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When Jesse Morales, a recent college grad who aspires to be a mystery writer, volunteers to work on the summit of Mt. Washington for a week, he expects to work hard. What he doesn’t expect is to find a corpse in the fog, lying among the rocks, his head crushed. The dead man turns out to be a young tourist named Stuart Warren, who strayed from his friends while visiting the mountain.
Kyle Dubois, a widowed state police detective, is called to the scene in the middle of the night, along with his partner, Wesley Roberts. Kyle and Jesse are instantly drawn to one another, except Jesse’s fascination with murder mysteries makes it difficult for Kyle to take the young man seriously. But Jesse finds a way to make himself invaluable to the detective by checking into the hotel where the victim’s friends and family are staying and infiltrating their circle. Soon, he is learning things that could very well solve the case—or get him killed.
There’s so much to like about Murder on the Mountain: from MCs Jesse and Kyle, to the setting on a remote and creepy mountain, to a murder mystery, to some first-time man love, to a closing with promise. This is the Jamie Fessenden I know and love!
Jesse is a kid—just 23 years old—and aspiring to write mystery novels. He’s cocky and confident in that youthful sort of way we all envy. When a mysterious death happens during his shift/rotation as a cook/dishwasher at Mount Washington, and Jesse happens to find the body, he’s bound and determined to help figure out what went down.
Kyle is a seasoned cop and he takes his job seriously, but he’s doing a lot of internal self-evaluation these days. His wife died five years ago, but he hasn’t really thought about moving on…yet. Fact is, Kyle is finding himself more frequently attracted to men. *enter Jesse, stage left.*
I thought the mystery and the romance in this novel went together very succinctly! Never mind if I may or may not have called who-dun-it in the first five and then 25-ish percent. I was totally motivated to move forward and see if my theories panned out. Plus I had to know the why of the crime.
I liked the way Jesse and Kyle formed a bond and partnership, and I saw tiny hearts, stars, cupids, rainbows, butterflies and more over their age difference. Really, be still my heart. ;-) Hmmm. While we’re at it, let me expand on the sexy time. It came late in the story, but it was hot. It was sweet. It was tentative and it was satisfying. It made sense, without being over the top.
Fessenden’s writing is smooth and engaging. I like that he writes what he knows: New Hampshire and Mount Washington shine. He certainly has a knack for world-drawing and for creating an interesting supporting cast. There were some fun and funny things that made me feel like Jesse and Kyle were real; I related to them. I mean: Kyle the cop reads smutty romance on his Kindle but hides it from his coworkers, etc. It’s like we were separated at birth, Kyle. ;-) Jesse is what I’ll call a fledgling detective. Obviously it’s not his profession, and he did frustrate me once or twice with his meddling, but in his sweet, beginner sort of way.
I liked the ending and I was happy with the way the story played out. If you’re a die-hard HEA fan, be warned. This book’s ending isn’t clear-cut. That said, I’m looking forward to more from Jesse and Kyle in the future (Fessenden himself says it will happen, so YAY!).