Title: Hanging the Stars
Author: Rhys Ford
Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Series: Half Moon Bay Mystery #2
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 01-12-2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Thriller/Suspense Romance
Page Count: 220
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Angel Daniels grew up hard, one step ahead of the law and always looking over his shoulder. A grifter’s son, he’d learned every con and trick in the book but ached for a normal life. Once out on his own, Angel returns to Half Moon Bay where he once found…and then lost…love.
Now, Angel’s life is a frantic mess of schedules and chaos. Between running his bakery and raising his troubled eleven-year-old half-brother, Roman, Angel has a hectic but happy life. Then West Harris returns to Half Moon Bay and threatens to break Angel all over again by taking away the only home he and Rome ever had.
When they were young, Angel taught West how to love and laugh but when Angel moved on, West locked his heart up and threw away the key. Older and hardened, West returns to Half Moon and finds himself face-to-face with the man he’d lost. Now, West is torn between killing Angel or holding him tight.
But rekindling their passionate relationship is jeopardized as someone wants one or both of them dead, and as the terrifying danger mounts, neither man knows if the menace will bring them together or forever tear them apart.
Quality characters, excellent dialogue, and a little mystery
Hanging the Stars is a second chance romance with an underlying mystery driving the plot. The book starts fast with an intense action scene. It maintains that rapid pace throughout the book. This is the first book I’ve read in the Half Moon Bay Mystery series. There’s some overlap featuring the main characters from the first book, but there’s no issue with reading this title as a standalone.
The characters made this book for me. The primary and secondary characters are likable and good people, and the reader can’t help but hope they all find their happily ever after. West and Angel are from opposite sides of the track so to speak. The author plays up their opposing history well. The different viewpoints are clear and highlight their personalities and experiences, but presented playfully so it never feels angst-ridden. The dialogue, particularly the banter, flows well and helps create these vibrant characters. I think the characters and their interactions drive the plot even more than the romance and suspense surrounding the mysterious attacks and are certainly my favorite aspect of the story.
The action and mystery elements are executed well, though I wish there was a bit more suspense. I was never riddled with worry for the characters or experienced that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach like I expect with mysteries. Nevertheless this is a fun story to unravel and see how all the components fit together. Though the pace is rapid throughout the book, there’s no lack of detail. The author creates vivid scenes with crisply described emotions that never left the reader in the dark.
Unfortunately the fast pace also applies to the relationship between Angel and West. With a second chance romance, I expect tension and reluctance. This one doesn’t feel realistic in that manner. There are moments over the past years the characters had the opportunity to reconnect and they didn’t, so when they quickly get back together and move toward a serious relationship, I was slightly disappointed. Although there was some hesitation, especially on Angel’s part, I wish there was more development in the relationship aspect of the storyline. Overall, Angel and West complement each other well and I like how committed they are to seeing their relationship work the second time around. I was thrilled there wasn’t the stereotypical break up/separation and things on that front stayed relatively drama free.
Greg Tremblay does a wonderful job narrating Hanging the Stars. With the banter playing such a key role in this book, having a narrator that brought the characters and scenes to life with a bright tone and intonation was essential. I liked his performance and will continue to look for audiobooks he narrates in the future.
I really enjoyed the second book in the Half Moon Bay Mystery series and now plan to not only watch for the third book, but go back and read about Deacon and Lang as well. The characters were lively and fun with a bright dialogue that often brought a smile to my face. This was the perfect lighter read/listen that also boasted intense moments and good characters, which grabbed my interest and keep me invested throughout the book.