Reviewed by Tori (Vicki)
TITLE: The Family Eternal
SERIES: Deputy Joe #5
AUTHOR: James Buchanan
PUBLISHER: MLR Press
LENGTH: 262 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 15th, 2017
When the body of a young woman is found in a burning rental cabin, Deputy Joe Peterson and newly minted Fire Inspector Kabe Varghese must learn to work together to find out who she is and why she died.
Folks will tell you that family is second only to God in Utah. But what brings strength to some can sow sorrow with others.
On a bleak winter morning, a young woman’s corpse smolders in the remains of a burned rental cabin. Clues to her identity are rarer than frozen choke-cherries in the Utah backcountry. Deputy Joe Peterson, assisted by Kabe Varghese in his first case as a fire inspector trainee, doggedly hunts for who she is and why she died. As they sink deeper into the investigation, Joe struggles with how his life is now personally and professionally intertwined with Kabe’s.
Outed, excommunicated and disciplined because of the man he found love with; the last year of Joe’s life has careened like an avalanche toward an abyss. Is doom inevitable? Or is the best chance to live surrendering to the fall?
I need to start this by saying I LOVE the cover! The covers for the other books in this series have not all be great, but this one is perfect! I can totally see that as Joe. Love it!
This latest book is another excellent combination of a murder investigation plot, plus personal issues involving Joe and Kabe, and an education about the Mormon faith. To catch us up, Joe is a Sheriff’s Deputy in a small town in Utah. He is Mormon, and a strong believer, except he’s gay. This is a big issue for him and has caused much stress and soul-searching in his life. Over the last four books, we’ve seen him fall in love with Kabe, who is not Mormon, which also causes much stress and soul-searching for Joe. Joe comes out to his family, his elders, and gets excommunicated. But he’s still a Mormon at heart. As he and Kabe have settled in to a life together, Joe has found a progressive place to worship, and seems to have accepted his sexuality and it’s place in his religion. That’s not to say he’s happy about it by any means.
Kabe has had his own issues, family drama, drugs, legal issues, etc, but once he and Joe start their life together, he settles down emotionally and finds a job to focus on. The two also settle nicely in to a BDSM relationship, Kabe being a pain slut and Joe happy to dish it out. Joe’s religion is an issue for Kabe though, he just doesn’t get it, and doesn’t understand how Joe can still call himself a Mormon, when they kicked him out. This continues to cause stress! By this book the two have been together for a year and are living together. They have begun to work together a bit, as Kabe has become a Fire Investigator in training, and Joe has been a big help in his training.
The murder mystery plot of this book is based around the death of a young woman Kabe finds in a cabin fire. He is able to rescue the woman’s daughter, but the woman appears to have already been dead, leading them to suspect the fire was set to cover up the murder. Joe and Kabe work together to track back through connections to determine who the woman was, where the two came from, and who killed her. This leads them to a polygamy group, which bring up all sorts of icky things…. Kabe gets a lesson on this ugly side of Mormonism, and so did I.
Joe and Kabe are obviously an established couple by now, so there is no will-they-won’t-they happening as far as the romance plot line, but instead we gets several yummy sex scenes, as naughty as they are with these two. Joe goes after Kabe with clothes pins in one scene, and the two engage in a bit of breath play in another. I saw several reviews giving away a big spoiler, and I don’t want to do that here. But a big thing happens between the two of them, a very good thing, that leads to even more questioning of his faith by Joe, and a lack of understanding of why he’s questioning by Kabe. It also bring up some family drama, negative drama from Joe’s parents, but good drama later.
This thing that happens was kinda awesome, and kinda made me cry. That’s all I’ll say about that!
So I have to say there were a bunch of typos in this book. I’m hoping maybe it was an edition prior to a final edit, I’ve seen that with review copies before. I know Joe has a certain way of talking, but the issues I saw were not that.
I’ve really enjoyed this series! I’m happy with the way this book ended, I’ve seen mention of it being the last in the series, and I think Joe and Kabe are in a good place. I’ll be sad to not see them again, I do so love them! A year in their lives was short, with lots of shit going on, I’d love to see how they are after five years, or ten years. James Buchanan has created some really cool characters with these two, and totally opened my eyes to the Mormon faith. It always seemed a bit of a joke to me, especially after seeing The Book of Mormon, but after reading these books I have a healthy respect for men like Joe. He’s just living his life as best he can, and doing what he believes is right. He’s got strong morals, even though he doesn’t agree with everything he’s been taught. I love him as a character. Kabe too, although Joe is really the star for me. Kabe was fine, but Joe’s strength just got me.
I very much recommend this series, and this book as part of it. If this is the last, it’s a strong way to end it. Go out on a high note! You could read it without reading the others if you had too, but you’d be missing a lot of character development. And missing out on a lot of awesome sex! Go grab the first one and start there. If you have read the others, wait until you read this one! Yeah!
Thank you James, for writing Deputy Joe and Kabe!