Amazing read! Also tragic, horrible, beautiful, angst-y and – towards the end – hopeful.
The worst tear-jerker ever and I was completely mesmerized.
Synopsis: August Shaw, a Sydney cold-case Detective, buries himself in his work. After suffering a terrible loss, he has put life on hold and instead dedicates all his time to solve murders who are forgotten by everyone except the victims’ families. A series of deaths of young, gay men in particular haunts him. He’s convinced it’s the work of a serial killer, but the deaths aren’t even recognized as murders. Then human remains are found in the Tallowwood reserve, matching the cases August investigates. Jacob Porter who works as a Senior Constable in the sleepy town of Tallowwood is the one who calls in August to assist with the investigation. And there’s a definite spark between them. But as the two get closer and closer to the truth, and each other, what they uncover is putting their own lives are risk.
This is slow-burn romance and emotional healing during a murder investigation that is horrifically realistic in terms of the discrimination LGBTQIA+ persons have been, and are, subjected to.
So it contains lots of triggers. But I was completely sucked into the story. I cried a whole lot, but I simply couldn’t put this book down.
Usually, I prefer stories with lots of lovin’. And the more explicit, the better. However, this is not that kind of book. The murder mystery and suspense is the focus. And the emotional journey of August. But that’s more than enough. Jacob’s and August’s budding relationship is allowed to mature slowly. It feels organic and real. It’s realistic in that Jacob isn’t a cure-all for August, and in that it takes time for August to change the bleak outlook he’s had on life since the death of his boyfriend.
I would have loved for this book to be the first in a series. But then, any follow-up to a story like this would probably feel pretty pale in comparison. I am, however, delighted to find that there is an extended epilogue of sorts, which I’m about to start in on right now.
5 stars! Highly, highly recommend!