LAYING GHOSTS by James Buchanan
Laying Ghosts by James Buchanan
Deputy Joe, Book 3
Reviewed by Cassie
Deputy Joe Peterson has a lot on his plate. His parents are returning from their mission trip out of the country, which means he’s going to have to tell them he’s gay. One of the cold cases he’s been assigned to enter into the computer while he’s on restricted duty turns out to involve someone a lot closer than he expects, leading him to believe his family has been hiding secrets of their own. Then there’s the big family reunion coming up. On top of all the family issues, Joe still has to deal with the fallout he faces at work for being involved with Kabe Varghese, who’s still on probation. Can Joe and Kabe lay the ghosts of their past to rest before they destroy the future?
Laying Ghosts is another great installment of the Deputy Joe series. Joe Peterson is quiet, conservative, dependable, loyal, religious—and gay. Coming out was hard. Living with the consequences of coming out in a small, conservative, mostly Mormon town is harder. But it’s worth it to Joe, because he has Kabe. Adrenaline junkie Kabe is Joe’s opposite in many ways, but together they work. They’re amazing in bed together, and outside of bed they support each other. In Laying Ghosts, secrets from all sides come to light. Stoic Joe is trying to deal with his family’s confusion and disapproval over his relationship with Kabe. On top of that, he begins investigating a cold case connected to his family, which causes pain for him and for many others. He tries to deal with things on his own, the way he was accustomed to doing before Kabe, with disastrous results.
Laying Ghosts is a many-layered story. There’s a mystery to be solved, as well as a lot of family drama and relationship changes and growth for Joe and Kabe. Joe is a wonderful first-person narrator. He comes across as a bit of a redneck and sometimes a bit too stuck on the rules, but inside he’s much more. He’s a sharp investigator, a loyal lover, son, and brother, and much more emotional than his tough exterior would reveal. Kabe is a good balance for Joe. He’s more willing to say what he thinks, regardless of how it will be received. He pushes Joe to take chances and enjoy life more. He also pushes Joe to accept what they both want in bed, something Joe, with his upbringing, has a hard time doing.
The mystery and family drama in Laying Ghosts were both very compelling. I wanted to see who had committed the murder, and how it would affect Joe’s already strained family. As could be expected with a conservative Mormon family, some members don’t approve of Joe to the point of wanting to ostracize him. It was nice as well to see that there were several members of the family who weren’t like that , although they understandably felt conflicted over his relationship. The evolution of Joe and Kabe’s relationship was also very well done. They have a lot to work through, both in the bedroom and outside of it, but their issues were handled very well. With an unusual hero, great characters, and an interesting storyline, Laying Ghosts is a great read. Anyone who hasn’t read this series ought to pick up the first book ASAP.