I’ve been on a binge for the last week, or so. I’ve been binging on as many Josh Lanyon novels as I can cram in. This love of Lanyon started in 2014 when I discovered her Holmes & Moriarity series. I love that series. I adore Christopher Holmes something fierce! I think that Christopher (Kit) Holmes rivals Victor Bayne (PsyCop by Jordan Castillo Price) as the fictional character I most relate to, as much as a heterosexual 37 year old woman can relate. I love how insecure they are, their self doubt, and how they always see their own actions as awkward. I really love that despite their awkwardness, their partners think they are the most beautiful and amazing people. It creates an interesting and romantic dynamic.
My love didn’t stop there. To date I’ve read 15 Josh Lanyon books, and here’s what have come to expect from a Josh Lanyon novel:
- Well written Mystery Romances
I’m a fan of your regular run of the mill romance novels. Books that are strictly about the relationship, emotional and physical, between two people are what I’m the most drawn to. I am not generally a fan of mystery novels and that’s probably because, for me, usually the relationship area of mystery novels is mediocre. That lack of connection ruins everything for me. However, it’s the marriage of ta good mystery with the romance that makes Josh Lanyon books extra special. The mystery may be the focal point of the story, but it doesn’t entirely overshadow the relationship building. There’s a great partnership between the two genres. It reads effortlessly.
- Exceptional M/M relationships
Again, as a fan of romance in general, in the last 5 years or so I’ve gotten really into M/M romance. Of all the romance books I read, which is a lot, M/M likely makes up more than half of them. With that said, Josh Lanyon’s M/M romances are in the top of my favorites. While half of the couple tends to be ‘macho’ and the other ‘brainy’, both characters always have vulnerabilities. It’s the vulnerabilities that bring a character to life, and I feel like Josh Lanyon just really gets that.
- Unique Lead Characters
Not only is the character outline generally original, they don’t even the same. It’s almost like Lanyon’s writing formula changes with each character. I honestly feel like someone could pick out a line from Adrien, or Kit, or Elliot and I could tell you which character said it. Adrien has almost a British air about him. Kit is self-deprecating, and Elliot (despite the trauma) is very sure of himself and confident. There’s almost nothing about them that’s the same. The ‘lovers’ maybe have more in common, but even they are different from each other down in their core. For such a long backlog of books that’s pretty incredible, I think.
- The Love Scenes!
I’m not a prude. I like a good, well placed, sex scene. I don’t even mind if there are a lot of them. Some of my favorite books have an abundance of sex, multiple times throughout the story. It works if it fits with what’s happening. (I’ve read books with sex that felt random and forced, and that’s the worst.) The sex scenes in a Josh Lanyon novel are few and far between. There’s usually only a few in each book, some books only have one, and that feels perfect because the sex you do get is HOT and intimate. The sex serves to open the characters up, make them feel something, not just just to get the readers pheromones pumping. When Kit and JX make love you feel it in your heart, not just in your loins. Again, it’s a perfect balance between romance and sex.
- Alternating Mystery Style
While Josh Lanyon is a mystery writer, her writing style does not stay the same. In Adrien English Mysteries the books have the old ‘caper’ type feel. In Holmes & Moriarity, you get the impression of the old television mysteries like Perry Mason, or Murder She Wrote. Then again with All’s Fair, the stories read like FBI crime drama’s. Even the terminology changes. Kit talks about ‘motive’, and gathering everyone for a big reveal in the drawing room. In All’s Fair, they use words like ‘unsub’. It’s like, you never get the same set up or outline. Every series is like something new, but with all the quality you know you can expect from Josh Lanyon.
I know that there was some drama with Josh Lanyon regarding her gender, and having hid that she was a woman by writing under a male author alias, one that people believed was a a gay author. (I’ve never seen where the author explicitly said their sexual preference, only that she used a mail author picture and a mail pseudonym.) I recognize how that may have been frustrating, a type of appropriation. To play devils advocate, perhaps 15 years ago she didn’t feel as though she would be taken series in the genre, writing as a woman. For decades woman authors were hiding behind male names and images, like Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Bronte, etc.
Overall, though, I find that I just don’t care. I’m sorry… All I care about is how well a story is told, and Josh Lanyon, or whatever your name is, you tell one hell of a good story.