Friday, 25 June 2010

Review - Stone Canyon © AKM Miles


Stone Canyon
Author: AKM Miles
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre:GLBT
Rancher Micah Stone shows up at Private Detective Able Kenton's office with a letter from his late mother. Micah wants answers. Able has his own letter to show Micah. Together they set out to find who killed Micah's mother and why. Their first clue leads them to an attorney and the police. Micah and Able fall in love while going back and forth from the ranch to the city, from one crisis to another. The characters at the ranch keep things hopping with their own lives filled with comedy, tragedy, and love.
They get their answer, but it comes hard.
"It's good to see you again, Mr. Stone. The car you ordered is waiting and the GPS has been set with the address you requested. I'm sorry for your loss, sir. Ms. Lizbet, she was a grand one."
"Thank you, Harry. She was that." Micah said, trying not to wince at hearing more condolences. He'd heard that people felt numb after a while, and he was waiting for that. Right now, thinking about what he'd lost with Lizbet's death was still fresh and painful.
He glanced back at the plane before heading for the car that waited. The Stones had used this small airport on the edge of Oklahoma City for years, and Micah knew most of the staff there.
"I don't know how long I'll be. I trust you to keep it ready for me," Micah shook Richard's hand.
"You know I will, sir. Take care."
Easing the luxury sedan onto the road, Micah punched in the number for the ranch on his cell, knowing Momm would answer.
"Stone Canyon. This you, boss?"
"Is that how you answer my phone, Momm?" There was a tiny bit of amusement in the question. As amused as Micah could be in the circumstances. He felt like he was living under a dark cloud of sadness, grief, and anger.
"Of course not. I'm usually completely professional. I figured it would be you. What can I do for you? I know you didn't want to take the big bag, but I packed for any occasion. Promise you'll hang those things up when you get to where you're going. I can't believe you left looking like you did."
"Why? I don't have to be dressed up to fly a plane, you know. Listen, I want you to be extra careful while I'm gone. If you notice anything unusual, you call me immediately and keep in close contact with Ronnie and Batman, okay. I'm serious, anything out of the ordinary. Don't take any chances. Don't let anyone in that you don't know."
"As if. You know I'm a big weenie. This is my safe place and the only person I feel comfortable having here is you, and sometimes you scare me."
"Bullshit."
"Okay, maybe not anymore. You're a softie, but I know better than to let anyone else know that. You take care of yourself, Micah. This place can't run without you. We'd all be lost. I'll hold down the fort here and you kick some ass up there. This sucks big ones, really." Momm was, as usual, eloquent.
"Colorful as usual, but true in this case. You take care, Momm. I'll be in touch." Micah started to hang up, but he heard Momm mutter.
"I wish."
©AKM Miles
My Thoughts
Recently I have been reading alot of romance suspense and when this popped into my in box I was quite pleased to see that one of my favourite authors has taken the plunge with her first suspense book and with a new publisher for her as well.
 
Stone Canyon is actually a ranch owned by the Stone family for years now, one of the main premise of not only the ranch but their life is helping people who are down and out for whatever reason and they have passed this principle onto their son Micah. This was no hardship for Micah himself because this was how he himself came to be at the ranch.
 
When Mrs Stone dies Micah is barely managing from the loss, so when he gets a letter telling him that his mother was murdered and she knew who did it he is livid. The letter while quite detailed does not give him answers for those he has to find Private Detective Able Kenton to get the rest of the information that he needs.
 
Meeting Able only seem to compound Micah's ire, because even those he is grieving he is still furious at his mother for living in fear for weeks and him on the ranch getting on with the day to day business. Unfortunately for Micah the mystery does not end with Able, it doesn’t even start with him either - what it does is set a steamroller in motion that will eventually see people dying before it rolls to a stop.  
 
Able is a pretty decent investigator left with just enough information to be curious but not enough to make him step out side of his remit as an investigator. When he meets Micah, guilt is his first emotion because he  probably/could have done something with the info he has and none of them would be where they are now. His second emotion his lust because Micah is one sexy cowboy and Able want some of that.
 
It does not take long before both men are burning up the sheets, but their time together is not the stuff of happiness and light because someone knows the can of worm on a evil that has gone on too long is about to be blown open and they will do anything to keep the lid on – including murder.
 
STONE CANYON is certainly something different from what I am used to from Ms Miles. Literally from the first few pages Ms Miles laid out her game plan. This is a murder mystery plain and simple with a romance that might not makes it, not because there is no interest but because they all may die before they get the chance to feel what’s it’s like to make a go of a relationship.
 
All the old predictables that I am used to from Miles are there in STONE CANYON, the cause that the main protags are either fighting for or against, the super sweet characters and of course the author tosses in a pet this time – A huge one at that. Some people might find this off putting , however predictables are like welcome arms for me with some authors – so I really like that aspect of the book. 
 
The main characters themselves were likable enough and I started off liking them alot however as the plot evolved they fritter out to just being backdrop because as much as I knew Micah’s story, Able was a little harder to accept as I really knew nothing about him.
 
There were two young lads in this book - Avery and BJ whose story runs right along side Able and Micah. I really enjoyed having them in the book and to be honest they held much of the book together for me. That said, they were young men and yet I felt their characters were written like teenagers and I ended up getting frustrated with how peppy they were. 
Along with those four there are other characters that were important to the plot and some that just made up the numbers, After awhile I stopped trying to figure out who was who and really wanted to find out who was making life miserable for a whole lot of people.

This might be just my own pet peeve, but there was an over load of “GAY” in this book, not the people – there were a few of those yes, but the assumption of what gay is like and that really drove me crazy. There was the cute apartment the awesome pictures, the kissy touchy me  and of course the obligatory pet, too much.
 
The sex scenes weren’t overly graphic or even too much for me, they were just as expected to be honest however, Avery and BJ journey to intimacy was more a story in itself and I really enjoyed watching that side of their relationship come together.
 
Lovers of romance suspense will have issues with this one, the tension was not there, the details were not defined enough and as a reader I was not privy to much. While I thought the toing and froing from big city to small town was a nice touch once the action came to them it was too easy and wrapped up too conveniently for me to say wow. 
 
Bottom Line
The plot is a new area for me with Ms Miles and I really liked the murder mystery concept, It had possibilities. The first third of this book held together, with mayhem, murder and a early morning scare – the later sections however just got overrun with the personal issues of the multiple cast and the ineptitude of the bad guys.
 
STONE CANYON didn’t come together as it could have as the good guys were too cute and the bad guys were too disorganized even in their stupidity. I say this because the bulk of this book is the mystery.
 
Lovers of Miles work you will immediately see the difference in this body of work compared to her other stuff, while not darker it is a different path, but missing alot of the stuff that usually leaves me with a smile. First time readers I would suggest starting with something else by this author before venturing into this new world that Miles has step into.

10 Speak To Me:

Blodeuedd on 25 June 2010 at 13:58 said...

Must be something about cowboys are rances when they always wanna place the men there ;)

Fiction Vixen on 25 June 2010 at 17:29 said...

m/m - win
cowboys - win
rom suspense - win

This one has the right ingredients. Sorry it didn't blow you away but still sounds like a decent read. Nice review EH

Chris on 25 June 2010 at 18:13 said...

Hmm. Sounds like one I won't be rushing out to get...

Lily on 26 June 2010 at 04:02 said...

It's on my wish list. Someday. :)

Erotic Horizon on 26 June 2010 at 04:53 said...

@Blodeuedd..

I know what you mean - It's the wide open spaces where they can be as free as they like...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 26 June 2010 at 04:55 said...

@FV..

I am big fan of AKM Miles work - this one wss just not one of her best for me - There are bits of it that you will definately love.

Avery and BJ were a treat to meet..

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 26 June 2010 at 04:56 said...

@Chris..

I would be thrileld to hear your thoughts on this one...

Keep it on your list somewhere..

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 26 June 2010 at 04:57 said...

@Lily..

It's on my wish list. Someday.

Hopefully soon..

E.H>

Eyre on 27 June 2010 at 00:38 said...

Great review, E.H. This one is going on my list, but I have quite a bit to read before I get to it.

Erotic Horizon on 27 June 2010 at 05:58 said...

@Eyre..

AKM is a drop everything author for me - Already I am awaiting her next piece...

I look forward to your thoughts on this one..

E.H>