Rameau’s review archive: Dark Horse (The Dark Horse 01) by Josh Lanyon


Paul Hammond is dead. That’s what tough and sexy LAPD Detective Daniel Moran tells his lover, Hollywood actor Sean Fairchild–and Sean wants to believe him, but what about those threatening postcards in Hammond’s handwriting? The last thing Sean needs is someone doubting him. But then, what does Sean really know about his new boyfriend? Dan is a dark horse–and maybe Sean is betting too much on this relationship. He can’t afford to take foolish chances. It not just Sean’s career at stake or his relationship or even his sanity–it’s his life.

The Dark Horse  (The Dark Horse, #1)The Dark Horse by Josh Lanyon

This was a bit pricey buy for a novella, but I had it on my to-be-read shelf based on a few good reviews and a previous experience of his writing in an anthology I read last year.

So now we were finding out what happened after the screen faded to black and the final credits rolled.

Paul Hammond is dead and the man he spent a year stalking can finally relax. Sean Fairchild—who is the narrator of this story—gets to experience his happily ever after with Dan Moran, who up until a week ago was his bodyguard. But there are those postcards with Hammond’s handwriting on them that keep coming.

Someone said that happily ever after depends on where you end the story. This time that’s where the story starts. I love that set up and it elevated my expectations. Of course I knew enough about the author to think he could pull it off. Lanyon writes the better kind M/M romance. He doesn’t focus on the sex as too many women authors do, but he focuses on the characters and the story, which in this case is a mystery.

Unfortunately for Lanyon, I’ve been long schooled in the art of mystery literature detection and I had the usual suspects lined up pretty early on. Knowing the genre’s tricks, I predicted the culprit correctly soon after. This left me free to concentrate on the character arc.

Sean is a young actor and in some ways he’s still very naive. I wish there’d been a bit more about his childhood or teenage years and those reasons that explained his naivety at twenty-five. There were glimpses but there could have been more. I liked how Lanyon made Sean grow up and take responsibility for himself.

Because of the need to protect the mystery, the other characterisations remained superficial. There are good reasons to doubt both the boyfriend and the best friend, mainly because the reader only learns small tidbits about them and nothing substantial.

The distraction techniques included sex scenes that were remarkably cheesy. Bad, is the better word. Why is it that men dominate the bad sex writing nominee lists?

Anyway, it was an enjoyable read but nothing special.


Rating icon. A hairless cat is wearing a santa hat and a sour expression. On the hat reads: meh.

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3 Responses to Rameau’s review archive: Dark Horse (The Dark Horse 01) by Josh Lanyon

  1. Novellas are difficult to write and more often than not ‘meh’ sums them up nicely.

  2. rameau says:

    I mostly like Lanyon’s work but it isn’t anything special to me. Novels or novellas.

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