Reviewed by Heather C
Title: The Body on the Beach
Author: L.J. LaBarthe
Hero: Billy Liang
Genre: M/M Historical Mystery
Length: 25,500 words
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 13, 2013
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, All Romance eBooks and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: In 1920, a body is found on Brighton Beach, Adelaide. Billy Liang has been living a respectable life as the representative of Adelaide’s Chinese community—with his lover, lawyer Tom Williams, discreetly at his side. When evidence seems to implicate the people Billy represents, he steps up to help solve the murder. He and Tom deal with illegal opium dens, fantan games and gambling, racism, and being shot at. Though Billy’s family accepts the love he and Tom share, Australia’s laws against sodomy and homosexuality pose a constant danger. Now, the body on the beach brings a whole new threat to Billy and Tom’s life in Adelaide.
For my May Challenge book, Nikyta picked for me The Body on the Beach because she knows how much I love M/M historicals. Unfortunately, this one didn’t work for me and I finally decided to DNF it at 40%.
The story is about Billy Liang, a Chinese business owner living in Adelaide, Australia in 1920, who is pulled into a murder investigation by the police as a liaison to the local Chinese community.
Why didn’t this work for me?
- There was too much info dump at the very beginning of the story. Plus, there seemed to be a lot of pointless descriptions about the scenery and the clothes people were wearing.
- There was no urgency to the mystery and since none of the characters seemed to even know the victim, I couldn’t bring myself to care about his vengeance.
- The dialogue between the characters felt forced and stilted and there were too many side conversations that related nothing to the mystery…as far as I could tell.
- The romance was lacking; Billy and Tom were already established lovers living with Billy’s wife…who was perfectly at peace with her husband’s love for another man. I was open to their arrangement, I really was, but I felt no connection for or between any of the main characters. I suppose this was intended to be a mystery first, but I didn’t care about the mystery at all and the romance wasn’t doing anything for me either.
I’m sure this story has a better place on someone else’s bookshelf, unfortunately it didn’t fit my tastes.
Overall Impression: Did Not Finish
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*