Sparring with Shadows by Erin O'Quinn

SparringShadowsTitle: Sparring With Shadows     

Series: The Gaslight Mysteries 02 

Author: Erin O’Quinn     

Genre: Historical (1923), Mystery     

Length: Novel (221pgs)     

Publisher: Amber Allure (4th August 2013)    

Heat Level: Low    

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts   

Reviewer: Pixie     

Blurb: Simon Hart, private investigator, has always thought of himself as a regular fellow. He’s standoffish and a loner with a sullen attitude—yet surely a normal bloke. And then he meets the randy Michael McCree.

In short order, Michael has become his flat-mate, his business partner, and his wannabe lover. Now Simon must look deeper, into his own hidden desires, if he wants to survive.

There’s something about Michael’s secret vocation that invites trouble. Simon finds himself sparring with shadows: in the hidden bedrooms of a roaring twenties version of a gay bar…as a chained wall decoration in the flat of a thief and sexual deviant…and as the quarry in a deadly confrontation in an exhibitionist’s bed and then in a sewer tunnel beneath the streets of a 1923 city somewhere in Ireland.

Above all, Simon is sparring with the shadow of his own secret urges. Michael will not allow him to turn away from a kind of private investigation of which he has not even dreamed. Until now.

Follow a fastidious, surly investigator and his horny yet secretive partner through the very cracks in a city of gaslights and vintage motorcars, into a hidden homosexual culture, as the men find themselves sparring with shadows…     

Purchase Link:     

Review: This story is part of a series and must be read in order. Michael and Simon discover that the Brown Man has given the local police the slip, trying to recapture the man they discover he might have been involved in the robbery of a rare carbuncle and they are tasked to the capture of the Brown Man and the recovery of the precious stone. Simon has to examine his own reactions to discover just what it is he really wants, Michael may have chased him down but it is Simon who holds all the cards. 

This is a pretty good story looking into the secret underbelly of a fictional Irish city and two men who investigate crime. Michael and Simon have much on their plate as the Brown Man escapes, Michael figures the man is much more than just an accomplice and decides to dig deeper but they have watchers of their own. Simon and Michael end up captured as they hunt for the carbuncle and it takes some nifty footwork of both of them and their little helper Mouse to escape. While all this is going on Simon is struggling with his sexuality as Michael works his charm. 

I enjoyed this story, watching Simon and Michael trying to keep one-step ahead of the Brown Man and to ensure the Brown Man is captured. Seeing them put together the pieces of what the man is doing, and having Simon act as a distraction. Michael’s and Simon’s relationship has its own game of sparring at shadows, as Michael has laid down his own feelings and Simon is still struggling with his own feelings and the sexual acts themselves. They make a great investigating team and the progress of the story is well paced, I liked that Simon angsted (is that a word?) over his feelings and tried to damp down the flush of lust so he could think clearly. Michael seemed to be horny most of the time even at inconvenient times and he could have toned it back a bit. They make an interesting pair and although the investigation was exciting and dangerous I ended up wanting the more mundane investigations, we saw in the previous book.

I recommend this if you love investigations turning dangerous, rescues and escapes, admitting to your feelings, historicals, and a great ending. 

Post Author: pixiemmgoodbookreviews

4 thoughts on “Sparring with Shadows by Erin O'Quinn


    (August 12, 2013 - 5:08 pm)

    Thanks for the great review, Pixie! I have to disagree with only one thing: to Simon, at any rate, the heat level is high! He gets his first experience with foot fetishism, anal intercourse and BDSM. Not experiences I’d describe as “low heat.” But many readers these days are used to blistering hot when the imagination is a much better decider of what is truly sexy. 😉

    I appreciate your insights. In the third book, Michael becomes much more tuned to Simon’s needs and really does tone down his horniness. And that’s when Simon actually begins to want him. . . that one’s called TO THE BONE and comes out Sept. 29. Hope you’ll be there for the debut! :~D


      (August 13, 2013 - 8:17 am)

      It was a pleasure Erin, and it is true that while it was explicit for Simon for us jaded hussy’s it was low LOL And you can be sure I will be there for number three 🙂


    (August 12, 2013 - 5:12 pm)

    PS From Erin O’Quinn: I’ve tried very hard to make each of the three mysteries a stand-alone read. You really do not have to have read the first one to enjoy the second. But that’s my own selfish opinion. Likewise, the third mystery uses the same characters, but I try to catch the reader up on the action without too much repetition.

    But far be it from me to discourage readers from buying all three. Please do!!!!!!


      (August 13, 2013 - 8:23 am)

      I thought about that before I recommend it as being read in order and although you do explain a lot, it wouldn’t have show the intriguing dancing relationship between Simon and Michael and the stage they were now at. 😉

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.