Title: Billy Blood
Series: The Mason Braithwaite Paranormal Mystery Series Book #4
Author: Christopher Church
Genre: Gay Supernatural Suspense
Publisher: Dagmar Muira
Pages/Word Count: 156 pages
A fender-bender on the freeway gets psychic investigator Mason entangled with Catherine, an enigmatic visitor from DC—but who, exactly, does she work for? Trying to track her down, he runs across Billy Blood, a Los Angeles company that markets a stomach-churning “lifestyle drink” made with animal blood, and goes to work for its shady CEO to find out who has been vandalizing the product. Recruited by Hanh, an old friend from the psychic world, to rescue a lost colleague, Mason meets an ally with serious dirt on the company, and manages to dredge up some of his own. And why is Catherine so interested in his research work for Billy Blood? Hounded by the media and mortified to see his face on the news, Mason battles a billion-dollar corporation, sharpening his psychic skills and wrestling with a dilemma most of us face at one time or another—doing what’s convenient versus doing what’s right.
Backed by his boyfriend, Ned, and their roommate, Peggy, who are almost always willing to help him out, this fourth book in the Mason Braithwaite Paranormal Mystery Series sees the bicycle-commuting detective using his psychic insight, along with a newfound experimental hypnosis technique, on the seedy side of the West Coast entertainment industry.
I stumbled onto this series in the middle of it all, and even though I enjoyed myself immensely, I’d suggest you start at book one, Signs Point to Yes. The writing was fantastic in book four, and it was fine to read as a standalone, but there were were a few bits of backstory that would have been more entertaining to read going into it fresh and in detail, than as backstory in a later book.
A cute paranormal mystery series, you can expect the expected: young gumshoe trying to make ends meet by solving small crimes, and stumbles onto something big. And you can enjoy the unexpected: the fun supernatural powers some of the characters possess. They aren’t your typical powers, and some are very subtle in nature. Not even Mason’s boyfriend believes that Mason can astral project himself back in time for small moments, which you’d think would be damaging to his and his boyfriend’s relationship, but Mason seems to take it in stride, perhaps because his powers aren’t that flashy, and it’s sometimes easy to convince himself that he’s simply lucky with his special insights rather than supernaturally gifted. Besides the lack of belief in Mason having any sort of powers, his boyfriend does seem to be supportive in every other way. I related to his passion for feeding people (the twenty pound lasagna I just made for a friend comes to mind).
The genre of this book was a bit interesting to try and nail down. It’s not exactly a paranormal romance (there are no werewolves or fated mates), not exactly gay literary fiction, and not exactly a mystery. It takes place in California, and I think the combination of the setting and the people were delightful enough that I didn’t need the mystery to be super thrilling or involved, because if I’m honest, the mystery elements were a bit predictable. But as an Oregonian, we often express the observation that California seems to attracts a special type of person, and you can be guaranteed to meet a majority of them in this book, in their full glory. I was highly entertained.
This isn’t M/M. Mason and his boyfriend are already well established in the novel, and there is no on page sex. I felt like those intimate moments were handled well, though, and I didn’t yearn for a blow by blow, if you know what I mean. Mason’s boyfriend isn’t the focus of the story, nor is their relationship, so too much intimacy would have gotten in the way. The story is about Mason, a burgeoning detective and a cycling vegan with supernatural powers. It’s cute and well written, and if you’re a Mystery/Suspense fan such as myself, you should definitely check it out.
Ben Brock is a reviewer for The Novel Approach and Queer Sci Fi. He enjoys reading, writing, running, family and food, and fills his life with bent bunk. He especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature. His website is http://www.babrockbooks.com. You can find him on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/BABrockBooks.