Chasing Smoke by K.A. Mitchell

Chasing Smoke by KA Mitchell
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (180 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, Suspense/Mystery
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Cactus

An old mystery brought them together. Solving it could tear them apart.

In the best of times, Daniel Gardner hates visiting his family. With his boyfriend pressuring him for a mortgage-serious commitment, Christmas in Easton, PA sounds, for once, like a welcome escape. His old house holds more than memories of a miserable adolescence, though. It has Trey Eriksson.

At seventeen, Trey was taken in by the wealthy Gardner family after his father was jailed for his mother’s murder. Until he left for the Army, he fought a double-edged battle—for proof of his father’s innocence and against his attraction to Daniel.

Fifteen years later, things haven’t changed. Trey is still looking for the real killer. And Daniel has never forgotten how Trey used to sneak into his room at night.

Now new clues to the murder are resurfacing—and so is Trey and Daniel’s sexual chemistry. Except this time, Trey has come to terms with his orientation.

But their connection may not be enough to overcome the mistakes of the past. Not while a murderer still walks free…

Warning: Anyone who would rather not read about hooking back up with someone who broke your heart, minor suspense, hot guys who can handle guns and each other, and lots of steamy gay sex probably isn’t reading this warning anyway, but if you are, back away slowly and keep your hands where I can see them.

New light is about to be shed on a mystery lingering for fifteen years and causes old lovers to reconnect and experience a passion that never died. In this book, dual storylines of unsolved mystery and unrequited romance bring old lovers Trey and Danny together again as they work to find answers to both questions. However, these answers may not be what either man want to hear and each much face personal demons in order to find happiness.

The story revolves around the unsolved mystery of Trey’s parents. Fifteen years ago his mother was killed and his father was shot and blamed for the murder. Trey never believed his father was responsible and has been trying to prove his theory ever since. Now that his former lover and best friend has returned, the two join forces to prove the impossible. However, in my opinion, this mystery plot was poorly written and weak enough that it distracts from the story of the men’s relationship. The mystery is supposed to be the catalyst for why Trey and Danny reunite and resume their relationship. Unfortunately due to the poor quality of the mystery, this reason seemed a bit anemic and flat.

The characters of Trey and Danny show great promise and the writing becomes clear, engaging and interesting when focused on their connection outside of any bad mystery sleuthing. Their reunion is mostly comprised of hot sex scenes and numerous variations on that theme. However the dialogue and supporting characters are vibrant and show the real strength of the book and writing. I wish the author would have focused on that and produced a wonderful story of angst and reconnection instead of on the mystery.

Fans of the author are likely to forgive this surprising anomaly of a story. Given the author’s proven track record of strong writing and great characters, the misstep into mystery will hopefully not happen again. The strengths of the writing and story come too briefly in this book to make it a success but are shown within the dialogue and connections in various relationships. The secondary character of Ginny is a scene stealing and vibrant character, injecting much needed life and warmth into the story, even if the reason she’s there is never explained. While I didn’t love this story due to the problems above, the few great scenes showed the energy and vitality which the author is usually known for combined with the great premise are enough that most fans will likely want to read this story; even if it’s not one of the author’s best efforts.

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