Book Review: Josh Lanyon’s The Hell You Say

Posted September 24, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: Josh Lanyon’s The Hell You Say

The Hell You Say


Josh Lanyon

amateur sleuth, erotica in Paperback edition that was published by MLR Press on November 1, 2007 and has 272 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Fatal Shadows, Death of a Pirate King, A Dangerous Thing, Dark Tide, Somebody Killed His Editor, Fair Game, Fair Play

Third in the Adrien English mystery series about an author/bookseller and the fixes in which he finds himself.

In 2006, The Hell You Say won the USABookNews award for GLBT Fiction and was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award Nominee for Gay Mystery in 2007.

My Take

I do enjoy Adrien’s sense of humor. He cracks me up as he struggles to get through his encounters with Dauten’s girls.

I love and hate what Jake does to him. On one level, they’re great together, and Jake is certainly a life line for Adrien! On the other hand, Jake has such disrespect for Adrien. I hate when Chan shows up to break the news and says Jake has forbidden Adrien from seeing him at the hospital. Then Lisa’s offer of the house…it’s just so impossible even if Adrien wanted it. And the prospect of who he’ll be spending Christmas with…

It’s so cute when he-man Jake calls Adrien baby.

Looks like Natalie may be working for Adrien.

Adrien is a good sport, putting up with all the bonding Lisa wants him to do with Bill, spending Christmas with the family. All the while we get to read Adrien’s snarky comments about the whole thing. The Dautens do seem like a nice, wholesome family.

Such a contrast to what’s happening in the rest of his life! Nothing is what it seems and, yes, there are things that go bump in the night, and there are monsters under the bed. And behind the door and right in front of your face!

The Story

Angus, Adrien’s employee at the bookstore, is terrified and under siege. Crank phone calls threaten his every step, but Angus refuses to talk to Jake. Meanwhile, Jake is up to his neck in his own problems: bodies are being found, ritual killings all over L.A., and his girlfriend is pregnant. It was difficult enough for Adrien before with Jake denying his sexuality, but this news and the escalation of the Satanic threats against Adrien and the bookstore simply make things worse.

Then Lisa drops the engagement bomb. After all these years, she’s going to re-marry. But is it love or part of a Satanic cult…?

The Characters

Adrien English owns Cloak and Dagger Books, a shop that specializes in mysteries. Lisa is Adrien’s mother.

Angus Gordon is Adrian’s heterosexual employee with a fascination for magic; he’s even pursuing a major in an undergraduate program on magic at UCLA. Wanda is his flaky girlfriend.

Detective Jake Riordan is a homicide detective. Kate Keegan, a fellow cop, is his girlfriend. Detective Paul Chan was Jake’s partner on the case where Jake and Adrien met. Now he’s coming to the weekly writing group, Partners in Crime, which Adrien hosts at his bookstore. Jean Finch gets caught following Adrien, using his activities to fuel her and Ted‘s next book. Selene Wolfe is normal by day and a specialist in the occult by night.

Gabriel Savant has reinvented his writing style with the subsequent books taking off. He’s a cocky poser with a huge secret. Bob Friedlander is Savant’s handler from the publisher. With a huge share in the secret.

Councilman Bill Dauten is the man Lisa intends to marry. His daughters, while Barbies, seem very nice: Lauren is married to a jerk, Beavis; Emma is twelve and a cheeky sweetheart; and, Natalie needs a job.

Professor Guy Snowden is Angus’ teacher on the occult at UCLA. He’s also interested in Adrien. Peter Verlane is an ex-student of the professor’s, and supposedly, out of the country.

Claude’s restaurant has been replaced by the Dragonwyck, a shop specializing in the occult. Ariel and Cassandra can only give Adrien a start on learning about the inverted pentagram found on his doorstep. Velvet White is the snoopy woman who turns up out of the blue. Kinsey Perone and the Betty Sansone threaten Adrien in the bookstore. Oliver Garibaldi is an expert on the occult, albeit one with a very scary house. Or two. Martin Grosser is a celebrity lawyer donating his efforts to Angus’ defense. Seems he’s also a member of the club. Dr. Ava Wilding is Oliver’s fiancée and as deep in it as he.

The Cover and Title

It’s Christmas and the cover is all Christmas ball ornaments but one. One is a red, leering devil’s face.

The title covers several possibilities from Jake dropping the bomb to Angus’ culpability to the revelations about the demonic. Well, to The Hell You Say!