Book Reviews

Lock Nut (The Plumber's Mate Mysteries 5) by JL Merrow at Riptide Publishing

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Blue-Collar Workers / Erotic Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 14-May-2018

Book 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.



Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes: dubious consent and suicide.


Book Review

It has been far too long since a brand-new release in ‘A Plumber’s Mate Mystery’ series and I was excited to dig into it. This is a well-loved series and author for me, and returning to the small village of St. Albans with Tom, Phil, and all of the various quirky secondary characters was guaranteed to put me in a good mood. Not to mention a good old-fashioned murder mystery and lots of hilarious British-isms.

It’s no wonder I adore these characters. Darren (a dwarf), Gary’s husband, refers an old friend of his, Lilah (a dwarf), whom he met back in the day when he used to do straight porn, to Tom as her husband has gone missing. Luckily for Tom and Phil, Lilah only wants them to find her missing “gay husband who’s been straight for two years but it looks like he’s reverting” and deliver a letter from her. They find him, deliver the letter after a long, drawn-out foot chase, and consider it all well and done, until they’re watching the news and hear about his murder and the composite picture of the git they’re looking for is Tom. Of course, Tom gets ahold of Dave, his Detective Inspector friend who has just been promoted to Detective Chief Inspector and is getting a commendation for LGBT relations in the community (wtf?), and Dave gets the inspectors out to interview Tom and Phil at home.

I swear I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. Lucky for me I don’t have to.

It’s bad enough my guys are investigating a murder, but with Phil moving in with Tom there are some adjustments to be made. It doesn’t help that Tom keeps giving off the vibe of getting cold feet no matter how strongly he denies it. I could certainly understand where Tom was coming from. If you’ve never lived with a lover, fiancé, or partner before, it definitely changes your routine and can take some time to get used to.

“He gave me a sharp look. “Since when do you worry about my sister?”
“She’s family now. Or going to be. You know, when we, uh . . .”
“The phrase is ‘get married,’” Phil said drily. “If you can manage to get the words out, that is.” “Oi, are you suggesting I’m getting cold feet?”
There was an ear-splitting silence. “I wasn’t,” Phil said in the end. “Oops.”

As usual I was turning pages as quickly as I could, eagerly anticipating the solving of the murders and finding out who-dun-it. I so enjoy not being able to guess as that just takes all of the fun out of it. Phil and Tom have such great chemistry together and when they’re following leads and investigating alibis, I’m practically glued to the pages. I’ve got to admit the author did herself proud with the mystery and suspense!

I loved the ending although I hope this doesn’t signify the finale to these stories. The possible little hint at the very end gave me hope that I might see these guys again. Phil and Tom are wonderful characters, especially Tom, and all the zaniness that goes on always makes for a great read. Thank you, JL for this incredible ride.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Riptide Publishing for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 346 pages/89200 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 14-May-2018
Price $4.99 ebook, $18.99 paperback, $23.98 bundle
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