My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/recommended-reviews/april-2011-recommended-reads/snowball-in-hell-by-josh-lanyon
Being the guy found face down in La Brea Tar Pits is bad. Being the guy the LAPD thinks might have shot and dumped the vic in the tar pits is no walk in the park either. Especially when you have secrets to hide.
It’s 1943 and reporter Nathan Doyle is back from the war and working the crime beat. Nathan had a good reason for wishing Phil Arlen was dead. That same reason also makes him skittish about having the police poke into his private life. When the police begin questioning him about Arlen’s death, Nathan does what any reporter worth his salt would do: he tries to solve the case himself – before gorgeous Lieutenant Matthew Spain catches wind of what Nathan’s trying to hide.
Matt knows Nathan’s hiding something and he thinks he has a clue as to what. For Matt has the same secret; and it could ruin his entire career. But even though he can’t rid himself of his desire for Nathan, Matt isn’t about to let the other man out maneuver him. Because Matt’s case and Nathan’s quest are about to put the reporter right in the middle of danger.
Just like in the great movies of the era in which it’s set, everyone has something to hide in Snowball in Hell. From the first page, I fell in love with the way Josh Lanyon brought 1940s Los Angeles to life; I felt like I could almost literally step right into the story and walk alongside Nathan and Matt.
Charmed as I was by the world, it’s Matt and Nathan themselves that give Snowball in Hell emotional resonance. The pair live in a time where they have to hide their attraction to one another. That fear, the ever-present threat of discovery, weighs them down, Nathan in particular. Nathan needs to have a connection with another man, even if it’s only physical. But he sees being gay as wrong and there’s such pain in him that it tugs on the heartstrings. Matt, in turn, is aware of the risk his attraction for Nathan presents but he doesn’t see his feelings for Nathan as “wrong.” I was captivated watching desire draw Matt and Nathan ever more closely together. I eagerly turned the pages (so to speak) of Snowball in Hell, wanting to see them try and make a relationship work.
Snowball in Hell is a multifaceted book that works on so many levels – as a romance, historical, whodunit, and it even has a dash of suspense. Like all of Mr. Lanyon’s stories, the different elements of Snowball in Hell weave seamlessly together to provide one hell of a great read. The conclusion of Snowball in Hell is a satisfying one, but I admit I was thrilled to learn that Snowball in Hell is just the beginning of Matt and Nathan’s journey. I loved Nathan and Matt and can’t wait for the next book in Mr. Lanyon’s Doyle & Spain series!