Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Release Blitz: High Time by Keelan Ellis (Reviews, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Title: High Time
Series: The Solomon Mysteries, Book Two
Author: Keelan Ellis
Publisher: NineStar Press, LLC
Release Date: September 10, 2018
Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 55400
Genre: Contemporary Crime, contemporary, police/detectives/law enforcement, crime procedural, family drama

Add to Goodreads


When skeletal remains turn up in Baltimore’s Leakin Park, Detective Paul Solomon is pessimistic about their chances of solving the case. But a clue discovered near the bones soon leaves his partner, Tim Cullen, in little doubt as to their identity. As the case leads him close to home, Tim struggles to find a balance between professional responsibility and family, testing Paul’s patience and loyalty in the process.

In his personal life, Paul wrestles with his own increasingly precarious balancing act. His friendship with David Haygood threatens his new relationship with Owen, and he finds himself questioning not only his own judgment but his motivations as well. When Paul makes a choice that may irreparably damage his budding romance, the only person he can think to turn to is his ex-lover and friend Andy.

As Paul and Tim sift through details of the short life of a young woman who died over a quarter of a century ago, what eventually emerges from the web of connections and coincidence is a story that’s both shocking and sadly familiar to the seasoned detectives.


High Time
Keelan Ellis © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
“It’s huge,” Paul said. “Won’t it be too much for the space?”

“No, the simplicity of it will keep it from overwhelming. I think it might even make the room seem bigger.”

It was a chilly Sunday in March, and Owen had dragged Paul to the studio of a friend of his from his art school days, promising to find him something to put on the large expanse of blank wall in his apartment. Paul wasn’t sure he really cared, but he knew it was the kind of thing that bothered other people. He liked having art on the walls and furniture that looked nice, but he wasn’t gifted with an eye for any of that. His ex-boyfriend Andy had handled all that stuff for eight years, and now he had Owen to help him with it.

Paul had been dating Owen for almost four months. It worked out pretty well because Owen worked in a bar and usually had to be there until the end of the night. It was a relief for Paul not to feel guilty when work kept him late. Sometimes Owen would knock on his door at two or three in the morning, and Paul would stumble out of bed to let him in. He sometimes thought, in that sleep deprived state, that maybe he should just give him a key. That idea rarely made it to the light of day.

“Can I even afford it?” Paul asked.

“Well, what else do you spend your money on?” He eyed Paul up and down in a conspicuously critical way. “Not clothes, that’s for sure.”

“Ha,” Paul said, rolling his eyes.

“Your apartment is a one bedroom on the second floor, next to a house full of stoners in Charles Village. Come on, Paul. Be an adult and buy some art.”

“Yeah, well…” Paul stopped himself before he could say something he’d regret. It was kind of ironic to hear Owen telling him to grow up, but it wasn’t worth getting into. “Never mind. Fine. You’re right, I should spend money on something real.”

“Great!” Owen pulled Paul over to his friend Ara and helped him work out the details. When she went to wrap up the painting, Owen said, “Don’t think I don’t know what you were going to say before, by the way.”

“What are you talking about?” Paul asked innocently.

Owen smiled and shook his head. “I don’t want an argument. I just want you to know that I know.”

Paul studied his face for a moment. He didn’t look pissed. He looked a little bit smug, but that was fine. “I don’t want an argument either,” Paul said. He snaked an arm around Owen’s waist and pulled him tight to his side. “I still need you to hang this picture for me.”

“I understand,” Owen said. “I have a few requests myself that I hoped you could help me with.”

“Will I need a hammer?” Paul asked, grinning.


Once Owen had the picture up, Paul had to admit it improved the look of his modest apartment quite a bit.

“Thanks for doing that,” Paul said.

Owen shrugged. “No big deal. It looks great, don’t you think?”

“Yeah. Thanks for picking it out for me.” Paul put his arms around Owen’s shoulders. “We should go out for dinner. Anywhere you want.”

“I kind of want to just stay in tonight. Would you mind? We could just order food and find something on streaming.”

After a pause that went on slightly too long, Paul said, “Uh, yeah. Sure.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Paul said, shaking his head. “Sorry. I was just thinking of where we should order from. You want Indian food?”

With a slight frown, Owen said, “Sure, that sounds good. Do you have a menu?”

Paul wasn’t sure what had shown on his face that caused Owen to react, but there’d been a second when Paul felt a twinge of panic. It made no rational sense. Staying in and ordering dinner was exactly the kind of thing Paul usually wanted. His job was tiring, and he didn’t like crowds. But coming from Owen, for some reason, it bothered him, and Paul knew it was unfair.

“I’ll go get it,” Paul said. “You pick out something on Netflix.”

Paul put his unease aside. They watched an entire season of Luther, which Paul loved. He assumed it was as full of inaccuracies as most American police dramas, but because it was English, he wasn’t clear enough on the details of their system to be annoyed by it. Plus, Idris Elba. Owen ended up falling asleep with his head on Paul’s leg by the end. It was as domestic as any evening he’d ever spent with Andy, but instead of making him feel content and comfortable, he only felt restless. He prodded Owen awake and got him into bed.

It was still dark out when Paul was awoken by the phone in the middle of a confusing dream in which he was at a baseball game at Camden Yards with his dad, while somehow simultaneously on the field, playing shortstop for the Blue Jays. His dad was rooting against Toronto, of course, but every time he made a play or got a hit, his dad would say, “That’s okay, son, I love you no matter what.” Not the most subtle dream he’d ever had.

He groped for his phone on the nightstand and picked up. “Solomon.”

It was his boss, Lieutenant Cherise Masters. “I’m sorry to call you so early. I need you to meet Tim and the forensic team at a scene in Leakin Park. I’ll text you the coordinates.”

“Someone dumped a body?”

“You must be psychic, Solomon. Buried it, actually, and a long time ago by all accounts. Pretty much just bones at this point.”

Paul sat up and put his feet on the floor. “Wait. Bones? Seriously? You’re calling me in early on some cold case whodunit?”

Masters was silent, no doubt in an effort to intimidate him. Paul waited her out, and she finally sighed in resignation. “Human remains were found by a couple of guys with a podcast who are apparently doing a series of episodes on the so-called ‘bodies of Leakin Park’.”

“You have got to be shitting me.”

“The last thing we need is another goddamn Serial situation. It has to be done properly.”

“Yeah,” Paul said. “I’m on my way.” He hung up and looked over at Owen.

“You have to go right now?” Owen mumbled.

“Yeah, sorry. I hate to do this to you, but you have to get up. I’ll drop you off at home.” Paul pushed the hair out of Owen’s face and gave him a kiss.

Owen stretched and then burrowed further into the blankets. “I don’t have to work until four. I’ll just hang around and take the bus from here.”

“That would be fine, except you won’t be able to lock the deadbolt when you leave. Come on, get dressed.”

“Don’t you have an extra key?” Owen asked.

“No,” Paul lied. “I’m sorry.”

It was obvious Owen wasn’t buying it. He narrowed his eyes and said, “You said that already.”

Paul looked at him and realized that some kind of fight was brewing, and it wasn’t one he particularly wanted to have at the moment. Things between him and Owen had been great, for the most part, but that was going to change if they had to have the relationship conversation. It wasn’t a question Paul was in any way ready to answer. Regardless, he didn’t have time for it. He had to get to a crime scene. “I really need to get going. Can we do this later?”

“We could, but we probably won’t,” Owen grumbled. Still, he got out of bed and pulled his clothes on.

The silent ride from Charles Village to Mount Vernon was mercifully short, and when they pulled up in front of Owen’s building, Paul grabbed his wrist before he could get out. “Hey,” he said, “I don’t want to be in a fight with you.”

Owen sighed. “We’re not in a fight, Paul. You just hurt my feelings. I feel like you don’t trust me in your place.”

“It’s not that,” Paul said. “Look, it’s early. We’re both not in the best of moods. Can we do this later?”


“I had a nice time yesterday. Thanks for helping me with the painting. It looks great in my apartment, and there’s no way I could have picked it out myself.”

Owen smiled. “I had fun too.”

“Are we okay?” Paul asked.

Owen leaned over and kissed him. “More or less,” he said. “I’ll call you tomorrow.” He got out and walked into his building.


NineStar Press, LLC | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

**Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.**

High Time is the second book in The Soloman Mysteries series by Keelan Ellis. I really think that for the most enjoyment this series should be read in the appropriate order.

The Soloman Mysteries is a mystery series. I know, shocking huh! Though there are personal relationships and dynamics in this series, this is actually a mystery series. Romance is not the primary focus of this book, and I thank the author for that! I like romance as much as the next romance reader, but when I go into a mystery book, I want the focus to be on the mystery and not the romance. I think this author does a great job of combining both of these items.

Both Paul and Tim are in relationships. Tim's is a lot more stable than Paul’s and only has minor time in this book. Paul's struggling a little with figuring out what he wants and what he’s willing to do for it. For me, Paul's relationship took up a little more time than I like in a mystery book but, it didn’t overwhelm the story.

But, the most important part of this book is the mystery and it was really well done! Paul is not happy about the new case or the initial urgency around the bones found in the park. But the identification of the body is not as difficult as expected because the victim is in the missing person database, along with her dental records. And Tim recognized a piece of jewelry on the victim, who was his sister’s best friend in high school. Of course, that leads to a lot of boundary issues with Tim, especially when having to consider the killer could be someone he knows.

I did enjoy the mystery and the working to solve the case, though I did know who the killer was and had suspicions about how the others were involved. But, I’m sure a normal person will be able to just read along and not have to work to solve the case before the detective does. ;-) I thought the killer was pretty predictable once his/her storyline was introduced, but there were twists and turns through the story so that all was not known until the end. Of course! There were some parts of the case that made me sad, since I liked the characters involved but there was some hope at the end of the story to make me think things could be ok.

If you enjoy mysteries, I highly recommend this series! I really like the characters of Paul and Tim and most of the supporting characters. I think the author has done a great job of weaving romance in the mystery series. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and see what case Paul and Tim are next involved in! Seriously, grab this series and get familiar with Paul and Tim, you’ll thank me!

Rating: 4.5 stars

4 Stars

High Time is a murder mystery. This is not a romance novel, as I expected. There are no sexy times. There is no intimacy. I did not read the preceding book(s) in this series, so there seemed to be some relationship backstory and context I was missing.

Having said all that, it was a solid read. The mystery was engaging enough to keep me interested. It wasn’t an entirely surprising whodunit, but it wasn’t so elementary either that I got bored.

The MC Paul is a gay homicide detective in Baltimore. He is in a new-ish relationship with Owen after having recently ended an 8-year relationship. From the get-go, it seems Owen is way more invested in the relationship than Paul. As a reader, you get the sense that Paul is too guarded, either from his break-up or his job or his upbringing. He seemed to really struggle in to let Owen in. Funnily enough, I still liked Paul as a character despite him not being terribly charming or dynamic. He was smart and witty and somehow was just believable and relatable.

(The next bit might be considered a spoiler, so if you want to read it, please hover over the blank space with your mouse) After an argument, Paul realizes he loves Owen and that’s how the book ends. The mystery of who killed Penny is neatly solved and Paul and Owen are potentially headed toward a HEA. Tada!

This is truly no-frills mystery. No angst, no emotions, the author doesn’t try to make you think... It’s entertainment, plain and simple.

**Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.**

4.5 stars 

Oh Paul... he is a little bit of a tool, but means well and I pretty much love his character. He is funny and charming in a sort of jerky way. He really is just an incredibly entertaining person to read about. Just like book one, this is really a mystery with a hint of romance.

The writing is great and the plot fluidly switches between Paul's work life and personal life. As I mentioned before, it is more about every day Paul's life than him building a connection with someone. However, we do get to see bits of him letting his guard down and spending time with a potential love interest. The writing is also very blunt which I appreciated and the author discusses sensitive subjects easily and authentically. They are not afraid to push the limit on the dialogue and internal dialogue.

The mystery and case that Paul and Tim were working on was really interesting and kept me guessing. I read so many pure romances that it is nice to get something a little out of the box. Though, I still loved the storyline with Owen and I want to know more!! I also still like David and Andy and am curious how all of these things are going to play out. I NEED the next book!

**Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.**

Meet the Author

Keelan Ellis is an author of romance and detective fiction, who is always seeking to expand her literary horizons. She is a lover of music and food, and has an intense love/hate relationship with politics. Her stories reflect her passions.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


a Rafflecopter giveaway

  Blog Button 2

No comments:

Post a Comment