Review: Lock Nut (The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries #5)

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Rating: 4 stars

Buy Links: Riptide & Amazon

Type: Novel in a Series

Provided by Publisher 


Blurb: Still waters run deadly.

Tom Paretski, plumber with a talent for finding hidden things, and his private investigator fiancé Phil Morrison have been hired to locate a runaway husband, Jonathan Parrot. The job seems simple enough—until their quarry turns up dead in a canal, and a photofit of Tom’s face is splashed all over the news, making him chief suspect.

The widow, petite ex–porn star Lilah Lovett, is convinced her husband was killed by his gay lover, but Tom and Phil aren’t so sure. Worried they may have precipitated Jonathan’s death, they’re determined to find the real killer. But with a web of incestuous ties linking the suspects, it’s hard to know who to trust. Especially when a second victim dies a gruesome death.

Meanwhile, with their wedding looming and them sharing a house now, Tom’s worried it may all be too much, too fast. The last thing he needs are the mixed messages Phil seems to be sending out. They’ll need to get back on the same track if they want to make it to their honeymoon together—and alive.

Review: Tom and Phil are almost married. So of course Phil ends up with a case about a guy who runs away from his marriage. That’s exactly what a nervous Tom needs to see. So of course from there things just get worse. The missing husband is now a dead husband, everyone is grieving for their own slightly tangential reasons, and just how close to this family is Darren. Everyone has their own agenda that’s vaguely hidden or even fully hidden. How well does Tom even know Phil? Is Tom going to get stuck being the husband Phil wants him to be? Is Phil going to run his life!?!? Tom finds the flaws in his thinking, hopefully with enough time to tell Phil.

I love how Tom always gets himself worked up by the cases being investigated and in turn imagines the worst in Phil. Not that he doesn’t have grounds, Phil really did bully him back when they were young. In theory this should get old, but it’s so different every time. The cases are Tom’s worst fears come to life, and deep at the heart of everything Tom is always afraid he doesn’t know the real Phil. Even knowing this is only sustained by having the books in Tom’s POV I love it anyway and feel Tom’s fears right along with him.

I didn’t love this book as wholly as I have other books in the series. Maybe that was because of factors in my life and maybe that was things in the book. I don’t really know. Maybe it was because this book feels final. Tom and Phil aren’t really striving and working towards each other, they’ve got each other. Whether or not the series continues this main story arc is done, which, for me, lent this particular book a bittersweet aspect.

I cannot recommend this series of books enough. If there was some way to live near them I would. Or maybe not because people near them are always turning up dead. Anyway, the books are excellent. They’re fun cozy mysteries with a beautifully rewarding and romantic story arc and just enough paranormal to keep Tom on his toes.

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