Title and Link: Third You Die
Author: Scott Sherman
Cover Artist: N/A
Publisher URL: Kensington Books
Amazon Buy Link
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Murder Mystery
Length: Novel/350 PDF pages
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Review Summary: A great finish to a wonderful trilogy.
Finally settling down with his hunky cop boyfriend, former call boy Kevin Connor is giving up the “oldest profession” for a new career: producing his mom’s TV talk show, “Sophie’s Voice.” But when their latest guest–gay porn sensation Brent Havens–ends up floating in the East River after vowing to blow the lid off the adult film industry, Kevin returns to the world of high-stakes sex to find out: Who killed the twink who had everything? Was it the X-rated director who exploited his star–for his own desires? The bartender boyfriend who hustled more than just cocktails? Or the eye-candy co-star who left the sweet actor for a sugar daddy?
I adored First You Fall, book 1 in the Kevin Connor Mysteries reviewed here. I liked book 2, Second You Sin reviewed by Sirius, although not as much as FYF. However, when I heard about this latest book Third You Die I couldn’t wait to read it.
Kevin and his boyfriend Tony Rinaldi are now an established couple and he is no longer working as a high priced hooker. His new job is coordinator of casting and head interviewer for the show Sophie’s Voice which stars his mother who is brash, in your face, and opinionated – qualities that endear her to her mostly female daytime television audience.
Tony’s 5 year old son Rafi lives with him and Kevin whenever it’s Tony’s turn to have custody of the boy so Kevin is a second dad helping to raise Rafi, but Tony is still not out and gives Rafi the impression that Kevin is his room mate, which makes Kevin wonder why he lets Tony shove him back in the closet. Living with Tony doesn’t mean that Kevin is no longer attracted to other men – he just doesn’t act on the attraction and instead imagines what could happen, which at times is very funny as he plays out a few scenarios in his head.
Kevin met Brent Havens on the set of Sophie’s Voice during a taping of the show. He and Brett had an instant attraction even though they looked enough like each other to be brothers. When Brent left that day he promised to meet Kevin to talk about an exposé that he said would bring down quite a few high flyers in his industry, but he never followed through, and when Kevin tried to contact him he couldn’t find him anywhere. Kevin concluded something was wrong because they had a connection and in addition, Brent seemed sincere about the exposé, so he decided to do some investigating on his own without telling Tony.
Like the other books, Third You Die is a mystery with a romantic sub text and there is a large ensemble cast. Freddy who I absolutely loved in First You Fall is back and he doesn’t miss a beat even though he now has a steady boyfriend, sort of. He is, without a doubt, the funniest character as well as incredibly street smart and the sexual tension between him and Kevin is off the scale. I think Freddy has some of the best lines and here’s one of them:
“I mean, you know me. It’s not like I ever did the ‘dating thing.’ More of a ‘one night stand’ kind of guy. Or, ‘one nooner.’ Or, ‘that morning in a crowded subway car when the lights went out and — I’ll skip over the hot-air balloon, the opening-night line for the last Twilight movie, and the various Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormon missionaries who showed up at my door thinking they’d convert me.”
As with the other books in this series the prose is also very funny. Here’s one example from Kevin:
For one thing, the idea of spending that much time with my mother, in a high-pressure environment, was about as appealing as a colonoscopy, only with more crap involved.
There were many scenes in the book that were memorable and one of them was between Kevin and Mrs Cherry his former pimp. She used her own personal situation as an analogy to help him understand Tony’s reluctance to give up his dream of a “normal” life – the wife, kids and white picket fence. I thought that was beautifully and sensitively done.
One of the unforgettable scenes in this book for me was strangely, a porn scene. I know what you’re thinking but to understand what I’m talking about you have to read the chapter where two porn stars, Lucas (aka Shaggy) and Brent, gave the performance of their lives. I usually find the sex scenes in erotic books boring or barely tolerable and skip them most of the time, but this one was sensuous, debauched, passionate, and carnal. It was an out of body experience that gave me goose bumps.
To summarize, I loved Third you Die but First You Fall is my favourite book in this trilogy – maybe because the characters were freshly minted so they were all bright and shiny. There was a lot of character growth especially Kevin who was awesome as usual. Tony was also well drawn – he seemed heartless and unsympathetic about Brent because of his profession but he made up for it with his love for Kevin. Freddy was Freddy, playboy extraordinaire who never saw a man he didn’t want to take to bed, or whatever surface presented itself at the time. As for the mystery of who killed Brent and why, the likely candidates were considerable and I thought that was well scripted and I didn’t guess the perpetrator until three quarters of the way into the book. The plot was well executed and in addition to being funny it was tension filled, violent and gory in the end and the author showed considerable imagination in addition to demonstrating his skillful writing.
On the flip side, I wish that the blurb didn’t reveal so much of the plot. Also, I had hoped for more scenes of Tony and Kevin together as a couple other than when they had sex. However, Tony was a great father, Rafi was adorable and loved his “Kebbin”, and it was evident that Tony was in love with Kevin. As is the case with most ensemble casts, I wish some characters didn’t occupy as much space in the book – I could have done with a lot less of Sophie who was a sincere and caring person but I thought that her 5 minutes of fame had run out long before she was ready to leave the stage.
I loved this book but I’m hoping that Third You Die wraps up this trilogy and that the author is not tempted to write another story in the series – I can’t see where he could take his characters that would show growth beyond how much they evolved in TYD.
Third You Die is exciting, poignant, funny, violent, has great prose, dialogue that’s unforgettable, wonderful characterizations and some scenes you will want to re-read many times.
I had a lot of difficulty rating this book because although the writing was just as good as in First You Fall I thought that a couple of the sub plots could have been shortened, without affecting my enjoyment or the outcome of the story. I’m still not sure if the rating should be 5 or 4.75 stars but the difference is so small I decided to change my rating to 5 stars because it’s certainly a lot better than most of the books I have read.
This story, like the others in the series, is told from Kevin’s first person POV and I loved his voice.