Review: Laying Ghosts
Laying Ghosts by James Buchanan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Coming out of the closet as a Latter Day Saint (LDS) member is not the easiest of situations. When the entire family is heavily involved in LDS, it makes it even tougher. These past few months have been hard on Joe. He's a deputy in Utah which holds their officers to a strict standard. Between being gay and dating an ex-con, his job and personal life are in dire straits.
In this third installment of the Deputy Joe series, the hits keep on coming. This one is focused on the past. The mystery in this story involves another homicide. It's one Joe never expected -- Rose, his older sister's murder. He never expected it because he always thought she drowned in an accident. While Joe is uncovering his family's past through this cold case, Kabe's past is also catching up with him.
Mr. Buchanan does a great job of blending a mystery with romance. The two story lines, Rose's death and Kabe's BDSM experience prior to Joe, combine to present a realistic portrayal of life. With the past coming to light, Mr. Buchanan once again shows how communication is the key. Keeping secrets to protect someone doesn't really help in the end. In fact, one could argue, this tormented tale showcases how secrets will ultimately hurt the ones you love.
On top of all this heartache, the reader is treated to more family drama as well as a new family crisis. As if this isn't enough for Joe to handle, his rocky relationship with Kabe becomes more unstable with a couple of intense sex scenes. It's a wonder Joe isn't having a mental breakdown with all he has to deal with in this story.
The BDSM sex in this story is increased with edgeplay. This time, the breathplay results in a blackout. As a person who does do breathplay, this can be a very dangerous if done improperly. In fact, Joe's fears about causing his partner to blackout is not unwarranted. Since I actually experience breathplay on occasion and have blacked out from it, Joe's reaction is a bit extreme for me. My response to it is not too dissimilar from Kabe's because we both know what to expect and what is safe. In this story, Mr. Buchanan makes a point of showing how Joe's knowledge of a sleeper hold is what counters the danger of breathplay. This is true and I appreciate this point. Since Joe is trained on how to do a sleeper choke hold, which is no longer legal for most LEO to perform, he is aware how to apply it correctly without killing or causing permanent damage.
This story is brutal in the emotional punishments doled out to Joe. Yet despite all the negativity, Joe continues to hold on to his faith. He continues to be this great guy who isn't perfect yet he tries his best. Every ethical decision Joe makes, he does so with his heart while abiding the law as best he can.
This mystery is recommended for m/m romance lovers who enjoy the emotional rollercoaster.
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