Book Title: THE GRAVEDIGGER’S BRAWL
Author: Abigail Roux
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Category: M/M, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Main Characters: Ash/Wyatt, Ensemble Secondary Cast
Author’s Website: http://www.abigailroux.com/
Source: Review copy ebook from NetGalley. No remuneration was given for this review — it is my honest opinion about the piece.
Rating: 5 FULL MOONS!
When the past comes back to haunt you, order a double.
Dr. Wyatt Case is never happier than when he’s walking the halls of his history museum. Playing wingman for his best friend at Gravedigger’s Tavern throws him way out of his comfort zone, but not as much as the eccentric man behind the bar, Ash Lucroix.
Ash is everything Wyatt doesn’t understand: exuberant, quirky, and elbow deep in a Gaslight lifestyle that weaves history into everyday life. He coordinates his suspenders with his tongue rings. Within hours, Wyatt and Ash are hooked.
But strange things are afoot at Gravedigger’s, and after a knock to the head, Ash starts seeing things that can’t be explained by old appliances or faulty wiring. Soon everyone at Gravedigger’s is wondering if they’re seeing ghosts, or just going crazy. The answer to that question could end more than just Wyatt and Ash’s fragile relationship—it might also end their lives.
This is my first “real” review, so I suppose my usual habit of just typing, “SQUEEE! OMG I LOVED THIS SO MUCH! I MUST IMMEDIATELY BUY A PAPERBACK KEEPER COPY SO I CAN READ IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. ASH AND WYATT ARE SOOOO CUTE!” Etc. I lose about 30 years off my age when I fall in love with a book.
That reaction was my emotional one. I sat down to start the book and barely got up again until it was finished. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so captured by a paranormal romance! I love ghost stories, but finding a romantic one that’s truly creepy is particularly difficult. In fact, I can’t remember ever reading one in M/M romance!
This book had all the things that make a keeper for me: a fun and scary premise, rich historical details, a setting with a life of its own, amazing characters, and most of all, a terrific love story. THE GRAVEDIGGER’S BRAWL has all of those things. Roux does a particularly intricate job of juggling a number of plot threads besides the romance, without giving any of them short shrift. All of the characters, primary and secondary, felt like real people to the point that I almost felt like I knew them — and I was definitely invested in what was happening to and around them. They were quirky without being unbelievable, and gave me my first exposure, albeit only surface, to Gaslight Culture. Now I want to know more!
Of course, I was right on board for Ash and Wyatt’s story. I liked both of them a lot, and I found myself happy, worried, and terrified for them at various points. A sure sign that Roux produced unforgettable characters! And of course, the sex was hot or hot & sweet, depending on the situation. I need that in my romance — I’m just a smutty kind of girl. The intimacy… and just plain having at it…. didn’t feel shoehorned in just because, either, and that can be tough to achieve.
What really makes this book stand out (besides the rich characters and hot romance) is the history-based horror. Roux is to be commended not only for intricate research, but for effective and entertaining use of it. Anyone can look up a bunch of facts and squeeze them into a book. Here, her experience and what she found is organic and the seed of a story that did something difficult: it scared me!
Click QUICKLY to one of the buy links and grab a copy of THE GRAVEDIGGER’S BRAWL! You won’t want to miss it!
Since I’m just starting book reviews here, I’ll introduce the rating system until I can get a copy on the side of the blog:
OOOOO – Five Full Moons: OMG I LOVE THIS BOOK GO GET IT RIGHT NOW!
OOOO – Four Full Moons: I REALLY liked this. Well worth reading, and possibly re-reading!
OOO – Three Full Moons: Good! Worth a read.
OO – Two Full Moons: Not really to my taste, but not terrible.
O – One Full Moon: Has serious flaws that make it difficult to read and review fairly.
I’ll also be using half-moons as necessary. I should make it clear that I do review books on a number of levels, emotional and structural being the major ones. I might read a book with serious grammar and spelling flaws, but it might still win my heart due to characterization or story. Or a perfectly structured novel might leave me feeling nothing, and won’t get a great review. I DO always try to find something positive to say about a book, or I won’t say anything much at all. I DO NOT engage in mean-spirited snark, although I do give constructive criticism. As a writer, I can’t stand the former, and always appreciate the latter, even if it’s “negative.”
Hope this makes sense. Any questions, comments, or vague misgivings are welcome in the comments!