The Monuments Men Murders
The Art of Murder Book IV
by Josh Lanyon
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Pub Date 28 Jun 2019 | Archive Date 29 Aug 2019
Despite having attracted the attention of a dangerous stalker, Special Agent Jason West is doing his best to keep his mind on his job and off his own troubles.
But his latest case implicates one of the original Monuments Men in the theft and perhaps destruction of part of the world’s cultural heritage—a lost painting by Vermeer. Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander Emerson Harley wasn’t just a World War II hero, he was the grandfather Jason grew up idolizing. In fact, Grandpa Harley was a large part of what inspired Jason to join the FBI’s Art Crime Team.
Learning that his legendary grandfather might have turned a blind eye to American GIs “liberating” priceless art treasures at the end of the war is more than disturbing. It’s devastating. Jason is determined to clear his grandfather’s name, even if that means breaking a few rules and regulations himself—putting him on a collision course with romantic partner BAU Chief Sam Kennedy.
Meanwhile, someone in the shadows is biding his time…
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 20 members
Oh, this was FAN-TAS-TIC!
The mystery was, as always with Lanyon, one that keeps you engaged until the end, but this time it felt even more urgent, as it was deeply entangled with Jason's life. And the resolution? Brilliant! Totally unexpected.
Now regarding Jason and Sam... *deep sigh* Let's first come clean: Jason is my favourite. I admire Sam, he's focused and driven, but he wouldn't be my first choice, not even as a friend. He's too... emotional challenged? Closed off? Stand-offish? Nevertheless, he is a great character, ideal for conflict :P
And boy, does he generate conflict here! I understand why he reacts as he does, but that doesn't mean that I justify it. Jason goes to him for help, and he leaves him hanging :/ And the whole Petty thing? Is he really so blind to Jason's feelings?
And yes, Sam does grovel. A bit. When Jason walks away. But I'm afraid that as Sam himself says, he will hurt Jason again.
In a lighter note, I loved JJ and Jason bonding over their utter disbelief at their significant others loving the idea of living in Montana :P
Also, I will never look at pigeons in the same way ever again :P
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Someone is watching. Someone is waiting.
Despite having attracted the attention of a dangerous stalker, Special Agent Jason West is doing his best to keep his mind on his job and off his own troubles.
But his latest case implicates one of the original Monuments Men in the theft and perhaps destruction of part of the world's cultural heritage--a lost painting by Vermeer. Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander Emerson Harley wasn't just a World War 2 hero, he was the grandfather Jason grew up idolizing. In fact, Grandpa Harley was a large part of what inspired Jason to join the FBI's Art Crime Team.
Learning that his legendary grandfather might have turned a blind eye to American GIs "liberating" priceless art treasures at the end of the war is more than disturbing. It's devastating.
Jason is determined to clear his grandfather's name, even if that means breaking a few rules and regulations himself--putting him on a collision course with romantic partner BAU Chief Sam Kennedy.
Meanwhile, someone in the shadows is biding his time...
When it comes to men and their romances, Josh Lanyon has managed to write some incredibly complex and psychologically convoluted relationships. Whether it's the brilliance of The Adrien English Mysteries and the long twisted road that Adrian English and Jake Riordan took to happiness or perhaps her Holmes & Moriarity series with its deep levels of mixed ties professional of authorship and personal relationships intertwined to confuse and befuddle its two main protagonists, you can count on a story that is both haunting and gripping to the end.
So it continues to be with The Art of Murder series and the tortured relationship between Special Agent Jason West and BAU Chief Sam Kennedy. Always strained by their own past histories and by the long distance between their offices, the latest attack by Jason's stalker has put additional pressures on Jason's mentally and emotionally. He's missing his partner's support although he won't admit it. The constant threat to his safety is imperiling his health, he's not sleeping. And Lanyon makes us feel every second, every minute of West's anxiety and fear.
For me this series runs neck and neck with Adrian English with its couple and labyrinthine path to any sort of happiness. And we are only at book four. Lanyon just demonstrates a consistent excellence in character development, depth of storyline, and overall arc that showcases her prowess as an author. These are not easy men but hard, articulate, intelligent men in demanding jobs that take them around the country or all over the world in some cases. It puts them in danger, and has cost them highly in emotional terms. Especially one. They have hugely different (and by now well known to the readers) back histories that contribute sometimes to their difficulties in their relationship. Everything they argue about, try to work through is grounded in something authentic and real. So we as readers bleed emotionally with them when they hurt in these times. And they are many considering who they are and what they are going through.
Which is a series theme with a truly evil stalker for West. This is one thread that is chilling in more ways than one. As it's been playing out, its psychologically physically, and emotionally scary. After that is a mystery/murder per novel that is enthralling. Often involving artwork which brings in Jason, then a murder which will involve Sam. Somewhere all will overlap in a mentally challenging narrative that will have you glued to the page until it's all done.
Like it did here. Where it looked to tear my heart out right up to the last sentence.
Where it teetered on the brink of despair and barely brought it back again. Just barely. Oh these men.
Stories and series like this is one of the reasons I read They aren't easy but they keep you thinking, your mind and heart are always alert for what's coming next. And you never see it when it hits you.
So amazing. Lanyon can't write them fast enough for me. I need the next one now.
If you aren't familiar with this series. I have listed them all for you below. Read them in the order they were written. Then this amazing novel next. I highly recommend them all for those looking for contemporary romances with adult long paths to happiness and mysteries too. Trust me, just brilliant.
Cover art works for the storyline and to draw your eye to the book. Great job.
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Kindle Edition, 199 pages
Published June 30th 2019 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
Edition Language English
Series The Art of Murder #4
The Art of Murder Series
The Mermaid Murders
The Monet Murders
The Magician Murders
The Monuments Men Murders
The Movie-Town Murders winter 2020 smh!
I have enjoyed this series so much. Jason and Sam are one of my favorite Lanyon couples and they have a lot of stuff to work out in this book. Jason is investigating a crime that his late grandfather may have been involved in. He hasn’t told anyone his connection to the case because he knows he’ll be taken off of it right away but he doesn’t think anyone else can handle it.
Sam is in the same town as Jason tying up a case with a team he previously worked with. One of the agents working with Sam is a past lover. Jason feels insecure because there are uncertainties in their relationship. Sam never wanted to be serious with anyone, he’s married to his job. Jason knows he would love more with Sam but he doesn’t know how that would work out. He understands Sam’s work comes before him but the longer the relationship moves on feelings will always be involved. The relationship angst in this was so good! It added a depth to the relationship part of the story. What Jason and Sam have has never been the typical relationship and this book tested them majorly and not only because of a past lover.
This ends abruptly but there is a bonus on the authors Patreon page. There is still much left in the air and it seems we have quite a wait for the continuation.
This is classic Josh Lanyon at her finest.
...."there was not one ounce of superfluous flesh on Sam
Kennedy’s body. He ran every day, rain or shine, boxed,
lifted weights, and worked out regularly. He watched his
diet, did not smoke, and only drank to excess on
weekends—which he rarely took, so that was moot.”
Yes! The drool worthy Sam Kennedy is back in this fourth book of the Art of Murder series. This is another solid mystery with two gritty main characters, Sam Kennedy and Jason West.
Jason is trying to solve another art crime which involves artwork that was stolen by soldiers during WW2. This isn't a simple case of artifacts gone missing, his deceased grandfather is also implicated in this crime and Jason knows that his grandfather would never have allowed the soldiers under his command to steal the artwork they should have been protecting.
Jason knows he is too close to the case and he shouldn't be investigating it but he doesn't trust that anyone else will be driven to investigate it in the same way he would. Jason's old enemy Kyser has disappeared and this is yet another pressure on him but he finds comfort in Sam and it seems Sam feel the same way about Jason
“I like to look at you,” he said simply. “I like to look in your eyes, I like to see your face. You’re very expressive, and that’s…enjoyable.”
Sam is still very much Sam with his no-nonsense, "my way is the right way," approach to solving crime. The two men feel for each other deeply and have managed to sustain their long distance relationship but they still find themselves clashing with each other and wondering if they can make it last especially when it comes to their work.
Their road to love is definitely not a smooth one and with a psycho stalker still on the loose and crimes to solve it was never going to be easy.
One of the reasons I like this series is the maturity of the relationship between the two men. Jason is very expressive and deep with his emotions, while Sam comes across as very formal and not given to much emotional expression. Sam's emotions are held beneath a tough exterior but when he is together with Jason the emotions emerge in his actions and speech.
Both men recognise the challenge of their long distance relationship and their differences in personality but do they have enough love between them to make it work?
In the midst of all the relationship challenges is a mystery about stolen art and Jason makes some decisions that could compromise him. I am not really an arty person but I enjoyed reading this. There are so many interesting aspect to the story - art crimes, murder, mystery, love, professional ethics and the shadow of past loves. It makes it a gritty read which is just how I like my mysteries. Roll on to the next episode!
Copy provided by JustJoshin Publications via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
Lanyon gives us a compelling story here, combining the mystery of Nazi-plundered art treasures (and the possibility that Jason's beloved grandfather was involved in illegal theft) with the continuing arc of Jason and Sam's relationship. Jason is passionate about proving that his grandfather had nothing to do with the misappropriation of a Vermeer painting worth millions and he is willing to flaunt FBI rules and regulations to do so.
Jason's adamant misguided insistence in lying made me <i>crazy</i>, (and I spent far too much time yelling at my Kindle). Jason has always been committed to his career, so it seemed somewhat disingenuous when, after finally coming clean to Sam about his connection to the case, Jason is stunned to realize he has potentially destroyed their relationship and his career. Also the vague subplot about SA Travis Petty and his past with Sam and Jason's jealousy felt a bit contrived.
But as always, the best part of an Art of Murder series book is how Jason and Sam manage to make their relationship work, and by the end of the book, I was already looking forward to the next book in the series and seeing how Jason and Sam are meshing their lives together. Another great read from Josh Lanyon. 4.5 stars.
This is, surprising to me at least, becoming one of my favorite Lanyon series. It started slowly for me. But with each new book, and with bit of Sam Kennedy chipping away as he falls deeper for Jason West, I am loving each. And with the every present fear of Jeremy Kyser lurking around, I’m drawn to every twist and turn that happens in these books. And damn, is Lanyon a MASTER with research. Every painstaking detail had me in awe, to be honest.
BTW, the last chapter, the last exchange between Sam and West had me crying. My heart may not recover. I need the next book immediately.
This book has quite a lot going for it... murder & mystery, love & relationship issues and professional ethical questions that Jason needs to come to grips with! This time the art crime revolves around artwork stolen by soldiers during WWII. This mystery is a lot more personal this time as it involves Jason's grandfather.
I am enjoying the maturing relationship between Sam (formal and a wee bit dour) and Jason (a little more expressive and open ). Jason is focused (and gets far to closes to the case) as he becomes fixated on resolving this and exonerating this dead grandfather.
It's really nice to actually see them together for a longer stretch of time as they have been trying to continue this relationship long distance so far.
Overall - a really good read and worthy additional to the series
A complimentary copy was provide via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
First, you have GOT to be kidding me with that ending!!!! JL, we've talked about this. Well, I've talked about it. 😊 These endings are not allowed. How am I supposed to wait for a year to read the next book? I hate it when my men are not happy. I am totally emotionally invested in these fictional characters and I love it.
5 star read for sure and I highly recommend. This is not a standalone and must be read in order. Oh how I wish this never ended and how I wish I knew these guys if only to console them and knock them on the head, lol.
Murder, mystery, lost treasure, romance, long distance relationships, two strong men who love each other and are navigating their way they in a relationship that is still new to them. They've never had a relationship like this before and it's hard. I was so upset when the thing happened. I wasn't sure what JL was going to leave me with. Sure they are in the same room when it ends but they are not back to where they were.
Love really screws with reason and logic. Toss in a stressful job and both working hard cases, it's ripe for drama. Jason is working a case that involves his deceased grandfather. He is also still getting over the trauma of Dr. Kyser from the last story. Sprinkle in a family who will do anything to keep looted Nazi treasure, including murder, and Jason is beyond stressed. And Sam, when is he not stressed? Same old same old with Sam. But then he learns that Jason is essentially lying about the case with his grandfather, and I am surprised Sam didn't have a stroke.
I don't really want to say too much about what actually happens plot wise because that will ruin the suspense.
I am addicted to JL and this series. I am so in love with Jason and Sam and really hope the series continues for a long time. The amount of research JL did to make this story real is astounding. How is she not living on a mountain with people pilgrimaging to bring her gifts and services daily? She is a GOD!!!! And the sooner people recognize this the sooner she will have mercy and write more, write faster and grace us with her presence as she bestows upon us those gifts. 😍😍😍😍😘😘😘😘
In case you missed it I am a super fan of JLs. Don't make me wait until 2020!!!
In all honesty, I think this was my favorite book in the series and it certainly bounced back from The Magician Murders, which was my least favorite of the series thus far. We saw so much more of Sam and Jason together in The Monuments Men Murders, even if they were not always seeing eye to eye. I like watching this careful, uncertain dance between Sam and Jason. They are so very different from one another, and, yet, they have a connection that is undeniable. Kennedy is slowly seeming to realize his own humanity. It is an interesting journey for him. I think he finally realized in this book that Jason is capable of walking away from him and his rigid, unyielding approach to life and relationships. I think the only thing Sam Kennedy truly fears is losing Jason West, and in The Monuments Men Murders that fear came close to being realized. I look forward to Lanyon exploring this aspect of the relationship in future books in this series, and I would love to someday read a scene from Kennedy’s POV.
Another aspect of this story that I really enjoyed was the investigation into the stolen artwork with its ties to World War II and the Nazi pillaging of so much of the world’s priceless art. Unlike the previous books, this investigation was truly near and dear to Jason’s heart and would have been even without the accusation against his grandfather. His passion for not only recovering but wanting to return the stolen collection to its rightful owners really came through. I even liked his continuing partnership with J.J. Russell. I think it will be fun to see them paired together in future books.
That being said, this book was over in a flash. I felt as if I finished reading it in the blink of an eye. Jason’s discovery and the wrapping up of the case was very rushed. The end came far too soon. I was rather surprised to turn the page just to discover a note that read, "Jason West and Sam Kennedy will return Winter 2020.” I certainly hope that means January 2020 and not December 2020. I don’t want to wait so long for my favorite Lanyon couple to return. I hope in book five we see more of Jason and Sam together, and more of Sam opening up and letting his guard down a bit.
The Monuments Men Murders was a wonderful reminder of everything I love about Josh Lanyon. It brought me back home. The mystery was so good. I was completely invested in every aspect of it, but what really sold the plot was all the art history. I was fascinated by Verneer, and I wanted to see the art so I could understand just how important the lose was.
I also loved coming back to Sam and Jason. When the series first started I wasn’t sure if I felt any actual chemistry between these two men. That instant electricity was something I’d come to appreciate about Josh Lanyon books, and with Sam and Jason I didn’t feel anything. Today, finishing The Monuments Men Murders, I felt it. I smiled, and swooned, and fell crazy in love with these agents and the balancing act their walking between their love and their careers.
With one book I’ve been reeled right back in, and I can’t wait for what’s next.
To imply Special Agent Jason West is a bit of a basket case means you must know him intimately—much like Chief Sam Kennedy does. He knows that the stalker who has been threatening Jason is still out there and the fact that he can’t always be with Sam is frustrating them both. As diligent as Jason may be, too much casual drinking and late nights that are interrupted by recurring nightmares have begun to wear him down. His latest case is only adding to his already overtaxed mind. There has been a discovery of a hidden cache of World War II treasure that includes a rare Vermeer.
This isn’t necessarily a new thing as Jason has seen various stolen antiquities surface before. This case, however, is complicated by two things. First, the deceased man in question has left the trove of priceless works of art to his family who swears they don’t have them. Secondly, the guy who “liberated” the treasure was under the authority of Lieutenant Commander Emerson Harley, Jason’s beloved grandfather. Since both the thief and his grandfather are deceased, it’s imperative that Jason do everything to clear his grandfather’s name of any hint of wrongdoing. The problem is it goes directly against FBI rules for Jason to head up an investigation where he obviously may have a compromised view of who the criminals really are. So now Jason is hiding from his stalker, from his boss, and even from Sam, the man he loves. He must see this case through, but that could mean the end of his FBI career and of his relationship with Sam.
West and Kennedy are back in the fourth installment of Josh Lanyon’s Art of Murder series. Before I proceed, I must caution you these are not standalone novels; they should be read in order to not only understand the line of work Jason is in, but also his tumultuous relationship with Sam Kennedy. For those who have read the first three books, you are aware that Sam and Jason have finally admitted they love each other and are trying their best to keep a long-distance relationship alive. While this book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, per se, if you know Sam and Jason’s history, it won’t surprise you to know that all is not wine and roses for these guys despite their attempts to stay together. If the stalker isn’t trying to kill poor Jason, then the FBI handbook and Sam’s rather rigid view of how others, except himself, should follow the rules laid out in it to the last detail is sparking some friction between he and Jason.
This time Jason has a vested interest in the case he is working on and has pretty much crossed a line he knows might get him into some pretty big trouble. Between the interesting twists and turns this mystery takes, Sam’s minor sexual fling showing up and trying to wrangle a way onto his team, and Jason’s fears of discovering the grandfather he respected and worshipped may have looked the other way and okayed some war time looting, this novel kept me riveted. Once again, this author uses murder, a bit of mayhem, and fiery sexual tension to craft a story that I wanted to start rereading as soon as I got to the end.
Josh Lanyon is the queen of nuance and a master at building a story to an often shocking climactic ending. When you couple that with this rather tortured love affair between Sam and Jason, you have a recipe for a fantastic murder mystery romance that definitely satisfies. Honestly, waiting several more months to a year for the next installment is kind of killing me already. This was a good, good read—the classic Lanyon I have grown to love.
If you haven’t yet picked up this series, I encourage you to do so. If you’re ready for this latest book, I will say that I highly recommend this one—it was entertaining from beginning to end.
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