Title: A Party To Murder
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Length: 2017 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
When Jamie Roma and Derek Lee find their blossoming love affair interrupted by dual invitations to a house party from a mysterious unnamed host, they think, Sounds like fun. The next thing they know they are caught up in a game of cat and mouse that quickly starts racking up a lot of dead mice. Yikes, they think. Not so fun.Trapped inside a spooky old house in the middle of nowhere, with the body count rising among their fellow guests, they begin to wonder if they'll escape with their lives. As a cataclysmic storm swoops in to batter the survivors, the horror mounts. Oddly enough, even in the midst of murder and mayhem, Jamie and Derek's love continues to thrive. While the guest list thins, so does the list of suspects. Soon it's only them and the killer. And then the battle really begins.
John Inman offers up an “Agatha Christie” serving of mayhem, mystery and murder along with an incredibly sweet friends to lovers trope that made A Party to Murder stand on its own merits and cast any doubts as to how good a storyteller this author can be to the wayside. Seven virtual strangers are invited to a party that promises great “door prizes” at the end of the weekend. When the author had one of the main characters, Jamie, come up with that as his motivation for accepting the strange invite I had to laugh. It’s so lovely to see Mr. Inman infuse his own brand of light-hearted humor into what proved to be a dark and terrifying murder mystery. Along with occasional lulls in action where we got to know Jamie and Derek who were about to move on from being friends with benefits to something more was what gave this book the fresh twist it needed to make it stand out to me.
One by one the other guests are murdered beginning with the discovery of the couple who it’s assumed own the creepy, decrepit house being used to host the weekend party. As each one is found dead, a few clues are carefully laid about to be found by a surviving member but you really are kept in the dark to the very end as to the who and the why the slayings are taking place. Mr. Inman creates an incredibly chilling madman whose motivation for exacting revenge is only revealed as Jamie and Derek are left fighting for their lives.
Honestly this one was a fast read for me and pretty intense. I admit I jumped more than once at the discovery of yet another victim and honestly had no idea who the murderer was until near the very end. But it was the side story of how Derek and Jamie were finally coming to realize that they wanted more than the convenient casual sex they had fallen into a few months before that made this story really shine. I loved both these guys—Jamie for his tender heart and shy way when it came to hoping Derek really did love him and Derek for the way in which he took care of Jamie not because he thought he was weak but because he had fallen so hard for the guy. I loved that in the midst of all the madness they used the few quiet interludes afforded them to express their true feelings to each other. That made the idea of either of them being the next victim even more frightening and worrisome.
John Inman once again creates characters that burrow into your heart and gives us action that chills the bones. A Party to Murder is a well-written mystery with a romantic twist that was thrilling to experience.
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