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Publisher's Summary

Book three in The Plumber's Mate Mysteries series.

Old flames can leave a nasty burn.

It’s been six months since plumber Tom Paretski was hit by a shocking revelation about his family, and he’s been avoiding dealing with it ever since. His lover, PI Phil Morrison, wants Tom to dig deeper into his history and try to develop his psychic talent for finding things, but Tom’s not nearly so keen. Just as he decides to bite the bullet, though, worse problems crawl out of the woodwork.

Young Devil’s Dyke barmaid Marianne has an ex, Grant Carey, who won’t accept that things are over between them, and he’s ruthless in dealing with anyone who gets in his way. When Carey threatens an old friend of theirs, Phil and Tom step in to help - but that makes them targets themselves. 

What with his uncertainty about Phil’s motives, Tom’s family doing their best to drive a wedge between them, and the uncovering of an ugly incident in Phil’s past, Tom’s not sure who he can trust - and the body he finds in the pub cellar isn’t the only thing that stinks.

Note: This is lightly edited reprint of a previously published novel. 

©2018 JL Merrow (P)2021 Riptide Publishing

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What happened to Tom?

Not sure how I feel about this third installment of the Plumbers Mate. I loved the first, and though we didn't get much of Tom's gift in the second - I did enjoy seeing his family dynamic and him reconnecting with his sister. This 3rd one though sort of bothered me.

There are several things going on in this story. We have Tom dealing with the aftermath of learning about his father. We have a case with a terrible deceitful man causing issues. We have Phil's meeting with Tom's family.

We've spent the last 2 books seeing Tom not really have a relationship with his family, so to me it felt really out of character for Tom to turn on Phil after the surprise meeting with his family went bad. Tom's parents were terrible to Phil, yet Tom turned on Phil when Phil couldn't take it.

Then Tom again turns on Phil when issues of the case come up and some of Phil's past is learned. We see Tom pretty much defend everybody in town including somehow feeling for the bad guy, except for Phil. He doesn't have Phil's back and pretty much treats him like crap.

I really hate when authors create artificial relationship angst. When a MC acts out of character to create an issue, then the issues are magically resolved and the relationship moves forward - without the MC that caused the problem really having to put in the work to make up for his behavior.

I don't know if its Phil's guilt for the past or low self esteem, but he is treated terribly by Tom and just keeps coming back for more. Tom's birthday was so unbelievable in light of how the week prior had gone.

I was really disappointed in Tom, and he did nothing to redeem himself in the end. Really only Darren and Sherry (surprisingly) had Phil's back. I wanted to wrap Phil up and take him away from the horrible people in this town. If Tom was going to treat Phil this badly - he should have had to work to regain his trust.

I'm hesitant to continue the series, because I'm not sure how Tom will be treating Phil moving forward. Will he put him first, defend him, stand by him? Or will he turn on him again. I'll need to sit on this on for a bit before I decide.

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  • Mrs. E. J. Curtis
  • 01-12-22

Enjoyable Story

The story premise is good and the characters are likeable. The narration was good though not to my taste.