Read This Rough Magic by Josh Lanyon Online


Genre: LGBT 1930's SuspenseWealthy San Francisco playboy Brett Sheridan thinks he knows the score when he hires tough guy private eye Neil Patrick Rafferty to find a priceless stolen folio of Shakespeare's The Tempest. Brett's convinced his partner-in-crime sister is behind the theft -- a theft that's liable to bring more scandal to their eccentric family, and cost Brett hGenre: LGBT 1930's SuspenseWealthy San Francisco playboy Brett Sheridan thinks he knows the score when he hires tough guy private eye Neil Patrick Rafferty to find a priceless stolen folio of Shakespeare's The Tempest. Brett's convinced his partner-in-crime sister is behind the theft -- a theft that's liable to bring more scandal to their eccentric family, and cost Brett his marriage to society heiress Juliet Lennox. What Brett doesn't count on is the instant and powerful attraction that flares between him and Rafferty.Once before, Brett took a chance on loving a man, only to find himself betrayed and broken. This time around there's too much at risk. But as the Bard himself would say, Journey's end in lovers meeting.Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices....

Title : This Rough Magic
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781611184020
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 173 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

This Rough Magic Reviews

  • Baba
    2019-03-05 05:24

    3.5 stars. Review posted December 2, 2014This Rough Magic is set in San Francisco during the Great Depression. Well-off and soon-to-be married Brett Sheridan is pretty much beside himself with worry and fear when a very valuable Shakespeare folio vanishes. He presumes that (view spoiler)[his sister (hide spoiler)] might be involved in the art heist and hires private eye Neil Rafferty. Brett, overeager and impatient in aforementioned matter, starts meddling in Rafferty's business and after a close call, together they embark upon a wild goose chase which will find its climax in a surprising revelation. Surprising and rather shocking for Brett, that is."You could be busier, though. Pat said you're choosy about the cases you take.""I'm in a business where being choosy can keep you out of jail--not to mention alive."Told in Lanyon's distinct voice, character driven and witty, I was bound to enjoy this quick read. Though I had a little bit of trouble to keep track of all the numerous secondary characters who, quite obviously, fed the pool of suspects. However, once Brett and Rafferty were heading off together to chase down the culprit and retrieve the folio, I felt much more at ease with both, the plot and the romance. Because, frankly, the romance (I really mean the romance not the sex) started to get off the ground only when Rafferty and Bret began 'working together'. So I'd say the first third of the plot was a little bit less interesting to me, but the story really took a leap ahead once the two main protagonists were 'rubbing shoulders' regularly. By the way, it didn't hurt at all that these two were rubbing other body parts together as well. Oh, I really, really enjoyed that!Brett laughed. "Now you're showing off."He was, of course. "Are you impressed?"Brett looked up, and just for an instant, his face was soft and unguarded. "From the minute I saw you."Brawny Rafferty revealed an odd but sweet tenderness during the steamy scenes. It was obvious that he was much more at ease with his sexuality and was able to tease the gay out of handsome and classy Brett. Yet Brett did everything to suppress his feelings, to ignore the reality. After all, he was supposed to marry his wealthy fiancée. Also, due to a painful experience he preferred to stick to women once and for all. Besides, living in the 20s didn't make it any easier either; out and proud was still a long way off. Though in the end, the rough magic came out on top and was reason for my warm feeling in my belly. Overall a very worthwhile and engaging read, with occasionally beautiful prose seeping through a few passages. The ending deserves the common Lanyon stamp of 'on the abrupter side but still satisfying'."I'm not like you." Not that he didn't share Neil's appetites, but he didn't have Neil's courage, Neil's ability to punch the world in the mouth and go his own way.After having experienced so many disappointments lately, This Rough Magic came in quite handy and put an end to my (book) misery. Let's hope I won't land in yet another book funk anytime soon. If you're a fan of Josh Lanyon and enjoy historical reads then give it a shot.Recommended read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Emma Sea
    2019-02-23 02:14

    Oh, how I loved these men. Sheesh, the hurt and denial Brett is living with, and how Neil cares for him. Jesus, the tender chemistry between these two.Goddamit, I know logically there is not a 5 star book between these covers, and I know Lanyon is treating my emotions like his own private painters' canvas, but I LOVE IT! The furtive glances, the kind touches, the blow jobs for nothing more than the enjoyment of another man's cock in their mouths . . . I don't care one fig for the mystery or any element of the plot, I just want more Brett and Neil. More! Need it!

  • MwanamaliMari
    2019-03-20 01:26

    I read this book where I was making the transition from my old job to my new one. Well the physical move was simple. I was the equivalent of a white collar casual labourer at my old job and as such had no personal entanglements to my desk. There were no knickknacks and personalized calendars. I didn’t even so much as have a pen holder or a personalized coaster.But the mental transition took a toll is still taking a toll. I left my paying job for an even less paying job. I am currently working as a news desk editor and while I am a glorified lackey expected to churn out short newbytes as ordered, I am in my chosen field. So I needed a proper distraction to capture my mind and wrap it up so fiercely that I couldn’t escape the book. A tome or novella so engaging it could displace reality. And who better to deliver that than master mystery weaver,Josh Lanyon.When someone wakes you from a great bookThis book was too fucking short. That’s the best complaint a maestro can receive. If Josh Lanyon could write a mystery the size of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, I would still complain it was too short. She crafts stories with such effortless mastering that it sweeps you away unwittingly.I could only hope to be that appealing. I mean as much as I hope to win the SportPesa mega jackpot.This Rough Magic wasn’t rough at all. It was smooth like the devil’s pick up lines.The story is about Brett Sheridan who takes it upon himself to hire a private dick to investigate the theft of a priceless Shakespeare manuscript taken from his future father-in-law’s collection. He went to a PI, Rafferty, because he was worried his younger sister had taken it and so he wanted to cover it up should his suspicions be proven correct.Of course, the moment Brett and Rafferty meet.I could feel them all the way from the 1930s. And the schmex scenes.I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who had stolen the manuscript. I am a Christie prophyte and she makes it hard to figure shit out but this one really had me stumped. I was very glad for that. Because for a very long moment, I could forget about all that was stressing me. And for an even longer moment, I could empathise with somebody else’s angst and know that at the end of their story they'll be happy.

  • Emanuela ~plastic duck~
    2019-02-27 23:22

    This book conveys perfectly the fascinating atmosphere of the 1930s and it really draws the reader into the period when the story takes place. This isn't done with lengthy descriptions, but with the depiction of a mood, with the observations of the characters, with hints that stir the imagination of the readers.There are moments in the book that are not only cinematographic, they are almost pictorial. When Neil visits Brett's family, he observes all the family members, their occupation, their demenaour, as if they were a tableau vivant, a Hogarth's painting. In that moment I had the feeling I was there with Neil, that I had the privilege to enter the mind of the character and not only to read his impressions.Neil Rafferty is the private investigator that Brett Sheridan, a playboy from a once wealthy family of San Francisco, hires to cover up a possible scandal. During his engagement party to an heiress, a precious Shakesperian folio - treasured property of his soon-to-be father-in-law, was stolen and Brett's sister may be involved, since she attended the party with a disreputable man, who becomes Brett's prime suspect.Brett's family is almost destitute, living beyond its means, while Brett sells bits and pieces of their household to keep them afloat. The marriage to Juliet, the heiress, seems the only solutions to his problems, but marrying Juliet means to Brett that he has to sacrifice and quench his sexual inclination toward men. Brett is sensitive but determined, he's strong and afraid at the same time, he takes on his shoulders the responsibility of his family, but at the same time he is ready to deceive everyone to achieve his goals, his determination keeps him going but he's on the verge of a breakdown.Neil is solid, a man who has decided how he wants to live, who has built his career with no compromise and who is at ease with his sexuality. His outer appearance - a scarred cheek, a tough attitude, a man with apparently little education - is belied by his behaviour toward Brett: Neil can give tenderness with a simplicity that comes from his heart and soul. Brett's discomfort seems to call to him and Neil offers his experience and his strength to the younger man, finding the right gestures and the right words to help Brett. I think it's a deep compassion for Brett's situation and a few times Neil can't help worrying and wondering how Brett will manage to pull it off.Neil and Brett as a couple are amazing. They display a subtle nuance of emotions with few right words and their falling for each other in the span of a few but intense days is believable. The sex is not explicit but there is ardent passion, nights that the two protagonists steal from the life they are doomed to live for propriety's sake. Their love-making is both desperate and soothing.This book impressed me more for the setting and the characters than for the mystery part, which is light and perfectly interwoven with the plot, as it brings the characters together and around. There are a few loose threads, since every member in Brett's family seems to be involved with shady people and not everything is explained at the end. I hope we'll be reading more of Neil and Brett in the future.I realize I haven't spoken about the writing because it's so excellent that it disappears and you only think about it once you've found yourself at the end of the book and you become aware of the fact that you've devoured the book while floating in its bliss.

  • Nick Pageant
    2019-02-21 02:24

    Pour yourself a whisky and dig in! Josh Lanyon knows what she's doing. The prose is tight, the sexual tension percolates, a great read. If Raymond Chandler and Dashiel Hammett had entered a civil union and had Patricia Highsmith deliver them a daughter through surrogacy, that bouncing baby girl would have grown up to be Josh Lanyon.

  • Lauraadriana
    2019-02-25 01:35

    It was always a dame, wasn't it? In the dime novels, It was always a dame.From the first two lines...I was gone. It's the 1930s and Neil Rafferty, private dick, gets a visit from Brett Sheridan to ask him for help finding an antique manuscript of Shakespeare's 'Tempest' that was stolen from his future father-in-law's house the night before, during his engagement party to Juliet Lennox. Brett comes from old money ...big last name and lots of weight around town...not so much money anymore. They cannot afford a scandal.Neil takes one look at Brett and he likes what he sees a little too much...He takes the case and begins to look into things. Brett's family are a funny bunch (like certifiably crazy funny) and any of them could have taken the manuscript, from the loony father obsessed with Ancient Egypt, to the kleptomaniac piano prodigy sister, to the rake his older sister Kitty has taken up with...Brett is up to his neck in the messes of his family and the only way out is this marriage to Ms.Lennox...But things take a life of their own and things are just not what they the last few pages. In the midst of all this is the struggle that Brett and Neil face when they are helpless to what they do to each other. Neil is a study in brazen courage, he knows what he wants, and he wants Brett. Brett is scared and way too scarred to contemplate having what he wants with Neil.This is bona fide, damn fine Noir, everything is just right. The language, the characters, the plot, the imagery, the's all perfect. Josh Lanyon is a gifted writer, his style and prose...are flawless to me...The words glide. But for this kind of novel.. he is masterful, he really is. He looks for inspiration from some magnificent places(Hammett,Chandler) and it shows.Every time I finish a Josh Lanyon novel I never fail to think, what a loss it is that more people don't or won't read this man's really is a crying shame.This novel thankfully the first in a series, so we will get more of Neil and Brett, hopefully soon...I might set a countdown clock after all. :O)

  • Chris, the Dalek King
    2019-02-25 03:23

    “I’m in the lost-and-found business, mostly. And mostly what people lose are other people.”“And do you always find them?”“No. And sometimes when I find them, the people who hire me wish I hadn’t.”That was a depressing notion.Mr. Lennox has lost his folio, Brett Sheridan will be losing his freedom, and Neil Rafferty must be losing his mind—-because there is no sanity in falling for the high-flying Brett Sheridan, especially when Brett’s bachelor days are quickly coming to an end. But the crazy attraction doesn’t stop Rafferty from taking Brett’s case, even when their one suspect turns into everybody-and-their-grandma.Throw in a Sheridan family intent on either living up the good ol’ days (on dwindling coffers) or consorting with minor criminals, and what had looked so cut-and-dry rapidly becomes a mess. With their three days rapidly coming to a close, can Brett and Rafferty deliver a miracle–-and the folio-–or will everyone’s plans come to a crashing end? And will Brett be all that disappointed if they do?There are some stories in life I am always going to want to read, and Josh Lanyon’s mysteries are going to right there at the top. They are almost always well written, with great twists, and leave me guessing along the way. There is nothing more disappointing than figuring out who-done-it in the first few chapters of a book. Well, ok, I am sure that there are…Anyways, I liked the mystery in this book. There were no end to the suspects, or their motives, and every time I was absolutely sure that I had it figured out, I turned the page and something new made me question it all over again. I do think the mystery did get a little left behind for some of the other subplots, though. I liked all the various plots, and they made for an interesting story, but I think when we finally got to the end, the answer was a little out of left field.Not that I didn’t love the romance in this story. Brett and Rafferty were great characters, and there was enough angst for me to be unsure about how they would work, but it never got annoying. I think we got a little more time with them than we usually do in Lanyon’s mysteries, but it was all the better for it, because we really got to know them. Maybe it was just residual Amy Lane feels, from earlier in the day, but these two really got to me. Their choices, their love, their need to walk away from everything—-it all hit me right in the feels.One of the thing I like about stories set in times where it was literally dangerous and/or criminal to come out as gay, is that you have to deal with the fine balancing act between honesty and safety. Brett could secure not only safety for himself, but for his family (financially) if he goes through with the marriage, but he knows he will be living a lie. Yet even if he was to choose Rafferty, there is always the danger that if the truth was known, it will hurt not only him, but the man he loves as well. Everything in life becomes a balancing act between various shades of gray lies. And he has to decide just who is important enough for the truth, even when the rest of the world can only see the lie. This book does a good job of showing the benefits and downfalls of both sides. You may want nothing more than for Brett to walk out of his house, and out of his responsibilities to his family, and into Rafferty’s arms, but you also see why it is not that simple.I’ve been a Lanyon fan from the first book I ever read of his, but it is nice to see love reaffirmed every time I pick up one of his books. So many great mysteries, so many lovely romances, and yet each one feels unique and new. I am really glad I got a chance to read this one, and I am most definitely going to check out the sequel, because Brett and Rafferty are definitely some of my favorite Lanyon guys. I am always up for recommending Lanyon, and this book is no different.This book was provided free in exchange for a fair and honest review for Love Bytes. Go there to check out other reviews, author interviews, and all those awesome giveaways. Click below.

  • Heather C
    2019-03-08 23:41

    AnotherAMAZING book by Josh Lanyon! Only Josh can write a story about a stolen folio and actually make it interesting. It has everything. Its dark, its mysterious, its comedic, and its romantic! I can't wait for the sequel.

  • Ami
    2019-02-24 05:23

    It was always a dame, wasn’t it? In the dime novels, it was always a dame.First line of the first chapter ... and I'm sold. This story (though the title has NOTHING to do with magic what-so-ever) has lovely sense of place, San Francisco in the 1930s when Neil Patrick Rafferty, a private detective, takes a case from Brett Sheridan, to find a missing folio (quarto?) of a Shakespeare's play, The Tempest, that belongs to Brett's fiancée's father. Brett suspects that his sister's boyfriend takes the book and he needs Rafferty's expertise to find it. Along the way, the two men feel attraction as they work in close proximity.The story is written in alternative switch, from both Rafferty's and Brett's point of view, which makes it a "complete" story. I love both characters. Rafferty is more seasoned, he definitely knows who he is and what he wants. Brett is more troubled. He has problem in the past with a male lover. He also tries to deal with his family's financial doom. So he approaches the attraction to Rafferty in full caution. I like how the words "changed", when Brett first acknowledge the P.I., he thinks of him as Rafferty. But when furthermore, he thinks of him as Neil. (BY the way, I DO NOT approve the blurb of this story that says that Brett is a playboy. He is ANYTHING BUT!! He has baggages and he might have more lovers than Rafferty, but he is nowhere near decription of playboy!) --> sorry, need to vent that out.If you read Josh's other story, Snowball in Hell, it has that similar feel to it. I think the aura of that time as well as the characters are well-crafted. So, it's a satisfying read ... PLUS a roadtrip that takes both our MCs from San Francisco to Reno to Lake Tahoe (before going back to SF) is a bonus point for me. I crave story with roadtrip element in it, and this one surely has a nice roadtrip scene

  • Nancy L
    2019-03-14 03:37

    OMG it's like old hollywood come back to life in black and white. The gumshoe with a side kick! And just like an old black and white movie, you get sucked back in time, leaving reality behind. the MCs seemed to read each other like a book. the supporting characters (Brett's family) were oddities but so was juliette's family. Seems like they should have been tailor-made for each other. High stakes, drama, stolen manuscripts and highway hijinks combined for an eyebrow raising ending.Thanks Josh for a wonderful tale of fedora-wearing flatfoots

  • Natasha
    2019-03-06 03:31


  • Joy
    2019-03-08 04:22

    Josh Lanyon has given us yet another excellent mystery, this time set in the 1930's. His characters and dialogue are flawless--

  • Mackenzie
    2019-03-20 04:30

    I don't know what it is about Josh Lanyon's books that always make my chest hurt - sometimes in a good way, sometimes not in a good way - after I finish reading this book. With This Rough Magic, my chest hurt again and it's not in a good way. I think it's partly the setting (1930s is so not the period for gay people to thrive) and it's partly the story (although it does have what I prefer to term "a hopeful ending"). But mostly, I think it's the way the two characters, Neil Rafferty and Brett Sheridan, interact with each other. I sense more desperation than these two characters than any other of Lanyon's characters that I've read in his other stories.Rafferty is too mysterious for me to be able to like him. I sympathize more with Sherry, but he has too much baggage and exhausts me. Not to mention, he's so stubborn that I can't help but feel like slapping ( somewhat affectionately) him in the face a little. But put them together and they create this cloud of "wow, you're so heartbreakingly sweet together and I can't take this anymore". So, I really don't know what to make of them.I can't really decide whether I like the story or not but as usual, Lanyon's writing is flawless. No matter what issue you have with his characters or his stories, you cannot deny that Lanyon is one of those writers whose writing quality shines through in every story he writes. Just for that, he deserves the highest praise (because, really, you don't find many authors who write flawlessly and consistently very often these days).This book might not have engaged me as much his other books did, but it certainly left me reeling emotionally and wishing for a better future for the characters. Unfortunately, I don't think that better future exists for them. Pessimistic? Maybe, but this is what this books make me feel. I might be better off reading Lanyon's baby llama-inclusive story again.

  • Deanna Against Censorship
    2019-02-25 02:16

    The time setting, the 30's, was another character in the story. It was so well crafted that the reader was drawn in seamlessly. There was no need to hit the reader over the head explaining the time period. It was done through the actions of the characters and their reactions to each other. I was reminded of wonderful classic mysteries of the 30's and 40's. Neil Rafferty was written as a complete three dimensional character. He was tough and quietly analytical, yet so compassionate with Brett. Brett was so tormented. He felt a great responsibility for his irresponsibility family. He was torn between putting himself up as a sacrifice for the financial rescue of that family or to live his life as he was deep inside. Feeling his emotional inner battle was heart wrenching and tore my soul. Their journey was quick in time but not in emotion. It was real. They were so wonderful together. I am an admitted fan of Josh Lanyon. He is an excellent writer. He should be considered a great writer not just a great M/M writer. His stories are always character driven with really great characters that stay with the reader. The emotion expressed in his stories is always deep and real. This was another wonderful example.

  • ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
    2019-03-10 02:42

    2.5 starsThis was a disappointing read. I was hoping for a gritty Noir feel, but even the setting here (1930s San Francisco, post-prohibition) was muddled and vague. The mystery (who stole Shakespeare's Folio during a party at the house of one of the city's nouveau riche) was silly, the ending (and resolution) coming out of nowhere; the red herrings would have made my head spin, expect I didn't care. All this would have been almost forgivable had the romance angle been better played, but there was almost no romance to speak of. Brett and Neil don't even really talk until a third into the book; there were no passionate scenes and no tangible relationship development. Thumbs down overall.

  • JR
    2019-02-19 23:19

    Okay, okay this one was up my ally. Tough private eye meets broken playboy.Brett Sheridan hires tough private eye Neil Patrick Rafferty to recover a priceless folio of Shakespeare's The Tempest. Brett is sure his sister has taken it. Brett's duty to him family dictates that he try to save the crumbling old money empire that is his family. What he doesn't realize that Rafferty will awaken a long buried secret. Rafferty evokes fierce passionate feelings in Brett. Not a good thing when Brett is schedule to be married in a few weeks.There are great twists to the plot and a strong relationship between Brett and Rafferty. To sum up my review >> Margo Channing: " Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!" from All About Eve

  • Zainab
    2019-03-15 04:19

    Pretty awesome!I'm not really into Historical Romance, but this one was great!The writing is near to excellent, and the mystery part was just right.

  • ⚣❣☙ Michaelle ❧❣⚣
    2019-03-03 06:31

    4 StarsStory had a very noir feel to it; wish the narration had a bit more flair, though.

  • Curtis
    2019-03-01 02:42

    When Brett Sheridan hires Neil Rafferty to solve the theft of his soon-to-be father-in-law's priceless Shakespeare folio, he only expects that Rafferty will handle the task quickly and with discretion. The latter is important since Brett worries that his sister might somehow be involved and the last thing his family needs is more scandal. But there's no way he can be prepared for everything that will happen in his life in the coming days - almost all thanks to Neil.I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit. It's a very engaging read - I finished it in one sitting - and it's very easy to connect to the characters and the world they live in. The main characters are dynamic and the supporting characters provide some intrigue as well. This was the first Josh Lanyon story I've read, despite having several on my to-be-read list, but I definitely need to rectify that situation soon after reading this.

  • Desinka
    2019-02-25 04:20

    I absolutely loved this! I was hooked from the very start. Rafferty and Brett were quite likable and the romance was slow and sweet. I quite enjoyed the fact that the first half of the book read entirely like a detective story. I was very curious to find out who done it while also savouring the promise of the romance in store.Audio Note: Jordan Murphy's narration was quite competent and enjoyable.

  • Desinka
    2019-03-21 04:23

    I absolutely loved this! I was hooked from the very start. Rafferty and Brett were quite likable and the romance was slow and sweet. I quite enjoyed the fact that the first half of the book read entirely like a detective story. I was very curious to find out who done it while also savouring the promise of the romance in store. Audio Note: Jordan Murphy's narration was quite competent and enjoyable.

  • Kati
    2019-03-18 06:39

    Ah, Josh Lanyon. His writing is a real magic. I don't know how he does it but all his characters are so lovable and Neil and Brett were no exception. I loved the atmosphere of the 1930s, I loved their little road trip to Reno, I loved Neil's quips. For me, Josh Lanyon's writing presents real quality and always makes me happy!

  • Beebs
    2019-02-24 23:19


  • Leslie Nicoll
    2019-02-28 05:37

    4.75 starsSometimes you just want to put on your comfiest tee-shirt and well-worn flannel pants, curl up on the couch with a really good book and immerse yourself in the story. A story that is as cozy as the shirt and pants. Josh Lanyon does that for me and This Rough Magic, his latest, was a really comfy read. I loved it!Josh covers some familiar territory in this story: a California setting (San Francisco, beautifully described); a clever mystery; a rare and valuable literary manuscript (The Tempest by Shakespeare); signature flourishes including martinis and a funny animal (this time, a monkey) but most importantly, the main characters. Two gay men, one who knows he is and is okay with it (but realizes the need to be discreet and private) and the other who knows he is but wishes he wasn’t. Can we say Adrien and Jake, anyone? Nathan and Mathew? In this case it’s Neil Patrick Rafferty, former cop turned PI and Brett Sheridan, son of the very high-society Sheridans and the man on whom all his family’s hopes are pinned.The story takes place in the 1930s at a time when “society” was perhaps a bit more important than it is today. At least it is very important to the Sheridans, a family that is adverse to scandal but hiding lots of scandalous secrets, including the fact that they’re broke. It’s fallen to Brett to save the family fortunes and honor. He’s accomplished the former in dribs and drabs by surreptitiously selling off precious family artifacts and his own polo ponies but he’s come to realize the only way he’ll truly secure the family fortune—and honor—is to marry a wealthy young woman. In this case that woman is Juliet Lennox, nouveau riche heiress to a meatpacking fortune. It is a prospect that does not make Brett happy.The story opens with Brett hiring Rafferty to locate and return a very valuable folio—The Tempest, by Shakespeare—that is owned by his father-in-law and stolen right under everybody’s noses during Brett and Juliet’s engagement party. Brett has suspicions that his sister might be involved, supposedly because she has recently taken up with a small-time crook, Harry Sader. Rafferty takes this all in, asks for and receives a hefty fee, and the mystery is afoot.As I said above, there was a great deal of Lanyon familiarity in this story, with echoes of the the Adrien English mysteries as well as Snowball in Hell. Some might criticize the author for becoming formulaic; I, instead, see it as a strength. To me, there’s nothing wrong with being a reliable, dependable author, especially in the mystery genre. From the very first page when I cracked this open, I felt like I was settling down for a conversation with an old friend. As the story unfolded, Lanyon didn’t disappoint. I was completely engrossed, enjoying the evocative imagery and lovely writing all the way to the very last sentence.As for the mystery? It was clever and fun and I didn’t figure it out until the very end—but then, I never do. The clues were there, though, for readers who are perhaps better detectives than me.I really liked the protagonists, Brett and Rafferty (or Neil, as Brett eventually comes to think of him—another Lanyon trademark signaling a shift in their relationship). Brett is a young man who wants to do the right thing and keep everybody happy, often at the expense of his own feelings and needs. Rafferty is the “hardboiled detective” who turns out to be not all that hardboiled. In Brett’s words,“There it was again, that unexpected and somehow terrifying gentleness. So much better, so much easier, if Neil had simply been the hardboiled tough he’d seemed at first glance, because this…”Later, he thinks,“He lifted his lashes and was surprised by an expression on Neil’s face that he knew Neil would not want him to see. He closed his eyes again, giving Neil time to rearrange his features into the usual rock formation.”As with so many Lanyon couples, I wanted them to find a way to be together. That desire started from their very first meeting and wended its way through the book. Even more telling, I wished I could meet them—another after-effect I often experience with Josh’s characters! Maybe someday we’ll all get to party together…LOL.My only minor quibble (aside from the cover, which does nothing for me, but I know that’s not Josh’s issue) is that this is the first of a proposed series (A Shot in the Dark, #1). As such, it does feel like there are a number of loose ends, threads that I am sure will be pulled through in future installments. Still, what’s up with Justine and her little black book? Kitty and Harry? Crazy Aunt Lenora? I realize that some of these plot elements were thrown in as red herrings to divert readers from figuring out who the perpetrator of the theft was; still, at the end, there were a couple of niggle questions in my mind about details that didn’t get quite sewn up.But as I said, that’s a minor point. All in all, this was a wonderful book for a rainy Sunday afternoon, transporting me far away to another time and place. I love writers who can do that. For me, Josh has succeeded, once againHighly recommended.posted on Reviews by Jessewave on 5/19/11

  • John
    2019-02-26 01:27

    A fine mystery where potential solution appears, dancing alluringly just out of reach, only to be replaced by another. The strength of the book, lies in the tight style in which it's written. Nothing seems gratuitous; even red herrings serve to enhance our understanding of a character or help evoke the feel of the period. A well told story which knows where it's going, even if the reader hasn't quite worked it all out. Free from gimmickry and full of wry humor. There's also a terrific cast of characters who, for all their faults and flaws are each in their own way endearing. If it were a film most of the supporting cast would be famous character actors from the 30s or 40s. Mad as hatters.The central characters, Neal and Brett are as endearing as they are credible. Endearing because for their faults, they both seem genuinely good men. Credible because we get a glimpse of their complexity. As we read they surprise us; as they get acquainted they surprise each other.One of the hardest balances to strike in period fiction is to allow characters to come to life to the modern reader while remaining true to their own context. This Rough Magic strikes it well. Compared to Better Angel (written in 1933), you'll find Neal and Brett a little less stilted and steeped in Oscar Wilde than Kurt and David, but not out of place. It considerably strengthens the period feel.The mystery will drive a reader through the first time; but the richness of the characters makes the book worth re-reading.

  • thelastaerie
    2019-02-21 23:28

    Josh Layon books are auto-buys and quality guarantee, This Rough Magic, as stated in the book, a homage to The Thin Man, is an excellent detective mystery romance set in late 30s. Lanyon has a good grasp in early 20th century America, as proven in his other historical stories, such as Snowball in Hell. This Rough Magic is less melancholy, more quirky and deep in 30s detective novel style. I certainly learned quite a lots of new "old" words ;)The mystery is not complicated, what's compelling are the characters - some eccentric, some funny, some borderline insane. Neil Patrick Rafferty, the street smart alpha male P.I. is a great contrast to the beautiful and moody Brett Sheridan, I can feel the chemistry crackling through the pages, their love proceeds with as much reluctance as the attraction, you know the romance is going to be a heart tugging one. The Sheridan and the Lennox family members are all strange fellows to say the least, fascinating to observe and easy for readers' imagination to run wild. One thing important to keep in mind is that this is the first of a series, so there are unsolved ends that readers would expect to resurface in future installments, Neil and Brett's relationship ends at a barely HFN (more of a Let's Give It a Go), it will be interesting to see how it will develop in the future.

  • Elizabetta
    2019-03-14 05:22

    And it even fells like an old Dashiell Hammett novel. Of course, the many references really help. Considering that the world-painting is fairly light, This Rough Magic does have a lot going for it: a society mystery, a hard-boiled but heart-of-gold private dick (think Sam Spade), and the society guy who needs his help. In oh-so-many ways. We’re set up with that age-old courtship between the newly monied families with cash to burn and old, revered families in-need-of cash infusion. Of marriage for money and position versus marriage for passion. The story unfolds in a San Francisco of days gone by where the reader can imagine that behind-the-door sexual liaisons might actually have a chance. Brett Sheridan is the pedigreed pretty-boy and Neil Rafferty his capable hired dick. Ahem. A valuable family heirloom goes missing and old, guarded family secrets are revealed. There’s some great action, including sleuthing in colorful Chinatown, fisticuffs with hired thugs, and the requisite movie car chase scene (road trip!). And the slow ramp-up between Brett and Neil… well, it out-steams the unfolding mystery, yet manages to be mostly spice without a lot of sauce. But that’s ok, the sweet tenderness between them is pretty swell, too. It’s the romance that once again sells the story for me. Can’t wait for the next installment… when, oh, when?

  • Lil' Grogan
    2019-03-19 01:25

    Reading Josh Lanyon's Adrien English series (which I loved) and his own interest in the hardboiled and noir genres compelled me to (re)visit the classics recently. Ironically, the preferences I formed became a hindrance to participating in this book. Set in 1935, with some of the trappings of the hardboiled genre, it could have been a thrill to see a new interpretation. IMHO, the first chapter was in the hardboiled style, then it became a cozy. Perhaps the problem of setting out to write something so time-specific and evocative of a genre is that it will be seen as derivative. Reading this made me wonder if it was possible not to be derivative enough. I missed the violence, femme fatale (or homme fatal), claustrophobia, cynicism, posturing, most disappointingly, I missed rhythm in the dialogue. More probably, I'm coming at this at the wrong angle: it's romantic suspense. A couple falling in love in the midst of a couple of interesting moments and as inoffensive a set of circumstances there can be. For the rest, read his Adrien English series or Snowball in Hell.

  • Snowtulip
    2019-03-12 03:42

    The tell tale sign of a good book is when I feel that I am actually one of the characters in the book paying witness to everything. That is what I was in This Rough Magic. The imagery is so vivid and inviting that you are completely immersed within the world. The locations within the book are all places I have been and completely felt them at a visceral level while reading. But what good would this wonderful ambience be without exceptional characters. Neil and Brett are great characters with flaws and depth. Added to that is a dynamic and relationship that is believable and vulnerable; making everything work so wonderfully. Often my favorite part of a book is the flavor that secondary characters add to the plot. We get intriguing, over the top secondary characters that make you love their wackiness and you know that they will have plenty to say in upcoming books. Wonderful read!

  • Lady*M
    2019-03-17 23:16

    This wasn't an easy book for me to rate, especially because the beginning promised one thing and the story was something else entirely. Also, Rafferty didn't strike me as someone who would go on the wild goose chase even for Brett. I would like more meat on the secondary characters. But. I loved Josh's protagonists as always and that, sort of, outweighed some of my quibbles. Still, I'm stuck between three and four stars. I'm going with GR four-star rating until I get the chance to reread it, but I'm holding my right to change that. Still, the real rating is 3.5 stars.