Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5Original Review Link
When a priceless folio of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST is stolen from the home of San Francisco socialite Brett Sheridan’s fiancée, Brett knows that he needs to be the one to halt the ensuing scandal…especially if – as he suspects – his sister is involved in the theft. His future father-in-law has given Brett three days to recover the folio before he goes to the police, and Brett can’t afford to anger the man whose pocketbook will save Brett’s own family’s fortune. The need for a private investigator sends Brett to the office of Neil Patrick Rafferty. But the case soon leads Rafferty and Brett on a merry chase; one that includes twists and turns that neither saw coming. The biggest twist being the undeniable attraction between the pair. Brett’s future depends on him going through with his marriage, and his illicit desire for another man means he could lose everything. The clock’s ticking, and it won’t be long before Brett has to make a choice that’ll change his life.
Author Josh Lanyon’s writing sparkles as he takes readers for a spin in the Thirties-style crime fiction, THIS ROUGH MAGIC. Mr. Lanyon has said that THIS ROUGH MAGIC is a riff on THE THIN MAN, but while THIS ROUGH MAGIC takes place in the Thirties and shades of Hammett’s famous novel color the book, don’t expect Rafferty and Brett to be Nick and Nora – or even Nick and Nick. Rafferty and Brett are wholly unique characters, and they’re heroes I fell hard and fast for. Rafferty looks the part of a hardened PI, but he’s surprisingly – and even adorably – sweet. I worried Brett would break his heart, and Mr. Lanyon kept me guessing as to how things would work out for the pair. Brett’s determined to marry heiress Juliet Lennox, but his reasons for doing so stem from a single-minded effort to keep his head-in-the-clouds family afloat. Brett and Rafferty are sympathetic characters and being that this is a historical, Brett’s engagement is actually the smallest of the obstacles their burgeoning relationship faces.
A cast of idiosyncratic secondary characters bring flashiness to THIS ROUGH MAGIC, contrasting perfectly with the more grounded Rafferty and Brett. The mystery of who stole the folio isn’t hard to figure out, but it’s Brett and Rafferty’s journey that the case is a catalyst for which gives THIS ROUGH MAGIC its life. By turns tender, witty and charming, THIS ROUGH MAGIC was a delight to read, and I can’t wait to see Rafferty and Brett’s story continue in the next SHOT IN THE DARK book.
Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here courtesy of Romance Junkies.