Review: Pressure Head (The Plumber’s Mate 01) by J.L. Merrow

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Some secrets are better left hidden.

To most of the world, Tom Paretski is just a plumber with a cheeky attitude, a Polish name (duh, he is a plumber, right?) and a dodgy hip, souvenir of a schoolboy accident. The local police keep his number on file for a different reason—his sixth sense for finding hidden people or things.

When he’s called in to help locate the body of a missing woman up on Nomansland Common, he unexpectedly encounters someone who resurrects a host of complicated emotions. Phil Morrison, Tom’s old school crush and also his nemesis, is now a private investigator working the same case. He and the band of his cronies were partly responsible for Tom’s injury. The shocks keep coming. Phil is now openly gay, and shows unmistakable signs of interest. Tom’s attraction to the big, blond investigator hasn’t changed—in fact, he’s even more desirable all grown up. But is Phil’s interest genuine, or does he only want to use Tom’s talent?

As the pile of complicated evidence surrounding the woman’s murder grows higher, so does the heat between Tom and Phil. But opening himself to this degree exposes Tom’s heart in a way he’s not sure he’s ready for…while the murderer’s trigger finger is getting increasingly twitchy.

What I liked:

First of all I really appreciated the fact that the romance story arc in this one was so slow-paced. Despite some secondary school history between two main characters (I almost heard Adele singing “you and I have history, don’t you remember?”) Tom was very wary with his approach and Phil was plainly guilt-ridden with his granite face, cashmere sweaters and impeccable manners. Small wonder – those two hardly parted as friends. By the way Tom owned two lovely tomcats named Merlin and Arthur who also represented well both main leads. Obviously it also made me think about my blogging partner and her infatuation with a certain series :).

The title is a crafty double-entendre, referring both to  Tom’s dowsy gift and the force that builds up inside a person who has to meet some requirements which are at odds with his or her real nature. It also, in my view, indicates the novel has a double bottom. Let’s face it, when you strip the novel down to the basics omitting the crime mystery, Tom’s witty remarks and overall cheerful personality, local London flavours and all the banter, you find out the author paints a really unpleasant picture of the UK. Yes, on the surface it is a great, tolerant country – so tolerant in fact that they make plenty of room for the intolerance as well. However, these imperfections, no matter how painful in real life, made actually the book far more readable. I adore flawed heroes and here both of the gentlemen, especially Phil, had some flaws.

The book is full of British English (lovely!) and very British, sarcastic sense of humour delivered with all the advantages of the first person limited narration (Tom’s POV).

What I didn’t like:

The other couple, Darren and Gary, were nice fellows but a bit too two-dimensional, rather of slapstick comedy variation; still they might useful in the second part of the series. The crime mystery was a bit bland, especially compared to the dynamics between Tom and Phil. It’s not that I didn’t guess the culprit; my problem was that I simply couldn’t be bothered with guessing which meant I didn’t get involved in the puzzle at all. Oh well, you can’t have everything, can you?

Final verdict:

One of better m/m romance novels I’ve read so far plus a crime mystery as condiment. I really enjoyed meeting Tom the plumber and his London friends. I hope for a second date now. 😉

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9 Responses to Review: Pressure Head (The Plumber’s Mate 01) by J.L. Merrow

  1. heidenkind says:

    You’re reading *this* series?! 😉 Kidding. It sounds very Josh Lanyon-y

    • You’re reading *this* series?!
      Yeah, I am taking a leaf out of somebody’s book – bad company and all that jazz ;).
      It is very Josh Lanyon-y indeed and published by the same company as his novels.

  2. blodeuedd says:

    Polish and a plumber…hm

  3. Carole Rae says:

    LOL I would love a polish plumber in my life. hahaha.
    But yes…I hate when they make the friends 2D. :/

  4. rameau says:

    Hee. I have corrupted you thoroughly and I’m not even sorry.

    Just finished reading this book, and I pretty much agree with you on all accounts. Still, you liked it better than I did. It didn’t have the extra spice to stand out for my scorched taste buds I guess.

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