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Review: Double Exposure – Anne Barwell

Double Exposure - Anne Barwell

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Mystery/Detective, Romantic Suspense

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

Vampires and werewolves live long lives. The Sleepless City saga might have ended but the story continues…

Someone is hunting supernaturals.

Vampire Simon Hawthorne and his human partner Ben Leyton’s plans for a peaceful holiday with family are hijacked by the New Zealand Supernatural Council.

Tensions are on the rise in Wellington. Supernatural councillors are disappearing. Werewolves are suspicious of anyone human or vampire. If they don’t work together, their enemy has already won.

And no one with a connection to the supernatural world is safe.

The Review

Professor Simon Hawthorne and his soulbond mate, photographer Ben Leyton are having their yearly argument again. Simon is getting ready for another anniversary of his turning into a vampire. Ben has already been marked by Simon but Ben has very good reasons for wanting to be turned. The anniversary makes Simon contagious and separates him and Ben for many days, which is difficult for them both.

But Simon also has his own personal fears about turning Ben. The Boggslake for Humans (BFH), are more than just a threat. The hostile group not only kills supernaturals, but innocent humans too. Stubborn Jacob Coates, head of the Supernatural Council, won’t make a move on BFH because there’s no proof of what they has done. With the BFH a threat, its curtailed Simon curtails his plans for the two of them.

Simon had encouraged Ben to reduce his hours at the Boggslake PD, where he works an investigative photographer, giving Ben more time to focus on his own personal talent as a photographer. He gets the opportunity to show his works through Daphne Waterhouse at Waterhouse Gallery. When he arrives at the gallery, he finds himself in extreme danger.

With Ben and Simons’ connection, Simon now faces one of his deepest fears. Even with the help of Violet, a ghost child, and Anita and Charlotte Coates, two new members of the Boggslake Supernatural Investigation, all doesn’t exactly end well.

Once the horrors of the BFH have been handled, it frees Simon to make his commitment to Ben. Their plans take them to Wellington, New Zealand to meet Ben’s parents. After the long flight, Simon had scheduled nourishment to be delivered on their layover in Auckland. But what he gets instead is trouble.

Three of the New Zealand Supernatural Council approach Simon and Ben, ant the couple tells them that they are not there to work for anyone. As rude, arrogant and threatening as the newcomers are, they explain to Simon and Ben that councillors have been disappearing. This raises all kinds of questions. What is the fate of the missing? Is this the BFH, or something bigger? Are Ben and Simon being used by the Council? As the questions keep coming, Simon and Ben get more deeply involved.

On top of all the chaos, it’s nerve wrecking for Simon meeting his in-laws for the first time. Decisions will be made and life will change for both men.

Barwell is beginning a new series with Ben Leyton and Simon Hawthorne. Double Exposure is the debut book for “Poneke Shadows” series, set in New Zealand and Ben’s home town of Wellington. This new story is very well written, filled with suspense, danger, romance and surprises.

The author also brings an abundance of characters from New Zealand, along with returning characters from the “Sleepless City” series.

Ben’s best friend Ange Duncan is back with her ability to see ghosts. She introduces Josh McKenna, who has a secret and friends Ennis and Cody. There are also Detective Garrick Frater with the Wellington PD and Father Elard Reith of Newton. Then there’s Ben Leyton’s family: Parents Ray and Abby, married sister Maddie and husband Trent, sister Tash a detective, and the adorable Granddad Frank. He is such fun and enjoys every minute of having his grandson Ben and friend Simon stay with him. I wish he could live forever!

There are also new members of the Boggslake Supernatural Investigative team – Boggs will always be there, along with Charlie and Anita Coates. It’s always fun to hear from Blair and Jonas Forge, Lucas Coates and Declan, now known as the Vampire Guard.

If vampires, werewolves, ghosts and humans intrigue you, I highly suggest reading “The Sleepless City” collaboration by Anne Barwell and Elizabeth Noble. It’s the introduction of Simon and Ben and other inhabitants of Boggs Castle.

As for Double Exposure, it is a fantastic spin-off and start to the “Poneke Shadows” series. I’m sure with a new environment and new characters, Barwell will be putting Simon and Ben in exciting new supernatural situations. I’m hooked and can’t wait for the next book!

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 

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