Book Reviews

The Mystery of Nevermore (Snow & Winter 1) by C.S. Poe at DSP Publications

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Officers of the Law / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 30-August-2016

Book Blurb

It’s Christmas, and all antique dealer Sebastian Snow wants is for his business to make money and to save his floundering relationship with closeted CSU detective Neil Millett. When Snow’s Antique Emporium is broken into and a heart is found under the floorboards, Sebastian can’t let the mystery rest.

He soon finds himself caught up in murder investigations that echo the macabre stories of Edgar Allan Poe. To make matters worse, Sebastian’s sleuthing is causing his relationship with Neil to crumble, while at the same time he’s falling hard for the lead detective on the case, Calvin Winter. Sebastian and Calvin must work together to unravel the mystery behind the killings, despite the mounting danger and sexual tension, before Sebastian becomes the next victim.  

In the end, Sebastian only wants to get out of this mess alive and live happily ever after with Calvin.

Book Review

Sebastian Snow, an antique dealer with enough curiosity for three men, and Calvin Winter, a tough homicide detective deeply in the closet, certainly make their entrance into the opening novel of this new series with a bang. While the mystery of small and large crimes that all seem to be related to Edgar Allan Poe’s various works is the primary focus of this book, the developing relationship between Sebastian and Calvin, as well as the issues both men battle in their lives, take center stage on numerous occasions. This balance between murder investigation and personal feelings was very well managed and both kept me on the edge of my seat. I wanted to know who was committing the crime just about as much as I needed to find out how Sebastian was going to deal with his shambolic love life and as for what made Calvin tick? My curiosity was piqued for sure!
Sebastian is a complicated man. He is passionate about antiques, to the point that he keeps some of them for himself because he cannot bear to sell them. His father was a professor of literature before he retired, and Sebastian not just “inherited” his love of books and literature from him, he has an excellent relationship with the older man. Sebastian doesn’t let his inability to see color and extreme light sensitivity get to him; he has developed coping mechanisms a long time ago. The one area where things are not going Sebastian’s way is his love life. He sees himself as unattractive and frumpy, and the forensics cop who is his live-in lover is not just deeply in the closet, he did not impress me as a very nice man. The constant fights between them should be a big hint for Sebastian, who is unashamedly out, that it may be time to end things. But while Sebastian is rash and impulsive in his professional life, he is oddly hesitant to fix his personal life. It explains why he ends up in an even bigger mess once he realizes he is attracted to Calvin.
Calvin is an intriguing character. His point of view is, unfortunately, not part of this book, so everything I learned was in line with what Sebastian found out. Calvin seems unassailable: he is a successful detective, he is tough and bright, and he takes no nonsense from anyone. But he also seems tired and gets extremely grumpy at times, and that is a big hint that there is much more going on underneath the armor he appears to wear all the time. Sebastian, of course, as curious as he is about everything, can’t leave well enough alone and keeps digging. What he finds explains a lot, but it also makes a relationship very unlikely. Yes, Calvin is gay, but he is so deep in the closet that it might take him years to come out – if he even wants to. And since Sebastian knows what it’s like to live with a closeted cop, he does wonder whether he should even consider getting involved.

For me, as someone who does not usually read murder mysteries, this novel is ideal. First, the serial-killer-aspect was not too gruesome and cleverly constructed with quite a few literary hints and clues – enough to keep me interested. There were enough potential suspects to keep me guessing and the final solution, while not a total surprise, was quite crafty. Second, the complicated characters with all their hang-ups and human weaknesses made for absorbing reading and increased the believability of their interactions for me. And then there was the sheer exasperation with both Sebastian and Calvin’s seeming inability to see what was right in front of them – they are made for each other in every way. They work well together in a professional context and they click on a personal level to the point of attraction morphing into passion every time they are behind closed doors. All of this made for excellent reading.
If you like murder mysteries with a twist, if complex characters with flaws and issues are your thing, and if you’re looking for an enthralling read that will not let you go until you turn the final page, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. I hope there will be many more in this series!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by DSP Publications for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 216 pages/66315 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 30-August-2016
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
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