Book Reviews

The Element Case (Quint and Clay Art Crimes 1) by Edward Kendrick at JMS Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Officer of the Law / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 08-January-2021

Book Blurb

Clay Richardson is a well-known artist who owns his own gallery.

Quint Hawk, a police detective, makes contact with Clay when he sees a portrait Clay has painted in the window of the gallery -- a portrait of a homeless young man who was murdered just days before. Unfortunately, Clay has no idea who the subject was.

Several months later, Quint contacts Clay to again ask about one of Clay's paintings. The subject has been murdered, as has a third man in another of his paintings.

The reclusive artist and the handsome detective are drawn to each other as they try to determine what is happening and why. They come up with a plan to catch the killer -- a plan that could end up in their deaths before they can decide if there is more to their feelings than a couple of very good nights in Clay's bed.



First edition published by Fireborn Publishing, January 2016.


Book Review

With murder mysteries not exactly my most frequently read genre, the ones I am attracted to usually have a vibe of something unusual. Well, unusual the way I define it. The blurb for this story intrigued me because it seemed to imply some sort of psychic ability on the part of the artist. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I found it fascinating to see the mysterious link between the paintings and the murders explained in an entirely rational, nonpsychic way. It took a bit of doing, and two very bright men, each in their own way, but by the end of the novella it all came down to very human emotions and a readiness to ignore the sanctity of human life on the killer’s part. This is a suspenseful story with great main characters, a few twists and turns, and an unexpected but entirely logical resolution.

Clay is an artist who is making a name for himself. He co-owns a gallery, but wants nothing to do with the business side of things. In fact he is so reclusive that his business partner and agent has to “force” him to attend exhibition openings. Clay doesn’t want people in his life, and that includes boyfriends. He has tried that a couple of times – with disastrous results the last time – and has decided hookups are the better options. He is not shy in rebuffing advances when he does go out, so there might just be one or more men out there who hold a grudge. But enough to kill the men he paints? Clay finds that very hard to imagine.
Quint is the detective who figures out that the murder victims in some of his cases had been painted by Clay just before their death. He is as down-to-earth and rational as they come, so he is all about finding out if Clay is the murderer, or if something even more sinister is going on. Quint comes up with a few possible explanations, a hypothesis or two, and in the process of trying to get Clay to cooperate, he begins to feel an attraction that turns out to be mutual. When he uses this attraction as part of a scheme to get the murderer to reveal himself, things quickly heat up in more than one way.

If you like unusual couples with men who seem to be cut out for loneliness, if a mysterious murder case with a few twists and turns is your thing, and if you’re looking for a read with great characters, lots of suspense, and a very satisfying happy ending, then you will probably like this novella. I enjoyed it a lot and look forward to reading about Quint and Clay’s next case!





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 33868 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 02-January-2021
Price $3.99 ebook
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