Book Review: Josh Lanyon’s Fair Game

Posted June 21, 2017 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 Fair Game

Fair Game


Josh Lanyon

detective mystery that was published by Carina Press on August 1, 2010 and has 270 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, The Hell You Say, Dark Tide, Somebody Killed His Editor, Fair Play

Second in the All’s Fair m/m detective mystery series revolving around a gay couple, one of whom is still an FBI agent. It’s based in Seattle, Washington.

My Take

It’s a walk down memory lane. It’s not an enjoyable one, not when Elliot has to wonder (using third-person subjective point-of-view), if his father committed murder — along with all the violent plans Rollie had made as leader of an underground movement — that realization is definitely the inciting incident. Worse, it’s a “walk” Elliot has to suss out from his father’s manuscript and money trail, an analeptic reverse chronology if you will, for his father has gone underground, again.

It is a handy story for us, as it provides us with a lot of background on Roland and why he has such a controversial relationship with Elliot, particularly with regard to his joining the FBI. It’s one of those had-I-known plot beats that is used several times to relieve the stress Elliot is under regarding Tucker’s unfathomable actions and understanding his father’s past actions.

“Facts may be open to interpretation, but the facts themselves are not subjective.”

It’s rough for Elliot to read about the violence his father had planned and carried out back in the ’60s, and just as painful to read about the civil rights violations and brutality from the other side.

Why does everyone think that Elliot should stop trying to find his dad? Especially since most of the story is of Elliot trying to find his dad, lol, tracking down old friends and following his credit card usage. Dad should have known Elliot wouldn’t give up. He’d have been better off telling his son everything.

It’s pretty funny that the Collective’s best terrorist ideas came from an undercover FBI agent. I gotta say, I’m with J.Z. I can see both sides of those issues, and I disapprove of the actions of both sides. Yep, I’m a conservative-liberal…although sometimes I’m a liberal-conservative. Yep, there really is a difference, *more laughter*. You can tell there are plot twists from that remark alone *grin*

The resolution is somewhat heart-breaking with more of a relieved ending than the happy ending plot beat.

The Story

Someone doesn’t want Roland to publish his antiestablishment memoirs, Power to the People, and is willing to go to extremes to prevent it.

Just to complicate things, Roland goes underground, hiding from his son. Who learns that Roland is suspected of having murdered at least one of their group.

The Characters

Former special agent and now history professor, Elliot Mills, chose to retire from the FBI rather than sit behind a desk. His hobby is Civil War dioramas and working through the recreation of old battles. His life partner, Special Agent Tucker Lance, had been his FBI partner before the shootout two years ago. The Bull Fish is Tucker’s sloop.

The Special-Agent-in-Charge (and Tucker’s boss) is Montgomery.

Tova, Tucker’s addicted mother who dumped him into foster care, is in Seattle for the Woman Up conference. Now she’s born-again and married to the unstylish Ed.

Roland Mills still is a chick magnet and living on Ketron Island. He is also a professor at Puget Sound University, as well as a former, well, maybe not so-former, radical from the 1960s. In fact, he had been one of the most prominent leaders of the antiwar movement at the University of Washington. Jesse Mills was his [third] wife and Elliot’s mother.

The Collective was…
…back in the day, an antiwar group that had splintered off from the SDS and was led by Roland. Some of the members included Mischa Weinstein (his first wife) who is director for the Center for Justice for Women and Children in New York. Oscar “Nobby” Nobb, a be-medaled Vietnam vet, is the fourth-generation owner of Nobb’s Organic Farm outside Bellevue. Tom (he’s a high-powered lawyer these days) and Pauline (she’s his second wife) Baker are some of Roland’s oldest and closest friends. Franklyn “Frank” Blue had been a musician. J.Z. McGavin Zelvin had been undercover for the FBI. Most of the group had been in love with Star, a.k.a., Stella. Suzy D. (Susanne DeWoskin) and Ruth Margolies, Roland’s second wife, who is now Ruth Margolies-Rossiter teaching sociology at Cascadia Community College in Bothell, were also part of the group.

Mrs. McGillivray is Dad’s neighbor. Burris is the fire captain on scene. Detectives Pine and Upson are with the Seattle PD and investigating the attacks.

Puget Sound University is…
…one of the most liberal colleges on the West Coast and where both professors teach. One of Elliot’s seminars is on “Film and History: The American West”. Kyle is Elliot’s teaching assistant. Z is the computer hacker. Donna is the department secretary. Elliot’s students include Leslie Mrachek, Liane Miller, and Mira Eagan. Charlotte Oppenheimer is the university president. Anne Gold is another professor. Dr. Fish is head of the Philosophy Department. Professor Corian was the Sculptor, the case Tucker and Elliot closed in Fair Game, 1.

Will MacAuley is a neoconservative billionaire blogger and radio talk show host who despises people like Roland. George Clifton Blewe is a city council president in Seattle being targeted for assassination. By his soon-to-be ex-wife.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a range of oranges to yellow in that cloud-filled sunset that reflects so redly in the waters behind the peacoat-clad Elliot. The author’s name is right-aligned in the top center of the cover while the title is in a soft yellow-to-orange gradient in the lower right corner.

The title is all that Professor Mills the Elder is asking, give us Fair Play.