Series: The Adrien English Mysteries #4
Published by Just Joshin on November 14th 2011
Gay bookseller and reluctant amateur sleuth Adrien English's writing career is suddenly taking off. His first novel, Murder Will Out, has been optioned by notorious Hollywood actor Paul Kane.
But when murder makes an appearance at a dinner party, who should be called in but Adrien's former lover, handsome closeted detective Jake Riordan, now a Lieutenant with LAPD — which may just drive Adrien's new boyfriend, sexy UCLA professor Guy Snowden, to commit a murder of his own.
Wow. I thought the Hell You Say left me a quivering mess but I have to say that Death of a Pirate King was an even more emotional read for me.
Picking up two years after the events of the last book, Adrien once again finds himself at the heart of a murder investigation when a guest at a Hollywood dinner party he is attending drops dead into his dinner plate. As luck would have it, one of the investigating officers called to the scene is none other than Jake Riordan, his former lover, who is now a Lieutenant with the LAPD.
Adrien has had no contact with Jake since he broke off their relationship but he is determined to not get caught up in all the drama this time. Unfortunately for Adrien the host of the dinner party, Hollywood actor Paul Kane, is determined that Adrien become involved in the investigation.
Kane all but blackmails Adrien into complying with his wishes (he has recently optioned one of Adrien’s books through his production company and threatens to withdraw his support if Adrien does not agree to his proposal). Adrien reluctantly agrees to question the deceased Hollywood producer’s friends and family in order to determine who would have had a motive to kill him.
Adrien finds it increasingly difficult to be around Jake again. The situation is made worse when he finds out that Jake and Paul Kane have been involved with each other. Jake married Kate, the policewoman he got pregnant in the last book, but unfortunately Kate lost the baby and Jake retreated back into his old habits once again.
Adrien is still seeing Guy Snowden, the college professor he got close to in the last book. However, his relationship with Guy is having some problems. Adrien has been keeping Guy at a distance, unwilling to fully commit to his new partner. Guy is also not happy that Jake is back in Adrien’s life which puts further strain on their relationship. Jake is still as closeted as ever but you find out that he did make an attempt to keep Adrien in his life during the two years they were apart however Adrien was unable to deal with this and rebuffed Jake’s overtures of friendship.
Adrien is also recovering from a bout of pneumonia and discovers over the course of the novel that his heart is bad again and that he will require surgery. A murder investigation is the last thing he needs to be involved with but the mystery writer in him cannot help but become intrigued. As his investigations bring him closer to Jake again, he finds it hard to try and resist as Jake wants to resume their previous relationship.
Adrien is not willing to be Jake’s dirty little secret even though it is clear he still has strong feelings for him. Jake is still married and has no intention of ever being with Adrien openly. Even though Jake would at least like to try and be friends, Adrien is having none of it. Throughout the course of his investigations, Adrien fears that Jake may have compromised himself in order to keep up his charade. Just how far will Jake go to keep his secrets and has Adrien unwittingly put himself in danger once again…?
I say it again – Wow. This book was amazing. The mystery was the most interesting yet and although it was fairly obvious who the killer was I was still gripped throughout – not knowing where the twists and turns would ultimately land. Adrien has always been an adorable main character – full of dry wit and very self-deprecating. However you can really see in this book how much Jake had hurt him with his actions.
The Adrien in Death of a Pirate King still has all his wit but is much more bitter and jaded. Jake on the other hard became much more likeable (though there were certain parts that made me want to throttle him). I didn’t know what was going to happen with the pair of them and there were moments that it looked very bleak indeed. I’m still trying to process the level of betrayal that Adrien must have been feeling in a few key scenes. However, I really cannot help but love their relationship and root for them, even when all the odds are against them.
Overall Death of a Pirate King was another brilliant installment in the series and my favourite so far. I am very glad I am not reading these in ‘real-time’ as I would have been tearing my hair out waiting between books.