know what to do with him. Unfinished personal business between them, carried over from their last case together, has put a severe strain on a romantic relationship that has been rocky right from the beginning. It doesn’t help that Adrien’s recovering from major surgery and several of his exes return, interested in rekindling banked fires.

The mystery that deepens from a simple break-in to a skeleton under the floorboards gives Adrien something to focus on besides his own health. Jake’s divorcing his wife, selling his house, and trying to start a PI business in an unstable economic climate. It’s no wonder he’s thinking of moving away, especially when Adrien can’t or won’t make a decision about their relationship.

Although the police aren’t much interested in the circumstances in fifty-year old cold case, Adrien can’t help but believe his break-in is no coincidence and hires Jake to look into it. This gives Adrien the opportunity to regularly interact with Jake while willfully ignoring their personal issues. Even health and personal issues don’t stop him from doing his own sleuthing. A decades-old theft appears to be the motive for the skeleton’s murder, with most of the suspects also dead themselves.

A new murder makes it clear, to Adrien and Jake at least, that someone is determined to prevent any investigation into the identity of the skeleton’s killer, which puts both Adrien and Jake in danger. It’s business as usual for the headstrong, mystery-loving author. If only he could see Jake’s feelings as clearly as we can!

When the fifty-year old case eerily mirrors aspects of Adrien’s life, he comes to some significant personal realizations, as well as solving the decades-old crime.

I have to admit, I’m not sure whether I like the romance in this more than the mystery or vice versa, because they are both skillfully crafted, and woven together seamlessly. In my humble opinion, mystery is the hardest genre to write with romance coming a close second, but Lanyon does a great job, and in this latest installment of the Adrien English mysteries, there’s no disappointment. It was fast-paced, kept me guessing and had its share of tender moments.

The series has been great, and I look forward to seeing more of Adrien and Jake. Although, I also hope Josh is hard at work bringing us a sequel to Holmes & Moriarity!