Reviewed by PizzyGirl
TITLE: Dying to be Loved
SERIES: Curl Up and Dye Mysteries #1
AUTHOR: Aimee Nicole Walker
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 224 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 8, 2016
Gabriel Wyatt is a big city Detective living in a small Ohio town. He expects a peaceful existence once he moves from Miami, Florida, but that’s the last thing he finds. Instead, Gabe discovers murder, mayhem, and one smart-mouthed stylist he can’t get out of his head.
Josh “Jazz” Roman is a small town salon owner with big dreams and an attitude to match. He finds himself in the middle of a case that brings the dreamy detective to his front door. Josh learns that the biggest threat to him isn’t a killer; it’s a man who wants something from him that he vowed to never give again – his heart.
Both men deny that there’s something between them, even though they’re drawn together like magnets. Can Gabe convince Josh to let down his guard or will Josh let past hurts destroy his chance at a happy future?
Author’s Note: Although this is the first full book for Gabe and Josh, I have written a prequel that can be found for free on my blog at aimeenicolewalker.blogspot.com. Look for the entry called Fatal Reaction.
I greatly enjoyed this story. It was engaging and compelling and the author really sucked me and kept me wanting to read more. The characters were likable but were also annoying. Every time I thought I had a handle on Josh or Gabe, the men would shove their heads back up their asses and I wanted to slap them! I was so connected to these men that I was invested emotionally. I like that the relationship ended on a hopeful but not perfect note. The characters were still growing and lowing the walls around their hearts, so a perfect HEA would not have worked in this instance. The strong hopeful feeling reflects the reality much better.
The murder mystery was also engaging and kept me glued to my seat. The twists and turns kept my brain moving until I finally discovered who did it and why. I will admit, I had NO CLUE who the actual murderer was even though I kept thinking I did. When the big bad was revealed, I chuckled because in hindsight, it was obvious. But I also have to admit that I felt the rationale for the murder was weak and not at all compelling. However, I know others will not have that same reaction.
Now normally, I am not fan of cliffhangers. They usually anger me to no end to because I have invested so much of my time and energy only to be left without answers. However, this cliffhanger ending didn’t do that. It didn’t touch the people or events in book 1, but instead it set up a new mystery for book 2. Rather than angering me, it has me racing to grab the next installment because I NEED to know what happened.
My biggest issue with this story, and it was enough to bring this rating down a fair bit, was the lack of consistency and the apparent lack of editing. The story was all over the place structure wise and there were even some early chapters that could have been omitted and the story would have had the same impact. There were times the rambling structure detracted from the mystery and gave the story a disjointed feeling. I did not realize there was a prequel for this until after I had started reading. The prequel covered much of the same information presented in the rambling, out of place flashbacks. A strong content editor could have consolidated the two resulting in an easier to follow forward movement. In addition, the technical aspects needed some work, as sentence structure was often more like informal speech patterns rather than following written grammatical conventions. In the end, the story was good enough to overcome my pet peeves over the writing and keep me interested in the series, but it was not enough to rate this higher than 3.5 stars.