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REVIEW: Eruca – Xenia Melzer

Eruca - Xenia Melzer

Genre: Paranormal, Mystery

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

When Detective George Donovan and his eccentric partner, Detective Andi Hayes, need a break from their gruesome job, a hike seems like just the thing.

Unfortunately, the job catches up with them when they find three dead men in a lake.

When the promising clues dry up, George and Andi turn once more to Andi’s “gift”—but this time things aren’t so easy. Andi’s mysterious talents are growing stronger, making it harder to block out the barrage of information and taking a toll on his physical and mental health. The cryptic clues his informants offer are even more bizarre than the case itself. And the more they discover about the victims, the more uncomfortable the investigation becomes.

Torn between catching a killer and serving justice, between George’s career and Andi’s sanity, the detectives have their work cut out for them if they’re going to solve these murders.

The Review

Eruca is the second novel in the “Arthropoda” series, better known as “An Andi Hayes Mystery,” by Xenia Melzer. Detectives George Donovan and Andi Hayes are back with another mind puzzling mystery.

As George and Andi work closer on a triple murder case, Andi tries to control his geschenk. The insect communication just keeps pulling him further into their world. He knows George has goals and will be moving on soon, and doesn’t want to get too attached to him.

As George keeps learning new things from Andi and sees Andi’s reaction to the geschenk getting stronger, his concerns keep mounting. George does everything possible to help Andi and as much as they both try to deny it, their connection is gradually growing too.

But even with George’s worries about his career and Andi, he always has his brother Daniel.   Daniel is open to listen to his troubles, and to give George some reasonable advice.  

The triple murder case is stressful enough, as they keep hitting dead ends when it comes to suspects: wives and sons that seem to not care, and acquaintances who have possible motives.   The pressure is on from Chief Norris to solve the case by any means.

George takes a stand, and decides he and Andi have to do what’s necessary to protect themselves.

Every time, George and Andi think they can eliminate someone from their long list of suspects, something else crops up. Shireen, their IT guru, digs deep into the darkweb, where she finds a contract killer. Could this be it? will all the pieces finally come together?

Not for Andi, because he knows arthropoda and pheromones don’t lie!

Melzer brings a complex murder mystery to the page in this book. Even if you do guess the guilty party, there are so many twists and turns to get caught up in. It comes down to what people with money will do to aid or destroy one other.  Eruca is a suspenseful, action-packed, fast paced novel with a dark theme. The insects in the story are fascinating, and Melzer does an outstanding job with the way Andi communicates with them. 

As for George and Andi, their conversations become very emotional. Especially for George, as he starts to realize Andi has no one. Things get slightly domestic as George’s concern for Andi grows, and even the insects have an opinion about George. 

For Andi, there are moments that are sad and eerie as he struggles with his connection with them.  George is an anchor for Andi, but they both have a long way to go in relationship, because they just haven’t figured it out yet. 

The entertaining cast of characters are back, including Daniel Donovan, who brings brotherly love and humor to the story.  Shireen is the best, using her expertise at digging deep into the darkweb, and there’s also a new assistant named Timothy DeLain. Coroner Dr. Evangeline Melcourt and SWAT leader Forard fill out the main cast.

The series just gets better and better. Eruca is a real page-turner with its unique subject matter. I’ll be watching for the next installment to see what Xenia Melzer has in store for Andi and George!

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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