The least one can say is that I’m late at the party, since this book was published in 2009; and still, it rekindled my interest for the GFY trope. Or is it the closeted gay cop trope? To this day, I can’t decide if Tom is so deeply buried in the closet that he doesn’t even know he’s there, or if he’s straight and gay for Stanley, or an opportunist, or simply moving along the spectrum. I guess it doesn’t matter, or rather, it is this fluidity and its uncertainties that are appealing to me. He is Tom, complex and “an asshole with possibilities”, and Stanley is crazy for him, although not his fool.
When “Deadly Wrong begins”, their partnership is over as well as their affair, because both are without future, aren’t they? So, Stanley takes some time apart from the police and accepts to help an old acquaintance for a very simple case. Really. Stanley is not a trouble magnet. Right?
I really liked the mystery in Deadly Nightshade, but this case…This case is the story of Donnie, the town queen, the town slut. It’s the story of Donnie, who was just a kid and was used and abused, and was killed and denied the chance to have time to sort his life out and be loved. The whodunit is good, but what made the difference for me is that it revolves around a victim who is a character even though he was dead before the story began. The last time loss and unfairness were that palpable that they made it kinda personal, was when I read Son of a Gun, by A.M. Riley. Damn these authors for making me care for a dead character!
So. Back to Tom and Stanley. They have quietened down in this second installment, they are less guarded and less offensive, already unbalanced, already hurt, already in deep, yet far from resolution.I wondered if Tom’s fear had made an opportunist bastard of him, I glared at his name, I cheered Stanley for always standing up for himself, for being such a witty trouble maker and overall for being Stanley, I reconciled myself with Tom with whom I can’t stay on bad terms for very long , and I had a puddle-of-goo moment (think Jake’s “baby”).
In short, I am rooting for the couple’s HEA more than ever, I am enjoying every realist, down-to-earth, gruff, silly, compassionate, funny step on the way, and I am delighting in this romance that has many familiar undertones, yet is so distinctive that you can’t mix it up with any other.