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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2011
I enjoy Josh Lanyon's writing: he always tells an engaging story with wit and charm with a special ability to create characters we enjoy. But Come Unto These Yellow Sands really is Lanyon 2.0. This book works on so many levels. It's beautifully written and intelligent; Lanyon makes five words do the work of dozens. Main characters are carefully drawn and engaging: nothing about them is "canned" or cliche. Other reviewers have described the story with more eloquence than I could muster, but it's as honed as the craft of the book. It's all wave and no flotsam.

I found it an enormously satisfying read, but the best reason for buying it is that I suspect it will re-read even better.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2011
10671152
"I've never hid my love for Lanyon's writing and I'm not going to do so now. Some are less intriguing than others, most notably the "Dangerous Ground" series which I enjoy but there's something about Lanyon's writing voice in mysteries that does it for me. Wordgasms.

Josh doesn't disappoint with "Come Unto These Yellow Sands".

There IS a formula to Lanyon's mysteries. Usually the one of the male leads is hindered in some way, either physically or emotionally and he is coupled with a stronger, authoritative figure. For most writers, this would be a cliched trope but bhis formula works because Lanyon makes it work. The compromised male lead is complex and his "issue" varies...with Lanyon working those issues into the storyline.

In CUTYS, Sebastian Swift is not just the "Fall Down and Go Boom Bad Boy" of the literary circuit, he is still a recovering addict and Lanyon addresses it within the book (albeit mildly). His lover, Max Prescott, is a cop that Swift half-lies to about a murder... and Swift ends up paying for that hiding of the truth with the damage it does to his relationship with Prescott.

I enjoyed the mystery but I also enjoy the dual plotline of Swift's exploration of his relationship and his fall from grace. THAT is what Lanyon does best... run two or sometimes three plots within a book and does so gracefully and with fantastic pacing.

I highly recommend this book. It's on the re-read for me.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 17, 2011
I think this novella is my new absolute favorite of Lanyon's stand alone works. It is so masterfully done and it works on so many levels. The other reviewers already described plot in great details, so I will not go in there either, I will just say that both Swift and Max are quite flawed people, but Lanyon's superb writing never let me feel anything but sympathy for both of them. I really enjoyed the chemistry between them and while mystery was certainly important for the plot, heck it was the plot, I felt that romance was just as important and unravelling of mystery highlighted not just flaws that both guys had, but also their best qualities. And I never doubted for a second that they are better together than apart.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2011
Come Unto These Yellow Sands is the story of a man, Swift, and his journey from simply living, "..healthy, whole, and mostly happy," to being an active participant, more fully engaged, and ready to reconnect with life. The vehicle for Swift's metamorphosis is a murder mystery; but Swift is not a police officer, FBI agent, or even an athlete. He is a college professor and a poet. The journey for Swift is bumpy and perilous. Josh Lanyon has written a story that is like walking through an art gallery; every single word counts, carefully placed to create the most vivid picture and evince a wide range of emotions. He creates a sense of time and place with phrases such as, "he could hear rain ticking against a metal watering can" and "cyan-blue waves ruffled against sand and rocks." Chiaroscuro is a painting technique in which the artist carefully plays with the contrast of light and dark. As I read the story, I was continually reminded of the artistry of Josh Lanyon's writing as he, too, played with the contrast of light and dark in this book. Swift sees the world in a shifting pallet of colors while his sometimes boyfriend, Police Chief Max Prescott, has a black and white view of the world. Swift is cocooned safely within his academic world, while ugly words and events revolve around him. Swift, who has managed his recovery from drug addiction for 6 years, is suddenly overwhelmed with want and need for the drug he thought he had conquered. Come Unto These Yellow Sands is an intelligently written novel by a master craftsman. The mystery will keep you guessing, Swift will own your heart, and the ending will have you cheering. This is a novel you should not miss! Snowball in Hell,Fair Game,In a Dark Wood,Icecapade,All She Wrote: Holmes & Moriarity, Book 2,Blood Heat (Dangerous Ground),Somebody Killed His Editor,The Hell You Say (Adrien English),The Dark Farewell
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 14, 2011
Josh Lanyon is an exceptional writer and an automatic purchase for me. I just had the pleasure of reading his latest release "Come unto These Yellow Sands" and for me; it is his finest work to date. Sebastian Swift or Swift as he prefers is a man with a troubled past. He was a drug addict but has been in recovery for six years. Swift is now a literature professor at a small college and in relationship with the town police chief, Max Prescott, a rugged 6'4'' handsome man who is committed but has never definitively spoken about his feelings. Their relationship is comfortable one until Swift makes a fatal error in judgment while trying to help a student. Police Chief Max whose occupation defines aspects of his personality feels blindsided and reacts badly when Swift confesses his mistake jeopardizing their relationship.

Mr. Lanyon is adept, in my opinion, at telling a story - his works touch people; have substance; conflict and resolution; strong imagery; layered plots that do not go for the easy solution; and he keeps the audience in mind. You find that want to discuss his plot and characters with other readers. I believe this novel is one of his finest for all those reasons as well as a fresh approach. The new work departs from the first-person POV, and although it has humor - it is not the overt witticism we have come to know in his other stories but deftly understated and subtle. Another expression of Mr. Lanyon's effectiveness as a writer is his seamless interweaving of lines of poetry throughout this story - the choice of verses is perfectly synced with the story's framework; adding another layer of understanding to its protagonist. For example, "There were no paved roads on the island, but the dirt roads were hard-packed and wide. Swift drove them easily, despite the rain sheeting down. White sand, white skies...the only color came from the trees lining the road, scarlet and gold foliage fading into the autumn mist. Nothing gold can stay...How very true." "Nothing Gold Can Stay" is a single line from the Robert Frost poem entitled the same, but it isn't shoehorned in - the line flows naturally.

"Come unto These Yellow Sands" is not an ordinary mystery - yes, there is a murder, but the essence of this story addresses and examines relationships between long-time lovers, mothers, fathers, sons, family, and friends. It is about the interplay of feelings, history, circumstances, misunderstandings, loss, and reconciliation, all intricately woven into the story's fabric giving its characters depth and dimension. There are heartbreaking moments of realism that given its context make you realize that if these were not fictional characters - the response would still be entirely appropriate given the same circumstances. For example, when Max questions Swift's motivation and asks, "Why did you keep it from me? Aside from the fact that you were breaking the law, you had to know it wasn't going to...end well between us."

Josh Lanyon fans will have another favorite couple to add to their list - Swift and Max are not larger than life characters. However, they are and will be memorable for their vulnerability and flaws - each protagonist is complex and endearing for different reasons. Swift has his demons to overcome when his world is upended, and he is thrown into an "adventure" he would not have chosen for himself. There is an occasion when he has a rough night and Max reassures him saying, "I'm not going to let go of you. I'm going to hold you all night." Capturing the character's heart and emotions are Josh Lanyon's forte. He gets it right with each book and especially so in this new one. "Come unto These Yellow Sands," is an emotional journey that is both poignant and reflective - it had me reaching for tissues.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2011
An intriguing murder mystery mixed with a beautiful love story.

I'm not articulate enough to express how amazing Lanyon's writing is, it's just something that needs to be experienced firsthand. There were moments when all I could do was sigh and re-read a passage over and over because either the words themselves moved me or the emotions of the characters affected me so deeply. For me, an author that delivers this type of experience is the ultimate.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 19, 2011
Some people have compared Come Unto These Yellow Sands to the Adrien English Mysteries, but since I have not read those, I have no idea if this is true or not, so for me this Josh Lanyon book will stand on its own as a truly wonderful and unique read.

Professor Sebastian Swift is a former drug addict who happens to be an award-winning poet. But ever since his addiction caused his career to crash and burn, along with most of the relationships in his life, he's settled down in an out-of-the-way town to teach at the local college. He has a friends with benefits kind-of relationship with the town's police chief, Max Prescott and life is fairly pedestrian. Then one of his most promising students disappears after his father is murdered and all hell breaks loose. Sebastian becomes the number one suspect, Max breaks up with him and it looks like someone is trying to kill him. Suddenly life is not so boring after all.

What I loved about Come Unto These Yellow Sands was the utterly flawed way Mr. Lanyon wrote Sebastian. This `hero' is a (sometimes) liar, petty, insecure and on the edge of using drugs again, but deep down is just trying to survive with what life throws at him. Sebastian is far from perfect and that's what makes him so compelling.

Combine this tragic main character with a twisty whodunit and you have the ideal makings for a mystery novel with romantic influences. Highly recommended.

Dark Divas Reviews
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2011
This is, in my opinion, the best Josh Lanyon work ever! It's almost an anti-mystery, in that a murder takes place, and we don't know who did it. But our protag, Sebastion Swift, has no interest in solving the murder except as it relates to his favored student, Tad, whose father was murdered. This takes us on a journey of self doubt, lies, addiction, redemption and love. If you are a fan of Josh Lanyon, this one is not to be missed. Buy it. Buy it now! You won't regret it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2011
For me, it is always Josh's characters which captivate me and this time it is no exception. Swift is one of Josh's most riveting character. Complex, vulnerable, sensitive, tragic and so alone Swift really gets to me. The romance here is also one of the most satisfying in Josh's stand alone stories. I love an intellect geek pairing a cop hunk and once again Josh has absolutely fulfill my wish as a MM romance fan. The mystery is vintage Josh but really it is the characters and their emotional struggles to connect which does it for me in this one. Bravo Josh!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2012
Well, Josh has done it again. Written another amazing romantic mystery with realistic imperfect characters and such vivid imagery that I felt so connected with the story and the main characters. Only this time Swift made me cry even more than Adrien. Swift's struggle to stay sober was breaking my heart. I cried when he wanted to use and I cried when Max was there to save him. (Those that know me well, know that I hardly ever cry!!!) He only wanted to help a friend and believed he was doing the right things; and those choices nearly destroyed him. I have to say that I loved the brief "Choose Your Own Adventure" scenarios at the beginning of each chapter. For me, it brought to mind the paths that Swift chose to take throughout the course of his life thus far. What would you choose to do in this situation? Can you really control your own destiny? Or will the finale always end up being the same?

Swift and Max's relationship was intense. Here you have the recovering cocaine addict literature professor-slash-famous former poet and the small town's chief of police. Can they be any more different?? Yet they were perfect for each other. I loved how Swift called Max "Chief" and how Max called Swift "Teach". It made me smile everytime. And when Max told Swift, "I'm not going to let go of you. I'm going to hold you all night. So go ahead and feel whatever you feel. If you're still craving cocaine, go ahead. You're safe. You can crave it all you want, but I won't let go, and if you still feel like you can't trust yourself in the morning, and it's what you want, I'll drive you to rehab myself. Okay?", I had to take a break from reading because my chest was hurting and I had tears running down my face.

Like I said, it was AMAZING and INTENSE.

ETA: I just realized that I did't say anything about the mystery. I guess I'm like Swift, and didn't really care about who the killer was. It was a good mystery and I didn't have anything figured out until the end.
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