Title: Canines, Crosshairs & Corpses
Series: Brandywine Investigations 1
Author: Angel Martinez
Genre: Urban Fantasy
LGBTQ+ Category: M/M, Cis
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books, LLC
Pages: 488 (for 1, 2, &3)
WHAT’S A Lord of the Dead to do? Hades’ bride of several thousand years has served him with divorce papers and she doesn’t just want him out of her life, she wants the palace and the dog, too. Hades’ nephews and his faithful ferryman, Charon, are determined to find their uncle something to distract him before he expires of brooding misery.
Tiberius Snyder had a good future, until his mother dies and his employer shuts down. When he finds himself alone with nowhere to live, he turns to panhandling and to drink, depression slowly killing him.
He just wants a place to sleep out of the cold wind, but Death finds him in a dirty alley. Odd. Ti never thought Death would be so hot….
Note: this is part of the Omnibus, “Open for Business” and is a re-edited and expanded version of the story.
Review by Dan
Canines, Crosshairs & Corpses: Brandywine Investigations #1 takes place in a world were the gods are not only real but need to find day jobs. Much like that premise, this novella walks a fine line between cheesy and satisfying. Hades is dour and broody with a soft spot for puppies and homeless people. He isn’t without empathy or emotion but seems to lack a good understanding of other people’s emotions and motivations, which makes him comes off as vaguely on the autism spectrum (I’m not sure if that was the author’s intention, but I connected with it either way).
He takes in Ti, a young, homeless man who is struggling with alcoholism (and a myriad of other problems). Together with Charon (Hades’ friend/manservant, I think), these two work to solve a series of murders targeting homeless men—which they manage to do, of course. There are a few points in the story where the author tries to ratchet up the tension, but it comes across as low-stakes since this doesn’t feel like the kind of story that’s going to have a tragic ending.
Because it’s a novella, things move fast and the end wraps up into a tidy, happy-but-open-for-a-sequel package. It’s a little too tidy for my taste, but hopefully, the lingering issues are ones that will come up in the rest of the series. I think the characters, given their backgrounds, have a lot of potential for good character building. Overall, I enjoyed the story; it was a sweet, easy read, though it really does have some corny moments. It’s a recommended read if you don’t want things to get too serious.
Dan Ackerman is a writer and educator who has lived in Connecticut for their entire life. They received their BSED from CCSU in 2013 and wrote their Master’s thesis on representations of women in same-sex relationships in contemporary Spanish literature and cinema. Currently, Dan is studying for a second MA in ABA and works in a center school for students with variety of intellectual, developmental, or multiple disabilities. In their spare time, Dan continues to read and write, supplemented with a healthy amount of movie marathons and gaming.