Gumption & Gumshoes by Alex Kidwell

Gumption & Gumshoes by Alex Kidwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (180 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

August Adahy Mendez would rather be buried in the world of his detective novels or a good film noir movie than in real life. He’s overweight, undermotivated, and stuck in a dead-end job. As a Chincha, he’s part of a long line of chinchilla shifters, but the greatest accomplishment in his life so far has been moving an hour away from his close-knit herd. That all changes when August’s grandfather leaves him enough cash to pursue his dream: becoming a detective himself.

Sam Ewing is a bitter divorcé who enjoys watching football and being alone. It’s easier when his only interaction with people is when he collects rent from his office building tenants. Then August rents space from him to set up his new detective agency, and Sam is drawn to him despite his misgivings.

Sam soon finds himself involved with one of August’s cases, and the men join forces to catch their criminal. The greater challenges they face, however, are how August makes Sam want to give love a second try and how Sam makes August believe that real life might be even better than fiction.

Sometimes a chinchilla does what a chinchilla has to do. Auggie was working a dead end, miserable job when he got an unexpected inheritance from a relative. Deciding to fulfill his life long dream of being a private eye, like in the film noir genre, Auggie sets out his detective shingle and hopes for work. When his biggest case gets complicated, Auggie needs his landlord’s help. Sam may find chubby Auggie adorable and delicious, but he’s still bitter over a bad divorce. However, even Sam can’t fight his attraction once he realizes Auggie also can shift into a chinchilla. Who has ever ignored that amount of cuteness?

Gumption & Gumshoes is a fun and easy read. There’s a mystery portion along with the romance but mostly the story centers on Auggie coming to terms with the various parts of his life. He’s a fun protagonist and not one often seen in romance, let alone erotic romance. He is overweight, self-conscious and has a real of self-esteem. He can’t seem to believe that Sam could be interested in him and this lasts for a while in the story. Even so, Auggie is relatable and warm. I couldn’t help but adore him and his shifting to chinchilla. That’s a usual detail and I appreciated the author’s clear research in that area. Sam is less interesting only because he seems to exist to bolster Auggie’s ego.

This is where the story slows down and encounters some problems. The two men have sex about halfway through and from then on, they’re instantly in love and constantly reassuring the other man how much they love them. It’s really quick and turns sappy easily. I don’t mind that really but I thought it went overboard here and the mystery just disappeared entirely to my disappointment. The mystery is what I really wanted the story to focus on since there was nothing to the romance. They meet, have sex, fall in love and plan a long future almost instantly so the story needed something to keep it moving forward. Unfortunately it never really found that focus after the first half.

I still found the story fun to read and I really liked the main character of Auggie. I wish the romance hadn’t happened so quickly and then been a sex fest but that’s a personal preference. Other readers may not mind instant love themes. I love the idea of those old noir detectives recreated for a modern time so Auggie’s love of the genre really helped carry me through any rough points. For those reasons I enjoyed this one but I think it suits specific readers who like those details. Otherwise it may be too unfocused to please some readers.

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