33 Minutes by John Charles

33 Minutes by John Charles
An Asher Radman Gay Mystery

Publisher: Manifest Vision Publishing
Genre: Suspense/Mystery/Thriller, LGBTQ, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

It only took 33 Minutes for them to die

Three dead, two in critical, but why? One fact in common – all had purchased their morning coffee from the same place. Were they the intended victims, were their deaths a cover to ruin the transgendered owner of The Coffee Stop, or were their deaths in vain?

Routine didn’t exist for Senior FBI Agent Asher Radman. He was highly respected and had proven himself with hard unsolvable cases. To Asher, his job was his life. Everything else slipped into the background as he worked to solve the impossible cases he was assigned
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Despite intensive interviewing of coworkers who knew the victims, Asher was at a loss. Who was the intended victim? Was this the start of a serial killing spree? Was there another reason why the killer poisoned only the regular coffee in The Coffee Stop? And how did the killer get the poison into the pot of coffee?

To complicate matters, Kyle, his long-term lover had professed his undying love that very morning. His emotions were running high, but his love for Kyle would have to be put into the container where he held all his personal passions while working a case. There would be time for him to open that box. It just wasn’t now.

Coffee isn’t supposed to be this dangerous.

Asher was a friendly, likeable protagonist who had a soft spot in his heart for people who are misunderstood or excluded. This was my first introduction to his mysteries, so I appreciated the background information he shared about his childhood. While it wasn’t directly connected to the case he was currently working on, it sure went a long way in endearing me to him. It was nice to get to know him as an individual and learn about some of the early life experiences that shaped his personality in all sorts of pleasant ways.

I would have liked to see more attention paid to developing the mystery itself. Poisoning a coffee pot in a busy café was such a disturbing crime, especially since the killer’s motive was unclear and none of the victims seemed to be anything other than ordinary strangers. If the author had spent more time exploring this part of the storyline, I would have been quite happy to pick a much higher rating as everything else was well done.

The steamy romance between Asher and Kyle was handled nicely. They’d been dating for a little while but had yet to discuss certain things or take their relationship to the next level. I liked the way they discussed their feelings as both men tried to figure out when or if to make their fledgling relationship a little bit more official than it had been before.

33 Minutes: An Asher Radman Gay Mystery was a short and snappy mystery that I’m glad I read.

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