Review: Angel Martinez – The Pill Bugs of Time (Offbeat Crimes 2), Second Edition

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Author: Angel Martinez
Reviewer: Diane
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: MM Fantasy

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Summary: Relationship and communication issues plague Officer Vikash Soren, but those are nothing compared to facing stick-throwing tumbleweeds, pill bugs and…time travel?

Vikash Soren, the perfect police officer except for his odd paranormal ability, never seems to lose his temper. Always serene and competent, he’s taken on the role of mediator in a squad room full of misfits. But on the inside, he’s a mess. Unable to tell his police partner that he loves him, Vikash struggles silently, terrified of losing Kyle as a lover, partner and friend.

But life in the 77th Precinct doesn’t leave much room for internal reflection. A confrontation with a stick-throwing tumbleweed in Fairmount Park leads to bizarre consequences involving pill bugs, statues and…time travel? If Vikash manages to survive the week and stay in one point in time, he might be able to address normal things like relationship problems. He just needs Kyle to have a little more patience. Maybe a few centuries’ worth.

Publisher’s Note: This book has previously been released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

Review: Vikash (Kash) Soren is the always professional, unflappable, perfect police officer – aside from his odd paranormal ability fueled by his temper, which he works to maintain his demeanor to not lose his temper as a result. As always, appearances are not as they seem and this story, the second in The Offbeat Crimes series, second edition, explores just how conflicted Kash is with balancing his personal and professional life. However, between the latest case that starts with a stick throwing tumbleweed, pill bugs and apparently, time travel, Kash has to decide if it’s more important to keep up appearances or put his heart on the line.
The story is told from Kash’s point of view.

The original version of this story was released in 2015, but has been revised and expanded from that first release, so if you enjoyed this book the first time you will likely enjoy the expanded version. I got to review the original story, and as I said at that time, Pill Bugs is a great follow up to Lime Gelatin as it mixes drama, adventure and a bit of humor. While some will say these books are urban fantasy with humor, I would disagree because one of the things that makes me such a huge fan of Angel Martinez is that you get great characters and a well written story. The world created is so layered and real, when I went to Philadelphia, I felt as though I should meet some of these people, the story is that visceral, and for me, all her books are, whether they remain a dramatic adventure story, or go on a bit of a comedy tangent then back to drama or adventure.
As a reader, or for this reader, I find her books are like the graphic where an arm reaches out of the book and pulls you right into it! You might not be a character in the book, but you feel as though you have a front row seat to the story – which also makes them hard to put down!

For Pill Bugs of Time, since the characters and their quirks were already introduced in Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters, this story may possibly be even better than the first because it can focus on the story rather than the backstory. Aside from the time spent in Kash’s head as he struggles with his feelings for Kyle and what have been his self protecting behaviors that have lost him romantic partners in the past. Of course, he puts the case first and risks losing someone again. You kind of feel as frustrated as both Kyle and Kash because they have to put that aside for the case, which only leaves more time for thoughts and speculation!

Leather Jacket (LJ)returns and becomes an even more important supporting character for this story(although I’d be fascinated to know how he uses a cell phone), Edgar the raven is still swearing at everyone and trying to steal pens and highlighters, Larry the Ghost is back making coffee that no one drinks and we get a new character – the purple caterpillar that gets named Tim – paying homage to Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

And while that can all make you smile or giggle, they are dealing with a bug that, when venom is injected into a human, you get sent time travelling while your body stays in the current world, and you have no idea where you will be or how long. And these bugs are being left on statues, which, if you’ve ever been to Philadelphia, with all other nicknames it may have, city of statues could easily be one! So, this is a potentially wide reaching problem, but how do they stop it when two of their officers get infected? When they don’t know where the mother bug is or how many pill bugs have been left behind? So the story is quite the real mystery on that front, and then Kash trying to sort out his head and feelings for Kyle on top of all this, and managing to hurt Kyle’s feelings every time he turns around, well, there is your drama.

One of the things I love about this series, aside from the odd talents of the group, is that, although they don’t always get along, when a case calls for them to be a team, they are. They know the skills of their team and take care of each other. It’s been suggested there will be more books in the series, to share the story of the other team members, and I’m definitely looking forward to that as I really like this group of characters!

I would recommend this for fantasy fiction M/M fans who like the action, drama, romance, humor and some hot scenes – not something you can always say about a book!

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Author Bio:

The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

Author Links: 

Website: http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amartinez2

Twitter: @AngelMartinezrr

Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/angelwritesmm

Email: angelmartinezauthor@gmail.com

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