Title: Lime Gelatin & Other Monsters
Series: Offbeat Crimes #1
Author: Angel Martinez
Genre: Gay Paranormal Mystery
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Kyle Monroe’s encounter with a strange gelatinous creature in an alley leaves him scarred and forever changed, revealing odd abilities he wishes he didn’t have and earning him reassignment to a precinct where all the cops have defective paranormal abilities.
Just as he’s starting to adjust to his fellow misfit squad mates, Kyle’s new partner arrives. Tall, physically perfect, reserved, and claiming he has no broken psychic talents, Vikash Soren irritates Kyle in every way. But as much as he’d like to hate Vikash, Kyle finds himself oddly drawn to him, their non-abilities meshing in unexpected ways. If they can learn to work together, they might be able to stop the mysterious killer who has been leaving mutilated bodies along the banks of the Schuylkill.
This was short, sweet, and the characters were interesting and had depth. The storyline was engaging, though not so heavy or twisted that I had to break my mental bank. All in all, a fun light-hearted read. It was also incredibly funny, which I’ve missed in fiction.
The major win for this novel was the delightful awkwardness and humor of the characters and their social interactions. All members of the 77th Precinct are members of law enforcement with paranormal powers… that perhaps aren’t as useful as some. You have a guy who can only teleport fruit, a vampire who can’t drink (whole) blood, and Kyle, our protagonist, who absorbs other people’s powers but has no idea how to use them, to name a few members of the team. It’s almost as if Martinez could read my mind when I asked the question, “What if a mutant’s powers were more random, like a true mutation, and they were completely useless?”
Turns out, hilarity ensues.
The plot itself was less of a who-done-it, and more of a Thriller-type. The mystery wasn’t too dense. We get to run all over town, but mostly muck around in the super creepy bogs of the river. The intrigue was weighted toward the interpersonal drama, which was spot-on and superb.
Kyle is permanently scarred (mentally and physically) after an accident. He seems more of our ‘every man’ character, and his life is sort of boring in a bizarre way, considering where he works. At the office, he faces the typical adversity: there’s the aggressive asshat, the flirt, the recluse (more than one), the truth-teller no one listens to, and the hard-as-nails boss, who has to perform a monthly ritual or an ancient god breaks through the dimensions and tears the world asunder. Y’know, the usual stuff.
On top of all that, in walks the new guy, Vikash, who claims to have no powers at all (spoiler: he lying). Of course Kyle and Vikash are partnered up, which turns into a professional conflict of interest later on…. *clears throat* I could go on, but in order to fully appreciate the depth of the social dynamics, you should read this for yourself.
If you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you’ll probably love this. With all the drama, cool special effects, and the thrills, this book is pretty much everything I wanted in my superhero dramas growing up but never actually got–until now.
Thanks, Martinez! Five stars.
The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.
Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.
She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.
Ben Brock is a reviewer for The Novel Approach and Queer Sci Fi. He enjoys running, whisk(e)y, and the mythical gluten-free donut, 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.