elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Best Mystery / Thriller Novel (2° place): Brushback, An Evan Austin Mystery, by Jamie Scofield

ALSO Best Overall Gay Novel (3° place)

Brushback is the example of a lost pearl; actually it's not so lost, it's the first work of a new author, Jamie Scofield, and first offer of a new publisher, Dancing Fools Press. They are both so new that I haven't any info on the author, so I don't know his/her background, but I have to say that the book feels a lot "mature" than a first try.

Up front I would also like to highlight that this is probably a novel that appeal to readers who like a good mystery and not so much to who like for their novel to be more sexy than erotic. First in a series, the Evan Austin Mystery series, it features that's so Evan Austin, former police detective and now high paied private investigator. Evan is sophisticated, smart and a bit "aloof". He is not the usual PI with a lot of skills but few acknowledgment, on the contrary, Evan not only has a secretary, he has also other two employees who work for him full time. Plus a wide net of connections, most of them among the very important people. So Evan moves in the high society, has no money problem, and can decide if accepting or not a case: Evan has a moral code, and he reserves his right to decide if paying clients are the good or the evil in the story.

All above is about Evan as PI; but there is also Evan in his private life. Evan is gay, not out and proud, but neither in the closet. I think that Evan beliefs in true love, but he was burned. His former partner left him after a very dramatic even, with the excuse that he couldn't tolerate the risk of Evan's profession. After that Evan is wary to try again and he became over analytic whenever he meets a new potential lover. Evan applies all the techniques he learned as a detective to destroy the man in front of him: even if he can see the positive side, he overweights the small negative clues, an no man surpasses the test. At least until Roman.

Evan is hired by the lawyer of a British woman over the phone to find her lost son. Finding the boy is no problem, he is living with a guardian, Roman, who was the partner of the late uncle of the kid. I will not give more details on the plot, it's part of the mystery you have to read and try to understand, enough to say that Evan has more than a passing interest on Roman. What I found really interesting is that the author didn't choose the visual "effect" to build the attraction between Evan and Roman, he/she chose to build an attraction based on little things, like the timber of voices, common interests... chemistry. Actually if I read with attention Roman's physical description, he is not at all an handsome man for the classical parameter. Anyway, when I said that the author preferred to be erotic rather than sexy, I mean that there is a subtle eroticism all over the novel, the relationship between Evan and Roman is there, and it's strong, but it never goes down to a deep physical level, no sex under the belt. Being erotic is something subtle, strong and continuous, being sexy is something light and with ups and downs... So no, there is no sex in Brushback, but don't get me wrong, there is a lot of romance, and of very high quality.

And the story? What I noticed is that the author builds a complicated plot, with a lot of clues scattered all around, some of vital importance for the mystery, some only side dishes for the main order. What was interesting, and complicated, was that, when you find them, you don't know what is what, and so your mind is continuously trying to place the missing pieces in the puzzle that is the mystery. It's engaging and I believe it is what will thrill the real mystery lovers.

The story is complex, the characters, both main than supporting, are very well developed, the mystery is good and the romance is enticing... a big bravo to Jamie Scofield for this debut novel.


Amazon: Brushback

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
Tags: author: jamie scofield, genre: contemporary, length: novel, rainbow awards 2009, review, theme: art world, theme: cops

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