Bear with me. Let me tell you, why this book should have been a solid 4 or 5 star read for me.
1. I love mysteries. I love the mysteries with a romance sub-plot. I like romance with a suspense sub-plot. I like the investigation, I like whodunnit, I like thrillers, I like cops, I like amateurs, I like PIs. Just put me in the suspense/crime section and leave me there for the rest of my life. I'll die a happy little camper. And this book fell smack in the middle of it all. Amateur rent-boy with a broken heart tries to solve the murder of an old friend, who officially commited suicide. It was amusing and interesting to see his murder candidates fall one by one, but all come back together in the end.
2. Love me some amateur sleuthing. There is a special kind of writing required to pull the sleuthing off in the first place, and I'm a sucker for it. Make it at least a tiny little bit believable, and I'll gobble it up. Extra cookies if I can imagine parts of the story happening like it, but that's really just a bonus. If you're going for that kind of trope, you're not interested in the accurancy or realism of the facts. If you do, you'll be very disappointed every time. And let me tell you, this story will never get an award for it's probability. But like I said, you don't pick up the story of a rent-boy playing detective when you're hung up on realism. You just don't.
3. Throw in a little steam, a little romantic entanglement and feelings, and I won't put this down until I'm done. Again, this story didn't disappoint. The romance is not on the fore-front, but when it's on page, it's nicely done and pulled me in. Except for maybe the second "triangle" between the parents and the neighbor. But I'll come back to that. But the "main" romance between out amateur/rentboy and closeted detective was good.
And now let me tell you why in the end, I started to despise the book.
1. Some of it got to the point of being more cartoonish than actually readable. The mother. The MOTHER! Oh my lord, what was that even? The whole storyline with the parents made me shake my head and irritated the crap out of me.
2. The end. MILD SPOILER ALERT! I have no problem with far-fetched solutions to far-fetched crimes during amateur investigations. Again, it's not about realism so much. And while I could get behind it in a weird and twisted way, it was still all kinds of crazy. Maybe a little too off the rocker for me.
3. The fat shaming. I read an interesting article about the likability of characters in correlation to the likablility of books. The truth is, I don't have to like a character to enjoy a book. And the MC also doesn't have to be politically correct all the time in order for me to enjoy him and his actions in a book. But. It has to be done in a certain way. That was not the case here. The first time, a hateful comment on the weight of a side character came up, I didn't think much about it. It was mean, yes. But it was also about the alleged affair of the Mcs father, made by the "scorned" woman. So I thought "What the hell." and moved on.
But it happened again. And again. And again. In a miserable, hateful way, completely out of context and for no acceptable reason whatsoever. And to be honest, in the end it just felt very cheap. It wasn't funny, it wasn't put into perspective, it was just plain bad taste. And soooo cheap. I couldn't get over the cheapness of it all! If you want to slam overweight people because of their weight, educate yourself first. Think first! Write and judge later - or not at all - especially not if it's only done for cheap laughs or out of ignorance! Every main character was slim, gorgeous and attractive, which is something I'm used to in this genre, or in books in general really. Doesn't mean you have to hate everyone who isn't, does it? That is NOT the core of this genre, and I refuse to leave it uncommented, because yes, it was that bad; and it was wrong, plain and simple.
So all in all, this should have been a 4 star read easily, maybe even more. But it wasn't. I'll give it two, because the core of the story was good, and I enjoyed it. The rest of it? Not so much. In the end, everyone has to decide if he is bothered by this kind of thing. I was pissed off royally after finishing.