Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: Shell Shocked
AUTHOR: Jessica Payseur
PUBLISHER: JMS Books
LENGTH: 199 Pages
RELEASE DATE: March 27, 2016
When Dominic agrees to join his boyfriend Alec and his kids for a weekend away at the annual Eggstravaganza in Mount Angus, Wisconsin, he’s expecting a boring, if kitschy, experience. He isn’t expecting to discover Alec is cheating on him, and he certainly isn’t expecting an exploding cow to drop him in the middle of a deadly mystery.
Suddenly single and surrounded by a town’s worth of suspects, Dom finds himself oddly drawn to playing the sleuth, especially if it will get him closer to Kiko, the owner of the niche shop Yolks on You.
Together the two men navigate a web of intrigue and lies, and the sniping of a jealous Alec, in a town filled with murder and Easter-themed mayhem. Will they manage to make it through the Eggstravaganza alive, or will the murderer leave them much more than just Shell Shocked?
I was really impressed with how this book began. I was immediately drawn into both men’s stories, poor Dom having to deal with his cheating boyfriend and local shop owner Kiko who is focused on making the Eggstrvaganza festival a success. Then to top all of that opening excitement off, a cow explodes in front of a street filled with children and it was one of those confusing moments when you don’t know if you’re meant to laugh or be horrified A bit of both I guess, but again, I was so impressed with how this author hooked me straight into the story.
Mount Angus was the most charming and over the top town I could imagine. Featuring businesses such as the Dill Pickle Pub which is owned by a man named Dill and his son…err…Dill, and the Pasta La Vista restaurant, where the chef is known simply as Noodlebeard, not to mention Yolks on You, the egg themed shop owned by our MC Kiko, you’re correctly going to assume that the characters are just as outrageous as the setting. But when I say it’s over the top, it’s also not too much. The antics of the characters have you chuckling and rolling your eyes, but the author doesn’t attempt to push the humor to the detriment of the plot.
And the plot – well I simply loved it. I was endlessly entertained by the “murder mystery” as out-of-towner, Dom and his lover for the weekend, Kiko work their way through an ever growing list of unusual suspects as bombs continue to plague the Eggstravaganza festival. This aspect of the plot was by far the main component of the story. The relationship between the two men was kept purposely light and casual, and I thought that that was also well done. The story is told over a four day period, and any declarations of undying love would have left me shaking my head in disbelief. And the fact that I have book two just waiting to go, makes me not at all sad that the focus here was on the sleuthing, rather than the lovin’. Though, having said that, the few encounters that the two men have were not lacking in any way.
I hope the sequel has the same level of quirky fun that this book delivered, while allowing our newly formed couple to develop their fledgling relationship.