Secret at Skull House by Josh Lanyon Secret at Skull House by Josh Lanyon
Narrator: Matt Haynes
Series: Secrets and Scrabble #2
Published by JustJoshin Publishing on June 17, 2020
Source: Purchased
Genres: Cozy Mystery, M/M Romance
Length: 6 hrs 2 mins
Pages: 208
Format: Audiobook
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three-half-stars

Ellery Page is back--and in hot water again!

Unlike everyone else in Pirate's Cove, Ellery Page, aspiring screenwriter, reigning Scrabble champion, and occasionally clueless owner of the village's only mystery bookstore, is anything but thrilled when famed horror author Brandon Abbott announces he's purchased legendary Skull House and plans to live there permanently.

Ellery and Brandon have history. Their relationship ended badly and the last thing Ellery wants is a chance to patch things up--especially when his relationship with Police Chief Jack Carson is just getting interesting. But then, maybe Brandon isn't all that interested in getting back together either, because he seems a lot more interested in asking questions about the bloodstained past of his new home than discussing a possible future with Ellery. What is Brandon really up to?

Ellery will have to unscramble that particular puzzle post haste. Because after his former flame disappears following their loud and public argument, Ellery seems to be Police Chief Carson's first--and only--suspect.

*This story contains no on-screen sex or violence.

Secret at Skull House is #2 in the Secrets and Scrabble series. It could work as a stand-alone but as with so many series it’s best to read Murder at Pirate’s Cove first to get a better feel for the characters and setting, Things are starting to settle down for Ellery. That is until the news that a famous author of supernatural mysteries – Brandon Abbott – has purchased Skull House, a large, dilapidated house outside of town. Well, almost everyone is excited. Nora, Ellery’s assistant, had hoped the place would be the new home of the local historical society. Ellery is also not thrilled. He and Brandon had been in a relationship several years earlier that didn’t end well. Ellery doesn’t want to see him again, but it’s a small town and that’s impossible. It only gets worse when Brandon is found dead on the rocks below the house. Once again, Ellery is the main suspect and starts asking questions around town.

Ellery is still charming, trying to be a voice of reason but getting pulled into investigating. The townspeople are a quirky bunch. The mystery is well put together and fairly believable. My one complaint is that Jack, police chief and love interest, seems like he’s stringing Ellery along and then making lousy excuses about why they can’t be together. I assume it will work about between the two of them eventually and I know that tension is often part of a romance, but find it a little tedious. It’s a minor issue, but I’m reading this more for the cozy mystery than the romance. Overall though, Secret at Skull House is a quick and enjoyable read. Next up is #3, Mystery at the Masquerade.

About Josh Lanyon

Josh Lanyon is the author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance. Her work has been translated into eleven languages. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist (twice for Gay Mystery), an Edgar nominee, and the first-ever recipient of the Goodreads M/M Hall of Fame award.

Josh is married and lives in Southern California.

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2 Comments

  • The romance part of this book/series does sound a bit tedious, but the rest of it sounds like a lot of fun. I’m going to have a find a copy of the first book in this series just for it’s title alone because Pirates! 😀

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