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REVIEW: Shades of Sepia – Anne Barwell

Shades Of Sepia - Anne Barwell

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

To be soulmates they first have to survive. 

A serial killer stalks the streets of Boggslake, Ohio. The victims are always found in pairs, one human and one vampire. 

Simon Hawthorne has been a vampire for nearly a hundred years, and he has never seen anything like it. Neither have the other supernaturals he works with to keep the streets safe for both their kind and the humans. 

One meeting with Simon finds Ben Leyton falling for a man he knows is keeping secrets, but he can’t ignore the growing attraction between them. A recent arrival in Boggslake, Ben finds it very different from his native New Zealand, but something about Simon makes Ben feel as though he’s found a new home. 

After a close friend falls victim to the killer, Simon is torn between revealing his true nature to Ben, and walking away to avoid the reaction he fears. But with the body count rising and the murders becoming more frequent, either, or both of them, could be the killer’s next target. 

Author’s note: This story was originally released in 2014 by another publisher. This edition has been revised and re-edited with the end result being a better, stronger story. 

The Review

Anne Barwell delivers the re-edited version of “Shades of Sepia” of “The Sleepless City” series that was first introduced in 2014.  This is an interesting murder mystery with an abundance of supernatural characters that are sure to pique the interest of paranormal readers. This first novel gives the reader an in-depth look at Ben Leyton and Simon Hawthorne and the team of Supernatural Investigators.

Ben Leyton has completed his college degree and is drawn to do something new.  He’s from New Zealand and has taken an overseas trip to Ohio.  He’s taken with photography and spends some of his time working and looking for unique pictures to photograph.  Ben has a best friend Ange Duncan, who he skype’s with often.  Ange is like a mother hen and quite the investigator when it concerns Ben. 

Simon Hawthorne is a professor of history.  He’s seeking out his soulmate who just happens to be Ben.  But Simon has been dealt a very rough hand, he’s lost two lovers and made a mistake and his confidence level has severely diminished.  When he finally meets Ben he’s more than nervous and he knowns he has to be completely honest with Ben or walk away.  Simon also knows his past keeps hanging over his head and he can’t forget the evilness that encompassed it.

Simon along with the Supernatural Investigators find themselves connected to the strange murders going on in Boggslake.  Six murders and each time there is an unusual pairing.  The investigation leads them to others cases that are similar.  When the case blows wide open it becomes dangerous and deadly to both Ben and Simon.

Anne Barwell creates a very eclectic group of residents and Supernatural Investigators that reside at Boggs Castle. Jonas Forge is a Detective for Boggslake Police Department. He’s very much like an older brother to Simon. He always seems to give solid advice to anyone who needs a helping hand. He also seems to have something from his past that haunts him.

Lucas Coate is the coroner and works in the field for Boggslake Police Department.  He’s brilliant at what he does but he’s also a jokester.  Just not sure when to take him seriously. But he’s loyal to his friends.

Mr. Boggs is the original owner of Boggs Castle and you never know where he’ll show up.  And of course, Moose!  There’s also Blair who insists to be called Alucard but it’s not working. He’s the young and gifted computer hacker, son of a former FBI contact of Forges. He’s into comics.  But he doesn’t live at Boggs Castle and does he even have a clue who he’s exactly working with.

Along with the fascinating characters, Anne Barwell does some interesting world building. She gives us a break down of how the Supernatural Investigators work within the different cities and the human population. There’s also the relationship of werewolf vs. vampires and how the struggle exists for them to live in the same world.  

I highly recommend “The Sleepless City” series for those that crave variety in the supernatural. There’s humor, action, and highly emotional moments filled with suspense and terror.  I had fun re-visiting all the characters, along with an amazing tale.  Anne Barwell is re-editing and will be releasing the other installments in “The “Sleepless City” series and I’ll be watching for their release!

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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