Blow Down (The Plumber's Mate Mysteries) (Volume 4) Paperback – February 12, 2018
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Blow Down is another great story added to this outstanding series. I highly recommend it to you--murder, mayhem, love, and hilarity, all in one fantastic novel. Who could ask for more? - 5 stars, Sammy, The Novel Approach
I loved this murder mystery and devoured its character driven plot with glee...a host of suspects, complicated family situations for both Phil and Tom, a gaggle of hysterically funny secondary characters, and a murderer who thinks Tom knows too much - Desert Isle Keeper, BJ Jansen, All About Romance
Another mystery, another dead body, and another chance to sink right into the lovely world of J.L. Merrow's crime solving plumber/private-dick duo. Well you can count me right in! What can I say about this book other than I loved it? - Chris, Love Bytes Reviews
the suspects are numerous with plenty of red herrings that will keep you guessing until the very end...Phil and Tom's relationship continues to deepen and grow stronger and I love how they have overcome their rocky start and are settling into an easy domesticity- Crabbypatty, Gay Book Reviews
An interesting and well plotted mystery, combined with great characters, a charming couple, and laugh out loud humour made what for me is pretty much a perfect read - Helena Stone, The Way She Reads
- Item Weight : 11.9 ounces
- Paperback : 294 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1626497269
- ISBN-10 : 1626497265
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.74 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Riptide Publishing (February 12, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,945,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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“Blow Down” is another excellent entry in the Plumer's Mate series. The mystery is a real conundrum that doesn't get cleared up until the very end, and as usual there are lots of red herrings as well as humorous distractions along the way.
This series has always been good reads, but this time around I was particularly struck by the dialog. Tom speaks in local British dialect, which the author has captured rather well. Dialect can sometimes make for difficult reading, but in this case it flows quite well. It helps that the writing is extremely consistent, which means you're not surprised by the way Tom puts things.
While each book in the series features its own mystery, the theme of the series is the evolving relationship between Tom and Phil, who got engaged at the end of the previous book. Their relationship is portrayed in a very realistic way. These two are definitely not your typical made-for-each-other romance couple. They're very different people and their relationship is not a smooth road.
As an American, I find the middle-class British slang that Merrow uses completely fascinating. But of course that slang not incidental: it is the signature lingo of Tom Paretski—the slightly damaged son of an upper-middle-class family who has embraced his inner oik and revels in presenting himself through his gentle working-class charm. It is equally interesting that his onetime enemy, now fiancé, Phil Morrison, has rejected his own lower-class roots in favor of tailored suits and cashmere sweaters. Both men have consciously (if not intentionally) betrayed the world in which they were raised; and this informs their relationship with each other, and with their families, as they explore their love and solve the occasional murder along the way.
What I particularly enjoy, aside from the humor, is the gentle, consistent way that Merrow has the two men (who are, after all, GUYS, and British guys to boot) struggle to negotiate the emotional pitfalls of loving each other, moving forward to full commitment as a couple in the brave new world of British society. We have to understand that Tom’s language is his armor against his own feelings of inadequacy in the face of his posh family. Thus is makes his sweetly awkward relationship with his sister Cherry and her clergyman fiancé all the more endearing. They are learning to be siblings and friends again. From Phil’s point of view, his family seems to be still too much a painful reminder of what he has escaped, and yet I see something there that offers potential for future volumes in this series.
You may have noticed that I didn’t really mention the murder much. Well, there is one. It’s rather grisly, and it engages our Tom and his Phil pretty thoroughly. The point is, for me the crime to be solved isn’t as compelling as the people involved—and not just Tom and Phil and their families, but their friends and the folks in the community we meet along the way. Merrow is very good at creating vivid characters, and whether we’re supposed to like them or loathe them, they’re all fun to spend time with on the page. British mystery fiction has come a long way from the days of Miss Marple, and this charming series embodies the best of that progress. I love Tom and Phil and can’t wait to see the next installment from Merrow’s gifted pen.
THE FRUSTRATING BITS: Throughout this series I've been a bit confused by the Phil character. Early on it's made clear that he was trying to escape his lower class upbringing and desired to make something better of himself. Call him a "metrosexual" if you will, with expensive clothes, a posh (but small) flat and a new car. And yet he can't resist the boy he fell in love with as a teenager - the local knock-about plumber. Phil seems to be willing to give up most of his posh lifestyle to hang out with this working-class bloke. Tom seems to be everything he's trying to get away from.
It takes nearly to the end of this fourth book before we finally get a resolution to this conflict and a better understanding of what's going on in Phil's mind. In the end, it's satisfying, but could have been fleshed out in more detail. Phil and Tom rarely ever argue, they're more of the glare and huff off type rather than talking things out, and Tom seems far to eager to compromise. But I'm hoping that future books do a deeper exploration of the relationship.
Okay, frustration #2 is something that other reviewers have praised, and that's the humor. While Tom's one-liners can be funny, in this book there are just too many of them and it has the effect of dumbing down the character. In one long stretch, nearly every paragraph ends with Tom either saying, "git," "innut," or "ta." Tom is playing stupid in this book, vs. his sharper observations in the earlier stories.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this book and love the characters. This is definitely a series that I want to see continue, but I hope the author gives a less comical and more realistic relationship in future stories.
Top reviews from other countries
I love how Tom and Phil compliment each other, both in their relationship and in the story. Tom's humour, witty and friendly approach is balanced with Phil's more reserved and cynical approach in life. It's a great mix that works so well for them, but also for the story as it makes everything so complete. Phil's also more confident compared to Tom, who has anxieties about setting a wedding date, deciding about surnames and choosing living arraignments. That's also the aspect that makes the story feel so real, because life is not a fairy tale where some anxieties don't go away just because a couple is happily engaged. And of course the complicated family relationships, especially on Tom's side of family, makes it harder for him to actually make plans for the wedding.
Blow Down was everything I was expecting it to be; a brilliant installment to a series that I love. It's a page turner mystery with a huge dash of romance and relationship developed with humour and witty characters. It's simply a stunning story, which left me yearning for more. I can't wait for the last book of the series!
The only thing that irks is his accent. He's a middle class boy from a pretty posh family who only missed doing his A-levels/going to university by accident, so the uneducated cheeky chappy schtick rings a bit hollow.