Being John Church (A Bucks County Mystery, #2)

 Being John Church (A Bucks County Mystery, #2)
Author: Neil S. Plakcy 
Publisher: Samwise Books
Release Date: September 1, 2022
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary, Murder/Mystery
Page Count: 346 
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 

I will admit it took some time to truly become engrossed in this book, but I ended up really appreciating the narrative structure of this story and it definitely held my interest to the very end. 

Pascal Montrouge, Jeff's lover, is dead and Jeff soon discovers that Pascal is not who Jeff thought him to be. 
"I've been wondering about Pascal's lies. That when he said that he loved me, was that a lie, too? But maybe the real question is would I have loved Pascal if I knew the real man behind the facade?" 
Jeff learns that Pascal's exotic and exciting childhood - something all of his friends took as gospel - is completely false, and some of his subsequent experiences are suspect as well. Jeff wonders if this subterfuge is also the reason for Pascal's accidental death .... or is his death a murder? 

There are reasons why someone reinvents themselves, why they turn their back on family and make new bonds, why sometimes the past is so unyielding and oppressive that dulling one's senses is the only way to cope. And the way in which the author reveals that history is equal parts compelling and heartbreaking. 

As I finished the book, I wondered if some of the additional plot elements (suspected crimes, murders) were really needed here, as the central plot of discovery is enough. I recently found a great quote - "When you meet someone for the first time, that’s not the whole book. That’s just the first page” (Brody Armstrong) and the author's take on that dichotomy is what really works so well in "Being John Church." 4 strong stars. 

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

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