Title: Shadows Left Behind: An Historical Mysteries Box Set
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: JustJoshin Publishing
Release Date: April 2, 2021
Genre(s): M/M Historical, Mystery, Romance
Page Count: 524
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
"Shadows Left Behind" is a set of five historical mysteries ranging from WWI to post-WWII. 1916 to 1948. I've always enjoyed Lanyon's historicals because the characters feel true to the era and she does an excellent job of giving us the time period without too many extraneous details.
Overall, I would give this collection 4 stars, with some stories a bit higher and others lower:
Out of the Blue (1916) - Set in WWI, with planes dogfighting above the trenches and the staggering loss of life, two pilots meet because of a murder and its cover-up. I had a niggle about the way Lanyon develops the relationship between Bat and Cowboy and how its beginning is somewhat creepy and nonconsensual (due to blackmail) but she captures the feeling of grabbing life and love, while know that any day could be their last. 3.5 stars.
The Dark Farewell (1922) - Set in Illinois during the Prohibition, reporter David Flynn meets Julian Devereaux, a traveling spiritualist / medium and it doesn't take a crystal ball to see that Julian is very attracted to David, and vice versa. Throw in a series of murders in the area, a traveling salesman, a death in the boarding house, labor unrest, hot nights and cool jazz, and this compelling story definitely held my interest .... until the final chapter where the story is way too quickly resolved. 4 stars.
This Rough Magic (1935) - A great setting and two intriguing main characters (PI Neil Patrick Rafferty, and the upper crust Brett Sheridan) but where it falls apart, IMHO, is all the characters - there's Brett's sister and her tragically dead fiance, her relationship with a shady character, the stepmother with a mysterious past, Brett's delusional family and his shoplifting / piano playing sister, the wacky father and his love of Etruscan art, the siblings named Sebastian and Viola (and their dearly departed brother .... Hamlet) .... sigh. 3 stars.
Slay Ride (1943): This story was a bit uneven, with a far-too long car chase and hostage / robbery / murder situation, which is quickly wrapped up with a single newspaper article and a short epilogue. But the relationship between Police Chief Rob Garrett and young reporter Jamie Johnson is very well-done. 3.5 stars.
Murder Between the Pages (1948): This is my favorite story in the collection, an entertaining "locked room" mystery, set in 1948 or so, with two crime writers who hate each other with a passion, and in the process of solving a crime find themselves begrudgingly falling in love. Lanyon gives us two men who survived the war - one in the OSS and the other as a pilot - but still miss the excitement, and having a purpose. 4.5 stars.
I received an ARC from the author, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.