Shadows Left Behind
An Historical Mysteries Box Set
by Josh Lanyon
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Pub Date 02 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2021
Five historical novellas including Out of the Blue, The Dark Farewell, This Rough Magic, Slay Ride, and Murder Between the Pages.
Out of the Blue – France, 1916. Grieving over the death of his lover, British flying ace Bat Bryant accidentally kills the man threatening him with exposure. Unfortunately, there’s a witness: the big, rough American they call “Cowboy”—and Cowboy has his own price for silence.
The Dark Farewell – Little Egypt, 1922. It’s the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition has hit Little Egypt where newspaper man David Flynn has come to do a follow-up story on the Herrin Massacre. But the massacre isn’t the only news in town. Spiritualist Medium Julian Devereux claims to speak to the dead—and he charges a pretty penny for it. Flynn is convinced Devereux is as fake as a cigar store Indian, but when Julian begins to see bloodstained visions of a serial killer, the only person he can turn to for help is the cynical Mr. Flynn.
This Rough Magic – San Francisco, 1935. Wealthy playboy Brett Sheridan thinks he knows the score when he hires tough guy private eye Neil Patrick Rafferty to find a priceless stolen folio of Shakespeare’s The Tempest before his marriage to a society heiress is jeopardized. What Brett doesn’t count on is the instant and powerful attraction that flares between him and Rafferty.
Slay Ride - 1943 Montana. Returning home to Montana after being wounded in the Pacific, Police Chief Robert Garrett was hoping for a little much needed Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Man. Instead, he finds himself chasing after a cold-blooded killer on Christmas Day, aided—whether he likes it or not—by eager young reporter Jamie Jameson.
Murder Between the Pages – 1948 Massachusetts. Felix Day, author of the Constantine Sphinx mysteries, and Leonard Fuller, author of the Inspector Fez mysteries, are bitter rivals and the best of enemies. Both happen to be present when a notorious author of roman à clef is shot by an invisible assailant during a signing at historic Marlborough Bookstore.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 21 members
4.25* The quality and variety of the tales and the attention to detail make for a great collection.
4* Out of the Blue - powerful imagery of WW1 in this tale that had a sense of the slightly noncon with Cowboy exacting payment for helping Bat out. If I didn't know Josh Lanyon is American, I'd have said that this was a tale written by a Brit and a history buff at that. Her language was so authentic, I couldn't help but be impressed on top of already being impressed by her as an author. As to the the tale, it made me sad that Bat couldn't mourn his loss, at the steps he and Cowboy had to take to stay under the radar. I wasn't sure if I liked Cowboy but he had his own sense of right and wrong and he went out on a limb for Bat. Given the circumstances, I understood the shades of grey within which both men operated and I hoped they could find something lasting, despite the war and despite the time they lived in keeping them apart.
4.5* The Dark Farewell - this tale had me disliking Julian at the start, thinking him arrogant in his youth, endangering himself and David, but part way through the storyline, the ante got upped and a different side to him emerged. Until this point, not having read the blurb, I thought he was a red herring and that the Casey character was one of the co-leads. Julian's belief that he was defective, coupled with his grandfather using him and abusing him, made me sad and though the ending had the faintest touch of being a bit too convenient, I liked that he found a champion in David. JL did well with the red herrings in this and I was thrown off the track about the serial killer. Reading this, though attitudes were appropriate to the time of the tale, it made me glad to be living in more enlightened times and yet sad that some of the stigmas I read about still exist.
4* This Rough Magic - not my favourite of the antho, because the ending felt a tad unrealistic. And, if I'm not mistaken, something that had been bigged up close to the end didn't get an on-page explanation, but the tale did have me wrong-footed for its entirety. I didn't warm to Brett because of his determination to go ahead with a marriage for the wrong reasons, and I don't just mean because he was gay, but I found it surprising that the rougher, more experienced Rafferty was prepared to bare his soul and be Brett's protector in more than one way. I'm not sure that I saw these two together as a couple, as they were separated by social class and because there wasn't enough of an explanation of their future lives at the end, but the story was still incredibly authentically written. Again, I have to admire the detail and the sense of JL doing her research. Some of the terminology, though appropriate to the time the tale was set, was jarring to me in these days of being PC and as a non-Caucasian, but it was entirely in keeping with the tale, and kudos to JL for not shying away from what another author might have. It did have some of my favourite lines of the antho in it: ...a butler who looked like a close relative of Bela Lugosi came to the door and enquired, in a high-hat British accent, what Rafferty required. Rafferty required an audience with that man of affairs, William Lennox. Dracula regretted that Mr. Lennox was not available. ..."I do not believe so, sir," Dracula drawled in a manner clearly designed to discourage tradesmen and others whose names were not found in the pages of Social Register. Intelligent, amusing writing from JL as usual, which bumped this tale from 3.5* to 4*
3.75* Slay Ride I read this a while back but only vaguely remembered the tale. I reread it in this antho, this time round prepared that I would not be reading a romance first and foremost. Again, I admire the true-to-the-period writing, and it was interesting to read about the prejudices and constraints within which non-het people had to live with. Given that this tale is only set in 1943, and that one lead was about 23 and the other about 28, I think I'd have liked to see how the leads fared living as landlord and lodger, over time. Even if the leads only lived another 40-50 years, that'd have brought them into more accepting times and to know how they had lived their lives and whether they got a chance to be true to themselves would have made me rate this higher.
5* A good old-fashioned whodunnit, reminiscent of JL's more recent tales, such as the Holmes and Moriarty ones. I was utterly clueless about the murderer, finding myself distracted by an excellent red herring thrown in with the right amount of casualness. There was far less of a romantic aspect in this, which was perfect for the tale, given that the leads antagonised each other and that the whole tale took place over a period of just under 24 hours. So much detail, so many characters, some dry humour and quips, and so many other events that it seemed that far longer had lapsed, resulting in an excellent tale, which was the read of the antho.
ARC courtesy of JustJoshing Publishing, Inc. and NetGalley, for my reading pleasure.
I love Josh Lanyon. That is a fact: she's one of my go-to authors when I'm in the mood for mystery and romance, so when I saw this box set on Netgalley I HAD to request it. I love historical fiction and I also love murder mysteries, so this seemed like the perfect type of read for me and for any fan of the genre.
I loved it, some novellas more than others, but nevertheless, I loved it. All five of them combine romance and heartache, hope and pain, and each one of them have their own brand of mystery set in different historical periods.
I enjoyed them all, but I think my favourites were definitely the third and fifth novella: "This Rough Magic" set in a magical 1935 atmosphere, where rich and privileged Brett Sheridan (who's also on the brink of a nervous breakdown) hires Patrick Rafferty, a rough private detective, to solve the mystery of a stolen folio; and also "Murder Between Pages", a locked-room mystery that delighted me to no end, featuring two rival writers that decide to team up and play amateur sleuth to solve a murder. It was glorious.
I recommend this box set to any Josh Lanyon hardcore fan, but also to readers that enjoy historical mysteries. it was a truly delightful anthology and each of the five novellas have their own distinct atmosphere and setting, an unforgettable cast of characters and some really enjoyable (and sometimes bonkers) mysteries.
Shadows Left Behind is a collection of five novella length historical mystery romances by Josh Lanyon. Released 1st April 2021, it's 632 pages and is available in ebook format. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.
According to my excel book review spreadsheet, the majority of my TBR and review selections are historical mysteries (followed closely by non-fiction, mostly cookbooks and gardening). I really love reading mysteries set in the past and enjoy solidly immersive, detailed, and well written stories most of all.
This collection has 5 different novellas and all were engaging and well written. They vary in setting from WWI to just post WW2. The mysteries are serviceable and the romance plots are integral to the story. Since it's Josh Lanyon, most readers will already be aware of the romance angle, but they're all M/M romances and some of the descriptions are graphic, if that's an issue.
The stories vary from 3-5 stars. I enjoyed them all but my favorite was the final selection "Murder Between the Pages". It's a locked room mystery and full of humor and snark.
Four stars. Not really safe for work/commute reading. Entertaining and well written.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
'Shadows Left Behind' by Josh Lanyon. Josh Lanyon really knows how to weave a story together! Shadows Left Behind is a collection of historical novellas but each story reads like a fully fleshed out novel. I had previously read three of these stories but it is certainly not a chore to re-read them, because let's be honest, Lanyon is my most re-read author. This collection includes 5 unrelated novellas, they are all historical mysteries involving a love story. I believe Murder Between the Pages is my favorite story included in this collection as it involves a closed room murder scenario and features my two favorite male lead characters.
In my view, there is a difference between a romance and a love story and all of these stories fall firmly under the heading of, first 'mystery', then 'love story'. The characters are not perfect, sometimes they make questionable decisions and do things the wrong way but that's what makes them so relatable and lovable. I imagine them as real people living in our real world and it amazes me how Lanyon can create so much atmosphere in so few words.
It's usually difficult for me to rate collections because it could have my most favorite and least favorite stories ever but that's not an issue here. Individually, I gave each novella 5 stars.
I've been in a huge reading slump lately but to its credit I finished this anthology collection in about three days. Honestly, it comes pretty close to being written exactly just for me: I am absolutely nuts for this era and consume films of the 30s and 40s like they're air, and if there's anything I've ever wanted it's for there to be more gay romances which use those silly tropes and plotlines I am so fond of. WWI flying aces, newspapermen and private eyes and nutty socialites... genuinely I am such a fan. The attention to historical detail felt very good and I did appreciate that the main plotline in each story was some kind of bonkers mystery.
I feel like anthologies are difficult to critique because they are by their nature a mixed bag; suffice it to say that I liked some of the stories more than others, but found all to be fun & worth reading. I was constantly delighted by the various historical settings and I had so much fun trying to cast old Hollywood actors in these roles in my head. Many thanks to NetGalley and JustJoshin Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Shadows Left Behind is a collection of 5 , smart, engaging, mysterious, humorous written historical novellas set before and after WW1 and WW2 .
I loved them all. Yes, ones a bit more than others . Yet , all are in the 4.5 and 5 stars range.
I enjoyed these novellas so much that right after finish reading them, I got them all in audiobooks. And very happy to say, they are all faultlessly narrated and produced.
I just reviewed Shadows Left Behind by Josh Lanyon. #ShadowsLeftBehind #NetGalley
I would like to start this review with the cover, how subtle and the simple idea there is behind this one. The cover itself got me thinking that I have to read the book cover to cover, no matter how boring or how bad it could be. I had certain expectations, more like hope that the book will be good. Then I started reading the first novella <i>Out of blue</i> and the novella started with a strong and enticing introduction to the story, making me want to read more. Having read all the novellas, it's very difficult to choose the favorite one, but maybe <i>Murder between pages</i> would be the right choice.
I would also like to write how amazed I am with the author's measure to everything in the stories - there is just the right dose of the characters, plot, details, mystery. There are no unnecessary details on something, everything adds up in a good way. Since this is my first contemporary Male/Male book, I have to be honest, it was rather interesting as a completely new experience. I have read before some prolific authors like Oscar Wilde, but although he was criticized for describing the male relationships so openly, it is nothing comparing to Josh Lanyon. Hats off to her, she really did a great job putting these novellas together.
historical-fiction, m-m-mystery, m-m-romance, historical-places-events, historical-research, anthology, paranormal, mental-health-issues, novella, theft, private-investigators, LGBTQIA, murder-investigation, murder, law-enforcement, journalist*****
The publisher's blurb gives the hooks, but here are my reactions to this favorite author's stories in this book.
1. Out of the Blue (1916): grief, loss, pilots in the Royal Flying Corps billeted in France, bullying, erotic affirmation of living, fine love story.
2. The Dark Farewell (1922): the 1922 miners' murders in Herrin, Il are fact. So is Prohibition and the ways that people used to get around it. The reluctant romance between the reporter and the spiritualist is really different from the usual as is the treatment of the supernatural in that era.
3. This Rough Magic (1935): Good mystery with an insight into sudden awareness of a person who finds that he is not who he thinks he is. I'm a sucker for a good mystery.
4. Slay Ride (1943): The police chief had been invalided out of the service after a leg wound in the Pacific. The young reporter keeps trying to enlist but is 4-F. Chasing a murderous thief together they explore a love neither had admitted for a number of years. Moving.
Murder Between the Pages (1948): there is more sly humor in this excellent whodunit that is a lot like the other JL mysteries I love.
Despite my annoyance of anthologies that are not print copies, I really enjoyed each of these stories!
I requested and received a free temporary ebook from JustJoshin Publishing, Inc. via NetGalley. Thank you!
No other author in the M/M genre manages to combine romance and suspense as well as Josh Lanyon. This collection with 5 stories set between WWI and WWII is no exception. Whether it be a boy wonder journalist and the police chief who stole his heart or two feuding crime writers, whose animosity hides real passion, the stories are all well-crafted, masterfully researched and quick-witted. Though varying a bit in quality, it would not be justifiable to give this book anything other than 5 stars!
Ten men, Five stories - set in times when same sex relationships were frowned on and were socially taboo. Although Lanyon is a well-known writer of all things M/M, what makes these stories especially poignant is the times they were set in.
In OUT OF THE BLUE, a grief-stricken British pilot in the RAF who has just lost his lover in battle gets help in hiding a murder from an American ally, who nudges him into a relationship as a quid pro quo. The author provides glimpses of the lives of the many of the pilots of the squadron in the midst of an ongoing investigation into the murder by the French police. The fortunes of the squadron mirror the loss of lives in the combat units involved in WW1. The turnover of pilots, both experienced and rookies, is a telling example of the cost incurred at both national and personal levels in times of war. Although the story is about grim and dire circumstances, hopes of better times permeate throughout.
In THE DARK FAREWELL, a reporter covering the aftermath of the Herren Massacre meets a dubious young medium in his lodgings. When the seances turn into visions of murders committed by a serial killer operating in and around the county, suspects abound. Added to the travails of the couple are the humidity and the prohibition. The author weaves together the stigma associated with M/M relationships at the time, the dearth of hard liquor, the high humidity, mental instability and southern hospitality into a very memorable narrative.
In THIS ROUGH MAGIC, the stakes are high with a missing folio of a Shakespearean play, betrayal, a zealous and vengeful owner of the folio bent on bringing the thief to justice, an apprehensive fiance who suspects his impoverished family members of the theft and a hard boiled Irish private eye tasked with recovering the stolen goods with minimum fallout. The attraction between PI and client is almost instantaneous and is the thread that holds the narrative together. Set in the times of the Great Depression, lingering in the background is the fear faced by the protagonists of exposure to family and society. The story is fast-paced, ripe with misdirection and a wild goose chase. Does the intrepid PI get his man in the end? Is the folio recovered? These are the questions answered by the author in a typical Lanyon-esque closure.
In SLAY RIDE, the theme of closeted lovers repeats, this time in snowy Montana at Christmas time. With a chicken-stealing spree killer bent on making a clean getaway, a police chief who just will not give up and a newspaperman who always seems to be in the midst of where the action is, the story portrays the angst of the couple who grew up together, one of whom is a war veteran and the other, who is unable to qualify to fight on health grounds. Both are dealing with personal loss due to the war in the Pacific - the Chief has lost his best friend who also was the reporter's elder brother. The white Christmas theme persists, with glimpses of joy and hope in the midst of trying times for various characters in the story. The fate of the spree killer is almost an aside, with the focus firmly on the dynamic between the protective police chief and the intrepid reporter.
In MURDER BETWEEN THE PAGES, mystery authors Leonard Fuller and Felix Day vie to solve the murder of fellow author Josiah Shelton at a book reading. Both Fuller and Day have it in for each other, firmly convinced that the other stole the idea of the main character of their mystery series from him. The bodies start falling early on, with a multitude of suspects - a femme fatale, a grieving family and a bookstore full of invitees available to give grist to Fuller and Day's investigative mills. The antagonism between the Fuller and Day resolves into a hitherto unacknowledged mutual attraction as the narrative proceeds and the creators of the fictional detectives Inspector Fez and Constantine Sphinx are put through their paces to solve the mystery of the deaths. The author uses a dual POV, which is a departure from the usual style and takes a bit of getting used to. All in all, a good whodunit that keeps the reader engaged till the end.
Put together, these stories from the past are a reminder of societal intolerance to being different, and a glimpse into the lives of men who found ways to circumvent the norms and rules of society while staying within the boundaries laid for them by society.
Thanks to NetGalley for making a temporary copy of the book available for review.
First and foremost I will say that I'm a huge fan of Josh Lanyon's work, so I was delighted to be able to review this collection of novellas.
Out of the Blue
I found myself immediately drawn in by the setting. This story focuses on pilots in the first world war, and the casualness of character death is both shocking and numbing. I was on edge the entire story, and completely invested. I found myself noticing echoes of The Charioteer in this short story, and I hope desperately that the characters survived their war.
The Dark Farewell
An excellent murder mystery intwined with romance and the uncanny. Despite these stories being novellas, they feel rich and complete. I could easily read longer books with the characters, but I don’t feel like I’m lacking anything.
This Rough Magic
I went through this slower than the others because I wasn’t as fond of Brett as some of the other characters in previous stories. Even though he could prove that he listened to Juliet, I wasn’t overly fond of her treatment. He started to grow on me halfway through the story as I became more immersed in the mystery. I'm not sure if this was just my imagination, but this felt the lengthiest page-wise.
Now that was a ride. This story was faster paced than the previous and went quickly. I took to the characters far faster as well. Even though it felt shorter than the others, it still felt complete. I’m enjoying this collection of brief romantic glimpses.
Murder Between the Pages
As Felix and Len pointed out, this was a locked room mystery. It ended satisfactorily, though I do wonder what became of all these characters in general in their respective universes. While Felix and Len were two very different men, in some parts, I felt like Felix and Len’s voices were too similar, so I had to go back to check whose perspective it was. I do like how each story moves a little further into the 1900s.
This box set has five satisfying stories, all taking place in the early 1900’s. Each setting is different and rich, and speaks in the voice of the era, as well as to its concerns. Despite being shorter than ordinary novels, they still feel complete. Honestly, I was very pleased with the length in general.
Altogether a satisfying read for any fans of Lanyon, or m/m romance/mystery in general.
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