Southernmost Murder

Southernmost Murder - C.S. Poe Originally reviewed at Sinfully.

A literal skeleton in the closet of the supposedly haunted Smith Family Historical Home in Old Town, Key West starts this tale of mystery and romance. Not that the house manager Aubrey Grant believes in ghosts. As things get weirder and deadlier, the possibility that the ghost of Captain Smith may be haunting the place seems the least of Aubrey's problems. Being drawn into a murder mystery isn't the way he expected to spend the 10 days he has with FBI Agent Jun Tanaka, the man he is hoping to claim as his boyfriend after reconnecting last year with the help of his friend Sebastian Snow.

Aubrey is not so much into amateur sleuthing, but the historian can’t resist looking into the possibility that there may be more to the story of Captain Smith than he ever expected. Add in a treasure hunt with pirates, maps and X marking the spot, and it's soon clear that the danger is very real. With the Smith home and legend at the center of it all, it's hard for Aubrey not to be involved. With Jun at his side and having his back, Aubrey just may survive the man or myth that seems out to get him. Infused with historical fact and fiction, the mystery kept me interested. As Aubrey starts collecting clues we are treated to a number of local characters, any of whom may be involved in the murder and mayhem at the Smith house.

Of course, in along with the mystery is the evolving relationship between Aubrey and Jun. What is supposed to be a vacation for Jun and time for the men to reconnect becomes almost another day at the FBI office for Jun. They've known each other for a few years but over the past year have been flirting online. This is the first time they will physically be together in two years and Aubrey is ready to officially make Jun his boyfriend. They had an interesting backstory and it's not just Aubrey who has been doing some wishful/lustful thinking. They are very different physically and personality-wise, but they are perfect for each other.

Jun is a sweetheart, soft-spoken and romantic, a bit passive for a big, bad-ass FBI agent, just rolling with Aubrey's flightiness and his unorthodox schedule and habits that are a part of living with his narcolepsy. Aubrey is snarky and sweet and determined to lay things on the line with Jun, who seems to be everything he ever wanted (and some things he didn't know he wanted) in a partner. At times they seem like they've been together forever while other times, everything is new and many things surprising. While they are happy together in the end, I would love to see where the future takes them.

I’ve really come to enjoy C.S. Poe’s writing style. The mystery is well built, the dialogue is snappy, the characters interesting and the sex scenes are hot. Told from Aubrey's POV, the action starts on page one and I liked him from the start. Through his eyes I also came to quickly adore Jun as well. This is the first time I've read a story where a character had narcolepsy and I definitely learned a few things.

I loved the Key West setting, and not just because I'm looking at 12 inches of snow as I type this. The details of island life and the locales captured the feel and spirit of that unique island paradise. Similar in style to her Snow & Winter books (and with a cameo by Sebastian Snow), fans of those stories will enjoy this one as well, and I can easily recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery with a nice dose of romance.