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Publisher's Summary

Rufus O’Callaghan has eked out a living on the streets of New York City by helping the police put away criminals as a confidential informant. But when Rufus shows up for an arranged meeting and finds his handler dead, his already-uncertain life is thrown into a tailspin. Now someone is trying to kill Rufus too, and he’s determined to find out why.

After leaving the Army under less than desirable circumstances, Sam Auden has drifted from town to town, hitching rides and catching Greyhounds, until he learns that a former Army buddy, now a police detective in New York City, has died by suicide. Sam knows that’s not right, and he immediately sets out to get answers.

As Rufus and Sam work together to learn the truth of their friend’s death, they find themselves entangled in a web of lies, cover-ups, and accelerating danger. And when they witness a suspect killed in cold blood, they realize they’re running out of time.

©2020 C.S. Poe, Gregory Ashe (P)2020 C.S. Poe, Gregory Ashe

What listeners say about A Friend in the Dark

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Please get a new narrator!!!!

This is a terrific story and an awesome beginning to a new series. The only problem is the narrator is one of the worst I’ve ever heard. Both authors are always a great read. This was a great writing duo!! I look forward to the next book. Please get a new narrator.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent start to a promising series

I love both these authors' writing, so it's no surprise that I grabbed this book as soon as it was released. It was a treat to revisit it in audio format (with thanks to Greg Ashe for the complimentary copy). I enjoyed spending time with the characters again and am now impatiently awaiting book two. My only complaint is the narration. Too many mispronounced/misaccented words and long midsentence pauses that made it hard to follow the narrative. That part, sadly, was disappointing.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great mystery with a lot of heart

Everything about Rufus makes me want to wrap him in a blanket and take care of him. Despite everything he's been through, he hasn't lost his belief that good things do happen and his desire to be loved. That's what made the ending even more heartwrenching.

Sam has a much harder shell around his heart than Rufus does, but I loved that we were able to see that shell cracking throughout the book.

The mystery plot was great, with twists and turns that kept me engaged even though I already knew the ending.

It was awesome to hear Sam and Rufus come to life and the narrator did a great job voicing them. My only complaint (and it's so incredibly minor) is that there were weird pauses throughout the narration. Sometimes the pauses were in the middle of sentences where you wouldn't normally pause and they went on so long that I often looked down at my phone to make sure it was still playing. It was annoying, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the performance.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good start to a series

I am a big fan of Gregory Ashe, and have listened to all of his books that have been released on audio. While I am not as familiar with C.S. Poe’s books, the ones I have listened to, I enjoyed. What I have read/listened to from both of them separately definitely had me interested in seeing how they would collaborate with each other.


Rufus O’Callaghan is a street “rat” or CI for the New York Police Department. The officer he helps is Jake, who ends up being murdered by someone who tries to take out Rufus when he shows up for their meet-up. Sam Auden was a former soldier who served with Jake and also a former friend with benefits. Sam comes in from the Midwest to try and find out who would kill his friend. I feel like both of these characters are complicated in different ways. Sam has tremors and nightmares from his past. He also has no plans to let anyone get close to him. Rufus has a history of self-harm. While I’d like to see both of these characters explored more in depth in future books of this series, I didn’t really connect to either of them in this book. Perhaps it was all of their defensiveness with each other.


Somehow they are both able to work out the mystery of their friend’s death. The force Jake worked for has it’s share of crooked cops and though we kind of know who is responsible by the middle of the book, the real trick is for Rufus and Sam to prove who is behind the murder and help bring them to justice. I found the crime solving satisfying in this book, and while a romance might be simmering between the two main characters, things seem to be off between them by the end of this book. I do like a slow burn and I think it would be good for them to figure themselves out before we see a HEA or HFN.


Besides this being a new collaboration between these two authors, this was also a new narrator to me. I found him to be pretty good and I would listen to him again. Though the ending is a little up in the air in regards to the characters and their future direction, I like what I have listened to so far and eagerly wait for the next book in the series.

2 people found this helpful

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Must listen

In my opinion, this book sounded a little more like a CS Poe book than a Gregory Ashe book. Meaning: I didn't have as hard of a time trying to figure out who the big bad was. One of the things that I love about Gregory Ashe's book was found in this book. Broken but tough men. It ends with a soft cliffhanger which is a bummer since the next book isn't out yet. I really need to know what happens next! Still, I highly recommend this book.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story. Decent narration.

Rufus and Sam are an interesting team up because their idiosyncracies create an entertaining dynamic. They both have self-confidence in different areas, and their perceived flaws become more like character traits when they are working together. The resulting character development and interaction was a highlight of this story.

The narrator's voice was pleasant, and most of the narration was decent. There were a few awkward pauses and moments with emphasis on the wrong word or syllable, but overall still worth listening to. It felt like the narrator didn't read the story before narrating.

If you like the either Gregory Ashe or C.S. Poe's writing, and you find the narrator's voice pleasant, this is worth the listen.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Fine, but everything feels forced

I liked the characters individually, but they didn't have much to tie them together practically or much spark. The result was that the whole narrative felt forced and not very believable. Maybe it was that the "bad guys" had almost zero development, or it could have been the narration. I felt the narrator for this was otherwise fine, though, so that seems unlikely to me. I also didn't feel that the mystery was either particularly mysterious or particularly compelling. Parts of it had this fake-feeling grittiness that didn't feel earned. I finished it, but found myself zoning out frequently and didn't feel compelled to go back and re-listen when I did

1 person found this helpful

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  • kp
  • 01-23-21

Loved It!

What do you get when two of your favorite authors collaborate on a new book? Perfection and the best kind of book hanger!

A Friend in the Dark is a richly written, beautifully complex story. There is nothing easy about either of the main characters. Both Rufus and Sam are deeply damaged, flawed men who have come together to figure out what happened to a mutual friend, Jake. What takes place is a fast paced, action filled, beautifully built up story of betrayal, greed, loss and so much more.

The chemistry and connection between Rufus and Sam is as confusing to them as it is palpable to the reader. The friction they create together at first creates a physical connection. This quickly morphs into an emotional attachment neither one is prepared for.

I really loved the dialogue between these guys. It's full of snark and sass, my personal weakness!
The surprising abrupt ending leaves the reader desperate for more! Garrett Kiesel does an amazing job of bringing these characters to life! I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the Auden & O'Callaghan Mystery serie

1 person found this helpful

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4.5 stars

I’m a fan of Gregory’s and now need to read CSPoe. I adored Rufus! There was snark, banter, feelings, mystery, more feelings, kidnapping and more feelings. Enjoyed the narrator. Need book 2 now!

1 person found this helpful

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Great Read

Compelling story, flawed characters & intrigue. I love Rufus & Sam, two flawed men who somehow manage to fit. Their path may be rocky, but at least they are on the same page.

Great narration as well, which is essential in bringing these intriguing characters to life.

Looking forward to book 2.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary
  • 09-01-21

Terrible audio editing for decent story

It's such a shame that my enjoyment of this book was ruined by the bad audio editing for this audiobook. There are spaces of several seconds between sentences and character dialogue throughout this story. it made listening to this book stop start frustrating. I tried speeding the audio but it didn't help. I did report the issue to Audible but they did nothing about it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Caz
  • 03-28-21

Good story - but why all the long pauses?

A Friend in the Dark is book one (of four) in a new series of m/m romantic suspense novels co-authored by Gregory Ashe and C.S. Poe, and it’s a strong start, boasting a well-paced and interesting mystery and two quirky, engaging central characters I’m eager to spend more time with. Narrator Garret Kiesel is new-to-me and, it seems, quite new to audiobook narration in general; so far he has narrated a few non-fiction books with this as his sole venture into fiction. I’m always apprehensive when listening to a new narrator, especially one who is narrating a book I’ve enjoyed; thankfully however, Mr. Kiesel acquits himself reasonably well , but there’s a serious production issue that irritated me, especially during the latter half of the audiobook.

The mystery - which revolves around the murder of a detective and the two of his friends who want to find out what happened - is intriguing and nicely put together, and the two central characters, are quirky and engaging. Their relationship looks set to be one of Gregory Ashe's typical slow-burns, and while the mystery is solved by the end of this book, it hangs on a cliffhanger in terms of Rufus and Sam's relationship, but I have faith the two authors will get them together in the end!

The narration isn't bad, although there are a lot of mispronunciations that should have been picked up in post production and corrected, but by far the biggest issue are all the unnecessary pauses. There are a lot – and I mean a LOT – of them; between dialogue and tags (he said etc.), between alternating dialogue in conversations – which makes the whole conversation seem stilted – between sentences, between paragraph breaks… and it was difficult to ignore or “unhear” it. A second or two of silence is a long time in an audiobook, and some of these pauses were long enough to have caused me to wonder if my phone battery had died. Garrett Kiesel's actual performance isn't bad, and I'd definitely listen to him again, but I hope the pauses are eradicated in book two.

1 person found this helpful

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  • WallE
  • 02-20-21

A great start to new series

I was give this audiobook as an advanced listener.
When I reviewed the ebook I voiced the fear that the fact that two of my favourite writers coming together to write a book I was worried that I would be disappointed. That was not the case.

So what does listening to the audiobook add. Garrett Kiesel was a good choice as the narrator. I had wondered if we might get two narrators to give the different perspectives of Rufus and Sam as in the book but it wasn't necessary as Kiesel made their characters and voices distinct and quite quickly I could hear their thoughts and was their with them through their travails.

As previously stated admittedly it was a slow start but the foundation was necessary as the story took off. Rufus and Sam's characters were built so that you wanted to invest in them and both Poe and Ashe know how to write a good story that forces you go along even when you should taking break and getting on with more mundane things.

We need book two as there is much more to understand as to how Rufus and Sam came to be as they are now.
We also need to keep Garrett Kiesel because as the narrator as he is a good find.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. E. J. Curtis
  • 01-29-22

Interesting Story

The story premise is good and the characters are likeable. The narration was good too.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 09-16-21

The odd couple

Rufus has a problem. He’s a CI (confidential informant) for the NYC Police Department and his contact has just been killed and now he’s squarely a target.

Sam’s old buddy was Rufus’ handler, and upon hearing of his former army friend’s death, he heads to NYC to try to figure out what’s going on.

Sam and Rufus are an unlikely pair as they try to figure out what happened. They are attracted to each other – even sleep together – but both have mental health issues that they need to deal with. Oh yeah and crooked cops, human traffickers, and NYC in the summer. Made for an interesting ride.

I wasn’t thrilled with the ending, but I knew there would be more books to come and so held out hope and now that book 2 is out in audio, I’m heading there now.

Garrett Kiesel in a new narrator for me and he did a decent job. Can’t wait to see where Sam and Rufus go next.