Tyack & Frayne: Kitto – Harper Fox
Now Lee is free from the malevolent ghost of Morris Hawke, his clairvoyant gifts are expanding fast. Too fast for comfort, and he and Gideon find themselves wrestling with his unsettling capacity to see the future. In some ways this new power is wonderful, and Lee finds himself a local hero after predicting a flood.
But there’s one aspect he can’t bear, and that’s the blind spot he sees when he thinks about the wedding plans he and Gideon have started to make. It’s as if this event, which he wants more than life, simply isn’t going to happen. He’s troubled and stressed out, and Gideon decides to intervene, whisking him off to an isolated creek-side cabin in the mysterious Cornish ria country. All is peaceful there, and the clamour in Lee’s head subsides. It’s time for companionship, peace, good food and plenty of sex…
Then a young man wanders out of the woods and turns their blissed-out retreat into chaos. Kitto is harmless – a charming drifter, very handsome. To Gideon he’s just a kid, flesh and blood and a bit of a nuisance. But Lee reacts with horror. Since when can Gideon – Lee’s rock, his connection to the real world and sanity – see ghosts?
Mysterious midsummer is rising in the deep green Cornish countryside, and as the village gears up for the eerie Golowan festival, Lee and Gideon face their toughest case yet: a battle between the real and spirit worlds that threatens to tear their own apart.
Kitto started off with an air of nervous anticipation. Lee and Zeke form an unlikely friendship and embark on a search for the perfect ring. The wedding is near and Lee is turning into a Bridezilla. Zeke, in his usual dry humor tries to comfort his brother’s fiance. Lee then receives a vision of a natural disaster, cue Zeke’s hilarious reaction and our favorite psychic becomes a hero. It all became too much for him. He and Gid decided to go on a vacation to get away from it all but a certain ‘teenage nutcase‘, falls into their hands. The psychic is convinced he’s a ghost but the copper insists he’s real and sets out to prove it. For the first time in their relationship, conflict and ugly fights ensue. At one point, Lee even tells his boyfriend in no uncertain terms to “fuck off“. To his amazement, Gideon still calls him “love” after that. ♥(ˆ⌣ˆԅ)
After that flood and the boys took a break, I was expecting something sedate. But again, they were thrust into another mystery, this time not that creepy but more disturbing . The monster is very real and very sinister because of the implications and that eerie horse skull. I wasn’t familiar with the Penglas character but I definitely don’t want him lurking around.
The couple were also roped into joining the Golowan or the Midsummer festival. There’s always something so dark and primal about these pagan festivals and Harper Fox did a good job using this not only to give an extra thrum of chaos and heighten the suspense at the climax but also in binding the two men together in an ancient ceremony. The confrontation with the monster was brutal. There were heart stopping moments when all seemed lost and the wedding almost didn’t happened. But after hanging on by the skin of their teeth, and some backseat interlude, they finally made it.
And so, the wedding. Lee and Gid looked dashing in their dove gray suits. Their happiness was contagious. Everybody was there including Isolde. And then Lee’s sister showed up and dropped a bombshell. I thought this part was a little too much too soon. I expected it to happened, not then and there, but perhaps sometime in the next books. Oh well, I guess the boys get an early start on raising those goldfish.
Kitto was another enthralling installment of the Tyack & Frayne series, serving up spooky romance with a rich play of words and a Celtic vibe. At this point, I am committed to seeing this series through to the end. Love Lee and Gid! Can’t wait to see what that goldfish turns out to be.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Tyack & Frayne: Don’t Let Go – Harper Fox
What’s haunting Lee Tyack? He’s moved in with Gideon Frayne, and they’re both loving their new lives. But the shadow is still there – a voice from hell that torments clairvoyant Lee, and which even the pragmatic copper Gideon can hear.
Gideon’s determined to protect his lover. But after a serious injury on duty, Gideon finds out the hard way that he needs protection too. His job’s on the line and he’s scared. Worst of all, he thinks he knows who that voice belongs to – and he can’t stop Lee from heading off to confront this most terrifying ghost from his past.
When the full spring moon rises over Cornwall’s rugged coast, and the veil between the worlds grows thin, Tyack and Frayne must join forces to solve a decades-old mystery that still has the power to tear their world apart.
A couple of years ago, I started on Tyack & Frayne. It was OK but book two, Tinsel Fish, wasn’t all that spectacular and I dropped the series. I passed too hasty a judgment it turned out because Don’t Let Go, the third book, succeeded in captivating me this time.
Some things I liked:
Zeke, who was introduced on Tinsel Fish, was a revelation. Gideon’s Methodist preacher brother showed Lee and Gid that he wasn’t the stone cold religious conservative Gid thought he was. Loved his dry sense of humor.
Lee and Gideon had moved in together and I totally loved how their relationship grew. Gid was a stubborn git when faced with his convalescence but Lee, bless him, dealt with it all like a saint. That’s true love for you.
Meeting Lee’s family and getting some closure. Locryn is a beautiful name. Lee and Gid exorcised a monster from the past. Boy, was it creepy, especially when listened to at wee hours of the night.
Once again, Harper Fox made me want to go to Cornwall and visit these two men. Her trademark lyrical prose is best read with a British accent and Tim Gilbert did a good job making it all come to life. The way HF describes Bodmin, the imagery she used, was very evocative. I’m glad I gave this series another chance. While it does meander a bit, it delivered a riveting and emotional story. I have loved Lee and Gid’s chemistry from the get go and here they are evolving into a comfortable domesticity which is just lovely and ‘normal’ in contrast to all the excitement of chasing criminals, ghosts and psychic monsters. Someday, when they are both old men, they could rest in front of the fire and feel nostalgic about all this but for now, they’re still up for another adventure in book 4, Kitto.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Tyack & Frayne: Tinsel Fish – Harper Fox
Christmas in a Cornish seaside town, bright lights and a hot new romance to ward off the winter storms… What could be finer? But Gideon and Lee’s first festive season together is shockingly interrupted when Lee tries to rid a client’s home of a malevolent presence. The ritual goes wrong, and in its aftermath Lee is strangely altered. As well as dealing with the changes in his lover, Gideon has a sinister thread to follow, linking the haunted house with disappearances among the homeless people of Falmouth.
Can love withstand what looks like a case of possession? As the darkest night of the year comes down, Gideon finds himself locked in a battle to restore his lover’s soul.
Someday, I’ll go to London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cornwall and all these places I have read about and make a pilgrimage to sites mentioned in books like Camlet Moat, Gretna Green or a desolate moor.
The second book of the Tyack and Frayne series had Lee attempt to do a sort of cleansing and ended up not being himself. The result was a riotous scene where he picked a fight at a restaurant and ended up being hauled away like a sack of potatoes by Gideon. That was the best and one of the very few highlights of the book for me. The rest of the book was flat and uninteresting but those into steam would be glad that Lee and Gid had a lot of smexy time together.
Another thing of note is the appearance of Gideon’s brother Ezekiel and Lee ‘s meeting with Gideon’s parents. There was also a nice follow up on the Kemp kid’s situation and Isolde had more page time but all of these were not enough to save the book. I think I couldn’t be arsed to read the rest of the series anymore but a visit to Cornwall is still in order.
2 Stars – it’s a struggle to finish the damn book
Tyack & Frayne: Once Upon a Haunted Moor – Harper Fox
Gideon Frayne has spent his whole working life as a policeman in the village of Dark on Bodmin Moor. It’s not life in the fast lane, but he takes it very seriously, and his first missing-child case is eating him alive. When his own boss sends in a psychic to help with the case, he’s gutted – he’s a level-headed copper who doesn’t believe in such things, and he can’t help but think that the arrival of clairvoyant Lee Tyack is a comment on his failure to find the little girl.
But Lee is hard to hate, no matter how Gideon tries. At first Lee’s insights into the case make no sense, but he seems to have a window straight into Gideon’s heart. Son of a Methodist minister, raised in a tiny Cornish village, Gideon has hidden his sexuality for years. It’s cost him one lover, and he can’t believe it when this green-eyed newcomer stirs up old feelings and starts to exert a powerful force of attraction.
Gideon and Lee begin to work together on the case. But there are malignant forces at work in the sleepy little village of Dark, and not only human ones – Gideon is starting to wonder, against all common sense, if there might be some truth in the terrifying legend of the Bodmin Beast after all. As a misty Halloween night consumes the moor, Gideon must race against time to save not only the lost child but the man who’s begun to restore his faith in his own heart.
Cornwall is a place I often meet in literature with its moors and fogs and craggy hills. Living in a tropical country and never been abroad, sometimes I find it hard to imagine what the whole Cornish countryside looked like. Harper Fox, who is probably a Cornwall native, gives a good sense of the place and atmosphere in this first Tyack and Frayne novella. The cover also perfectly captured that walk in the desolate countryside. The mystery was straightforward and not so complicated. The main characters were likable and there’s a dog too. Overall, a nice, cozy, spooky read.
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it