My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A.J. Thomas has managed to create an A1 mystery-thriller-suspense-filled MM romance between a cop and a cop. Hilarious at times and chilling the next, this is a Must Read for those who like MM and whodunnit plots.
In A Casual Weekend Thing, we meet two cops, Douglas Heavy Runner and Christopher Hayes. Doug left the life of an openly gay Miami police officer and returned to his home on the Salish-Kootenai Indian Reservation when his mother got sick. In the two years since she passed, he’s carved out an empty life as a small-town deputy, relying on out-of-town one-night stands to keep him sane. Then he meets Detective Christopher Hayes, and they share a wild night so incredible Doug breaks his own rule and allows a one-night stand to grow into a weekend of amazing sex.
When Christopher travels from San Diego to Montana to deal with his abusive brother’s suicide, he doesn’t expect to find the man he spent the weekend with to be handling his brother’s case. He certainly doesn’t mind spending more time with Doug—but then an arsonist destroys the house Christopher inherited from his brother, and Christopher and Doug discover they are the primary suspects.
As they investigate, they discover Christopher’s dead brother has set them on the trail of a psychotic pedophile who will stop at nothing to silence his last victim. However, the search for the victim goes horribly wrong, leaving Doug hospitalized and Christopher at the mercy of the killer….
First of all, A.J. Thomas is a naughty writer. She made a very obvious play on the last names of Doug and Christopher here. Christopher is an ultra distance runner or ultramarathon which technically means he is a heavy runner. Chris' last name is Hayes which literally means Surname. Combine Hayes and Heavy Runner, we get their Surname of Heavy Runner, should they end getting married.
I also loved it when the author had Doug spout off medical terms and gets blank, uncomprehending faces in return. He has to readjust his thinking a tad, then spouts off a longer medical term and meets the same faces. He has to waste time and suffer through a layman's way of explaining things on what he means before any comprehension sets in. He tries his best to cut through the chase to no avail.
Now, for the chilling parts.
It is not easy to create a story where the subject matter is not only distasteful and uncomfortable, but is also very current. Ms. Thomas was able to go down deep into the lack of conscience of psychopaths and pedophiles. What I admire about the way she wrote this is the "lay man's tone" to getting her point across.
It is a fact that pedophiles are predominantly heterosexuals, and she showed this in the character of the criminal mastermind. She also made sure to include the psychological history of the criminals, not to serve as an excuse for their deeds, but to get the point across to her readers. There is always a reason, a beginning to anything, and this includes pedophilia.
As for Chris, many would probably think that he is a rarity. Well, in some aspect he is. Most times, a victim of a sexual crime may never get over the trauma. In some aspect Chris has not gotten over it. However, it is through his heavy running that he separates his anguish from his real life. He was able to turn his fight or flight instinct of running into a sport that ultimately defined his psychological endurance.
Doug was caught in a place which he had difficulty getting out of. His education and intelligence separated him from his people and yet it was his ancestry that served to separate him from the rest of the community. It is a sad situation for Doug but he is a Heavy Runner, so he never gives up and is all the better for it.
A Casual Weekend Thing is a title that threw me off before I even read the blurb. I actually thought it was just another of those one-night-stand books that are easy to throw away. Instead, this is a murder mystery that reaches far into the human psyche.
Richly detailed and yet not overwhelming, A Casual Weekend Thing is one of those Must Read books that should be read not because of its genre, but for its content.
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