Cemeteries by Moonlight - Hunter Frost
Book – Cemeteries by Moonlight
Author – Hunter Frost
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 108
Cover – Gorgeous!
POV – 1st person, one character
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – LGBT, Contemporary, Murder
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine
As my first book by this author – and my first of the States of Love Collection – I was instantly convinced it would be fantastic, because it contained all of my favourite things – MM romance, writer's block, New Orleans, a murder mystery and ghost tours. I was instantly taken back to history books I've read about Edinburgh ghost tours and was thrilled to explore the haunting and so mysterious New Orleans in a similar way.
I wasn't disappointed.
The first line, mentioning Hitchcock's Birds, had me hooked. I'm terrified of birds, but I love to watch them from afar, so the constant appearance of Marie the crow really freaked me out. It didn't help that while I was reading this spooky story all about ghosts and New Orleans Voodoo, I kept hearing unexplained noises in the house. So, thanks for that Frost. I nearly died of fright!
But, saying that, I can only admit that this would never have happened with a poorly written story. The way Frost writes is magnificent. Without going overboard into description, detail or labeling every item, colour and possible one-inch mark of location for the scenery, I still felt completely drawn in. The attention to detail was perfectly balanced with believable storyline, strong, relatable characters and a subtlety that allowed me to create my own image of what New Orleans looked like, without feeling like I'd implanted an image of some caricature in its place. The feeling the words instilled were authentic New Orleans and, I'll admit, I even read the French, Cajun and Creole in a French accent.
I can't say I was shocked – nor can I say I wasn't disappointed – when the strongest, most interesting female of the story was killed, but it was a great piece of writing that still made it feel like a shock, even though I'd anticipated it. (If you read the book, you'll know when I first suspected it.)
The inclusion of our MC, Drew, having Tourette Syndrome was a really nice portrayal of the struggle and coping mechanisms of someone with the syndrome. It was both sympathetic, authentic and didn't make a mockery of Tourette's, even by accident. The syndrome was explained, controlled and explored well throughout the story, though it didn't need to become some third main character to show how severely it affected Drew. His control of the condition was subtle, like so many more important details.
I loved the addition of Voodoo, even when it was only mentioned in passing. With the practice being so commonly associated with New Orleans, it would have felt wrong to avoid it entirely, but it was nice to see that it didn't take the front seat, with a paranormal twist, like so many of the New Orleans stories I've read in the past. Though the story was based in New Orleans, it managed to avoid the hazardous pitfalls of the stereotypes, while exploring the genuine underbelly of its history.
Also, don't be put off by the French. It's usually always explained and the one time it isn't, it was pretty easy for me to guess what it meant (with only rudimentary, and not well retained, high school French lessons). But, if you really want to know, highlight that one quote, Google it and squee like a little girl, like I did, when you realise just what it means.
Overall, I could rave about this book forever, but it's probably better that you just go and read it for yourself. It's got murder, intrigue, chemistry off the charts, humour and still manages to handle some pretty serious topics.
There was more heat, action and passion in this story of 108 pages than I've read in books three times its size. If you're looking for a satisfying page-turner, look no further. You found it.
“The sympathetic look on his handsome face made my gut clench. I wanted to smack him and kiss him all at once for caring about my failings as a writer.”
“It's a shame he's adorable. It would be easy to say no to anyone else. I had just met the guy and he had me under his thumb with those pretty eyes and sexy accent.
And he did bring my beignets.”
“I couldn't believe how smitten I was over a hot, straight, Victorian-dressed man with a penchant for the paranormal.”
“The way Finn's eyes brightened, like the sun breaking through cloudy skies, had to be the sexiest thing I'd ever seen.
“Drew, you should know the way to mon coeur is through my Swiffer.”