The Mystery of the Curiosities, by C. S. Poe
Narrator: Derrick McClain
Series: Snow & Winter, Book 2
Publisher: DSP Publications
Audio Release Date: August 31, 2017
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’ll bring 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.
First and foremost, I am filled with frustration over this book. I have to be honest and confess I really, I mean REALLY, didn’t like the first book in this series. The only thing that kept me invested was the narration of Derrick McClain. But the story and characters themselves left me unimpressed. Not so much that I didn’t want to give this author another try, and listen to the wonderful narration that McClain is capable of… so I went for it.
Now I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated because while the story this time around was better, there were moments at the end when the reveal is made that had me questioning motive and just all around wondering WHY. And then I wondered why the case was so crazy and ridiculous, and how could the police department let Calvin even take this case given his relationship with Sebastian? But you know, suspension of believability, or something.
I’m frustrated over Sebastian… First off because people call him Seb. It’s annoying okay? Second, he’s a liar. He lies constantly through half-truths, through omission, through straight up bold faced lies. Thirdly, he’s stupid and naive. I mean, the man can’t seem to save himself by listening to Clavin. He just can’t help himself, I get it. But even when he knows for sure that he’s very much in danger, he still goes in. Why? Because he’s curious. Well, Sebastian, curiosity killed the cat.
And poor Calvin. The guy loves Sebastian, though I’m not really sure why, and he’s trying to do his job while Sebastian makes a mess of things. Sure, Sebastian does prove helpful to the investigations but only because the murderer is focusing on him and making it so that he will be able to do so. And all the while Calvin is just trying to make sure Sebastian doesn’t get hurt, or worse, struggling with PTSD and issues with his family.
Speaking of Calvin’s PTSD… I did appreciate the way it’s handled. Mostly. You can’t make someone want to seek help or talk about their troubles. But what you can do is be there for them, continuously remind them that you’re there, and follow through on it. Sebastian, for all his faults, makes it clear that he’s in this for the long haul and wants “this” to be a “them”. For that to happen, open communication needs to happen, even if Calvin isn’t talking to Sebastian, but getting some sort of help. Or at least making an effort.
While I enjoyed the narration for the most part, I think McClain’s voice as Sebastian made me annoyed with this character even more. And his voice as Calvin just made me sad for him and wish he could find a partner that didn’t cause him so much worry and stress. And it’s a weird place to be, liking the narration of a book while not really liking the book. But here I am. Take it or leave it.
C.S. Poe is an author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.
She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.
She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful, and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.
C.S. is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.
Her debut novel, The Mystery of Nevermore, was published by DSP Publications, 2016.
After eight years of professional and competitive public speaking and (live) oral interpretation of literature, Derrick has turned his powerful voice to the world of audiobooks.
While he enjoys reading, listening to, and narrating a wide variety of genres, he has a particular affinity and passion for romance novels of all types.
Derrick records in a professional quality studio at his home in Tallahassee, FL, where he enjoys the quiet North Florida lifestyle along with his fiance and insanely hyper dog. He has previously lived in rural Pennsylvania as well as Orange County California, and has extensively traveled the United States, becoming familiar with a wide range of American accents and sub-cultures.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.