As if recovering from heart surgery beneath the gaze of his over-protective family wasn’t exasperating enough, someone keeps trying to break into Adrien English’s bookstore. What is this determined midnight intruder searching for?
When a half-century old skeleton tumbles out of the wall in the midst of the renovation of Cloak and Dagger Bookstore renovation, Adrien turns to hot and handsome ex-lover Jake Riordan — now out-of-the closet and working as a private detective.
Jake is only too happy to have reason to stay in close contact with Adrien, but there are more surprises in Adrien’s past than either one of them expects — and one of them may prove hazardous to Jake’s own heart.
The fifth and final book of the Adrien English Mystery Series *SOB*. It is always hard when a series ends for me, especially one so beloved as this one. It was exciting to read the final book to see where Adrien and Jake end up, and to reflect on their journey in the series and Josh Lanyon gave them a goodbye that they much deserved.
I picked up Fatal Shadows, the first book in this series, on a whim one day. It is only 150 pages and I read it all in one sitting. I still remember reading it and thinking, who is this Josh Lanyon person and how did he write this amazing Adrien English character? I have really only had that feeling twice – the other time with Moon Called by Patricia Briggs.
At the very end of Fatal Shadows, after the murder investigation is over, Jake turns to Adrien and says:
“You know, this won’t be an easy thing, Adrien.”
“The investigation, you mean?”
Jake says – “No. No, I don’t mean that.”
And was Jake so right. If any two people have worked hard to be together, it has been Jake and Adrien. Prime example, Jake gets married – to a female, during this series. It was worth it though – the heart ache, the waiting between books – Adrien is one of my all time favorite characters, and Jake – he more than makes up for his past behavior in The Dark Tide.
Adrien’s life is going through many changes. He is recovering from heart surgery, correcting a faulty valve that has plagued him most of his adult life. He is also recovering from being shot, refer to drama in book four. His on/off again lover, Jake Riordan has divorced his wife, retired from the police force and has come out to his family (Jake was very deep in the closet). Adrien has been through a lot with Jake – A LOT. He is tired and truly scared that if he puts himself into Jake’s arms again, he will be hurt….again.
Professionally, Adrien is remodeling his bookstore, The Cloak and Dagger to encompass a much bigger space. This would not be a proper Adrien English Mystery book without a dead body, and this time we discover a very dead body, dead for fifty years hidden under the floorboards, found during the renovations. Adrien has been through the wringer with dead bodies, so when questions arise to the skeleton’s history and break-ins start occurring at the The Cloak and Dagger, Adrien’s suspicions go on high alert. Adrien is not up to his normal sleuthing skills since recovering from heart surgery has him exhausted. Now that Jake is not on the police force he has started his own private investigation firm. Adrien hires him to track down clues and it gives Adrien an excuse to stay in contact with Jake.
First and foremost, The Dark Tide is the perfect ending to this series. The mystery in this one was great because after the drama in the fourth book, and with Adrien so weak after his surgery, he really couldn’t’t be running from murderous bad guys again. So, finding a fifty year old skeleton in his shop, with the mystery surrounding it, was a perfect fit. He still got to sleuth while recovering from surgery.
Let’s face it though – what I really wanted to see was the path Jake and Adrien would take in this book. While I loved to hate Jake in previous books, I loved Jake in this book. He is out now – to everyone. I was worried how he would be able to handle it – oh, and Adrien was worried about it too :) Jake was completely understanding in all aspects of Adrien’s life. He was there to make sure Adrien took care of himself after the surgery, he was there to make sure Adrien didn’t get any ideas about running after leads in the investigation, and he was there to give Adrien breathing room to decide how he wanted to proceed in their relationship. We see a tender, sweet side of Jake – who knew he was so romantic?
Adrien has dealt with a Jake that has been so far into the closet that his trust just isn’t there anymore but he wants it to be. He doesn’t want old flames – although ex’s Mel and Guy makes appearances. He wants Jake, but he wants a Jake that is not going to bail the first time he feels uncomfortable. Jake though, quietly persists, like when they talk to Mr. Newman, who is helping them investigate the case. Newman says –
“You won’t understand this, and I can’t quite explain it myself, but there was something about Louise that…You found yourself doing things, taking chances you’d never have dreamt of before.”
“I’ve known a Louise in my time,” Jake said.
I looked up, surprised. Jake was staring right at me. My heart skipped a beat – absolutely nothing to do with repaired valves.
The ending was perfect, and by saying that you can probably guess the outcome. Jake’s admission of love is one of my favorite lines – I’m not going to quote it here because it is more fun to read it when you are swept up in the book, but it is such a Jake thing to say.
The Dark Tide wraps up the series, and although I am sad that it is done, I feel very satisfied in the events that take place and I have many rereads of the series to come.
Rating: Five Stars