Title: The Mystery of the Curiosities (Snow & Winter: Book Two)
Author: C.S. Poe
Narrator: Derrick McClain
Publisher: DSP Publications
Run Time: 7 hours and 15 minutes
At a Glance: I hope this series has a long run, and that Derrick McClain continues to narrate each new book. Buy this book for the great mystery that is well researched, buy the book for the growing love between Sebastian and Calvin, and buy the book for the fantastic narration.
Reviewed By: Mike
Blurb: Life has been pretty great for Sebastian Snow. The Emporium is thriving and his relationship with NYPD homicide detective, Calvin Winter, is everything he’s ever wanted. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Sebastian’s only cause for concern is whether Calvin should be taken on a romantic date. It’s only when an unknown assailant smashes the Emporium’s window and leaves a peculiar note behind that all plans get pushed aside in favor of another mystery.
Sebastian is quickly swept up in a series of grisly yet seemingly unrelated murders. The only connection tying the deaths together are curiosities from the lost museum of P.T. Barnum. Despite Calvin’s attempts to keep Sebastian out of the investigation, someone is forcing his hand, and it becomes apparent that the entire charade exists for Sebastian to solve. With each clue that brings him closer to the killer, he’s led deeper into Calvin’s official cases.
It’s more than just Sebastian’s livelihood and relationship on the line—it’s his very life.
Review: Antiques dealer Sebastian Snow met Detective Calvin Winter last December, when someone was trying to kill Sebastian. Sebastian was ending a previous relationship when butch ginger, Calvin, swooped in and swept Sebastian off his feet. They have settled into a happy pairing that seems to be leading them to some pretty big life changes. Then, inveterate puzzle solver Sebastian has an antique brick tossed through his shop’s window.
A merry chase begins with Valentine’s Day closing in, and someone killing off people involved in Calvin’s cold cases to draw Sebastian ever further into a web that could very well end him. Despite the warnings and the consternation of his detective boyfriend, Seb continues to delve deeper into this new intrigue. Their last joint mystery involved Edgar Allen Poe; this one centers around the curiosities collected by P.T. Barnum.
Derick McClain gives another stellar performance on The Mystery of the Curiosities. He gives Sebastian a sort of hunky nerd quality that is hard to explain unless you can hear it yourself. When acting the voice of Calvin, you can hear the character’s natural protective nature tempered with love, frustration, and PTSD that makes him vulnerable and heroic at the same time. We also get to visit with characters from the previous book: Sebastian’s father, Calvin’s partner, and Seb’s shop assailant, Max. Not to mention Sebastian’s previous, closeted, detective boyfriend, who just may be a suspect in this newest spree of killing surrounding Seb.
Every one of those characters has their own voice and their own motivation, and McClain keeps each one of them separate and distinct. That is no easy feat when a number of characters appear in scenes together. His distinct voice lends a sort of gravity to situations when they require it, and a sense of adventure and danger as needed, but the deepening relationship between Snow and Winter is where his voice really works well with the story. He brings out the tenderness between two men, and the masculine power of a pair of rutting bucks when the situation calls for it.
As a lover of mysteries, this book puts me in mind of Anne Perry’s Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mysteries. I hope this series has as long a run as that one, and that Derrick McClain continues to narrate each new book. Buy this book for the great mystery that is well researched, buy the book for the growing love between Sebastian and Calvin, and buy the book for the fantastic narration. There is so much to enjoy here. If you missed book one, go back and read it, but you don’t have to have read it to enjoy this story.
You can buy The Mystery of the Curiosities here: