Book 2 in the Delingpole Mysteries
A man is murdered, and takes a deadly secret to his grave.
Is it true the murdered man is Dominic Delingpole’s former lover? And were they still seeing each other just before his recent wedding to husband Jonathan? Or are these simply lies?
This is the sequel to the award-winning The Necessary Deaths. It's more than a story of deceit between husbands. A man’s death plunges Dominic and Jonathan into a world of international espionage, which puts their lives at risk. What is the ruthless Charter Ninety-Nine group, and why is it pursuing them across Europe and the United States?
Dominic and Jonathan are forced to test their relationship to its limit. What deadly lies must they both confront? And if they stay alive, will their relationship remain intact?
Dominic and Jonathan stood side by side on the sand, sharing the beauty of the moonlight dappling the surface of the sea. The air was warm and still; the hubbub of Sitges nightlife sounded muted and distant. Dominic slipped his fingers through Jonathan’s, squeezed his hand tight, and kissed him on the cheek.
“Thank you, Jonathan.”
“What for?” he asked. “I haven’t done anything yet. I may yet need to protect you from the perils of the night. I anticipate we will imminently be attacked by international drug smugglers or carried off by white-slave traders to be sold in the markets of Morocco as the playthings of Arab oligarchs.”
Dominic laughed, rested his head on Jonathan’s shoulder, and watched the moon-silvered waves lap the shore.
“I think I want to say thank you for so many things. You make me very happy. And I feel guilty I wasn’t honest with you about this evening, or the meeting earlier—”READ MORE
“What meeting earlier?” Jonathan turned to look at Dominic. “So your visit to the antiques shop was just a cover story, was it?” His face appeared severe, but Dominic was certain it was mock anger. He knew Jonathan too well.
“No, not entirely. I did go to the antiques shop, and I did find the gift for you I was looking for. But the reason I didn’t tell you about the meeting—”
“Dominic, stop.” Jonathan kissed him gently on the lips. “We all have convenient lies to tell from time to time. I am confident—no, more than that—I know you love me enough not to want to hurt me. I know there’s some good reason for your secrecy. I love you and I trust you. You don’t have to say any more.” He looked into Dominic’s eyes. “But if I find it’s another man—”
Becca on Love Bytes wrote:
Would I read it again – Yes!
The Deadly Lies is a great follow-up to book 1 in the Delingpole Mysteries. As soon as I saw that it started with Bernhardt – the man who first popped Dominic's gay-cherry! – I swear I squeezed with excitement. I thought, for sure, that he would be the biggest surprise of the book, but I was wrong. So wrong.
There is one reason I didn't give this one 5 stars, like I did with book 1, and that is the fact that the first half of the book wasn't quite as captivating. It focused more on their relationship, with fewer hints and clues about the overall crime, so I found it interesting but not as intriguing and it didn't stir my 'mystery solving' tastebuds quite as much.
Saying that, the second half was gripping and thrilling. The story is a great mystery, with a lot of information provided. There are multiple POV's, because the author is smart enough to show the POV of the criminals, the enemies and the players who really had an impact on how the story progressed. I loved seeing the POV's for the new characters – Pete, Bernhardt, Alfonso and his husband Gabriel, as well as Karl Michael and Sinon – and learning how they fit into the overall story. It was a bit harder to figure out where Pete and Sinon came into it until around the halfway mark or just after it, because there was a subtle genius to the way they were linked to the rest of the plot and the characters. Once again, I found myself amazed at how well it all came together.
I'll admit, I read reviews after reading book 1 and couldn't understand the complaints about it being unrealistic – would you say the same thing about James Bond? – or the horrible slut-shaming of Jonathan. For me, the plot is a brilliant, well conceived and well written – not to mention thoroughly researched, which I can see from the immense attention to detail – while the characters are realistic and relatable.
I am still in love with Dominic and Jonathan. I still love their individual quirks and how they function together. Just as in book 1, their chemistry isn't off-the-charts, because they've been together a while and they don't have to prove their feelings for each other at every turn. Their chemistry is subtle and gentle, in ways that every long term couple can recognise. They have their struggles, more so in this book than in the previous one, but they find a way to work through it and, in the process, learn even more about each other and their relationship.
It's kind of sad, but also logical, that Jonathan would feel betrayed at the thought of Dominic having had an affair, because he's the adventurous one, the one who doesn't always admit to this 'open' relationship excursions, while Dominic has always been transparent about it. It makes sense that he'd feel especially hurt that Dominic hadn't told him about one of his 'adventures', which makes it sound shady, whereas Jonathan is also feeling the same jealousy that Dominic usually feels over his encounters. I loved that they faced this difficulty head-on, because it was something that the first book touched upon. To see the way Jonathan and Dominic dealt with it – the secrets, the talking, the silence, the hurt feelings etc – all showed that these are two men who really do love each other and they're willing to face any struggle head on, together. And, I love that Alfonso and Gabriel show Jonathan and Dominic that an open relationship can be both successful and honest. I'd love to see more of Alfonso and Gabriel in the future, because I hope that these two will become firm friends to Dominic and Jonathan. They need them, to keep them stable and remind them of what they have.
When it comes to the secondary characters, I really did love to see Steve again. I'm so glad that he was back. He has some excellent skills and they were really well utilised in this book. I kind of loved Sinon, too. I'm super intrigued to find out who will appear in the next book and what kind of part they'll have in it, not to mention the impact they'll have on Jonathan and Dominic.
Overall, this intriguing story took place partly in San Francisco and partly in Barcelona, full of conspiracy and subterfuge, while exploring Dominic and Jonathan's relationship in a whole new way. There are secret organisations, a bit more of the hot stuff than book 1 (mostly fade-to-black) and some serious drama. With the author leaving the story open for another book, I can't wait to see where it's going to go, but I know it's going to be one hell of a ride.
Serena on Rainbow Book Reviews wrote:
I swear if there is not a book 3 to this series, I may have to hurt somebody. Like for real lol. You authors and your cliffhangers. You’re KILLING me. Another book that I’m soooooooooo into and all of a sudden BAM! and it’s over. And I’m like whaaaaa? I need more. Don’t leave me hanging! This book, this series is so good. Another mystery where bodies are piling up, the asshole bad guys from book 1 are back, and poor Dominic is in trouble again.
Life can’t seem to get much better right now. He’s married to Jonathan, they are on a beautiful honeymoon. But for them, it seems the honeymoon is over before it’s barely started. Dominic is trying to abide by the open marriage rules, but it’s hard. And not very fair if Jonathan gets jealous if he thinks there’s another man in his life. And to make matters worse, his ex, Bernhardt, is on his way to see him and is leaving him messages and he doesn’t know why. All of a sudden, they are involved in another mystery and lives are on the line. They get involved in a conspiracy that can ruin people all over the world. And has already ruined some. Secrets are coming to the light and Dominic and Jonathan’s new marriage may not make it past the first week or two. They have to fight against the clock to save the world from hackers, illegal programs, politicians, and more before someone gets them.
Not being fond of the ‘open relationship’ thing, I can kinda understand where Dominic is coming from. It puts a strain on the relationship when both sides are not in agreement or communicating or hiding secrets from each other. So things are already a little strained when Dominic’s ex comes on the scene. But before any info can be explained, he’s murdered. And then the crap hits the fan. I tell you, Mr. Dawson has a way with these characters. I will be honest, it took me a few minutes to kind of catch up with what was going on because there are so many people involved and in so many different ways. But it keeps you involved. It keeps you in the book. You can’t put it down. You’re trying to figure out who good or bad. Who belongs to whom and then he sneaks in these little stinkers who are double crossers. Very slick. And poor Dominic. Stuck in the middle yet again and he didn’t ask to be in it. The poor guy is just trying to enjoy his honeymoon. And Jonathan…I don’t know if he’s making things better or worse. What a book.
Pick this book up. Pick this series up. It’s one you can’t put down. I love a good murder mystery. But be forewarned of cliffhangers!!! Grrrrr lol.
MaryAnn on The Novel Approach wrote:
This is the second adventure of Dominic, a lawyer who is as good at solving mysteries as any PI, and Jonathan, his quirky lover and new husband. After the harrowing events they had to deal with in ‘The Necessary Lies’, and how close they became while dealing with all the political and international business conspiracies they uncovered, it was a relief to see them decide they were meant to stay together. Now that they are on their honeymoon, you might think that things would be more quiet – but nothing could be further from the truth. As the blurb alludes to, Dominic has kept a rather explosive secret from him and when it comes out, Jonathan is rather shocked – as was I. But this is not the worst of it, and before they know what hit them, both men are neck-deep in lies, internet crime, and a mysterious group out to destroy the world as we know it.
This book is fascinating on two levels. First, there is the personal side that focuses on the developing relationship between Dominic and Jonathan. Both men are committed enough to have gotten married and they know they work well together when solving mysteries and fighting crime, but that doesn’t mean everything is perfect between them. Communication, as ever, is a challenge for Dominic, and while his decisions may be acceptable on a purely rational level, he fails to account for the effect his silence has on Jonathan on an emotional level. And while these issues are not the central focus of the story, they definitely add an interesting flavor to the proceedings.
The second level is, of course, all about the international conspiracy Dominic discovers – in a mysterious text message sent to him by his ex-lover, Bernhardt, just before his suspicious death. Solving the riddle of what Bernhardt meant keeps Dominic up at night, but answering one question leads to three more new ones every time he thinks he is getting somewhere. Jonathan is initially shocked and disappointed that Dominic never told him about wanting to meet Bernhardt – during their honeymoon! But being the man he is, he can’t resist a good secret either, and soon joins Dominic in the quest for answers. As cleverly put together as the mystery case in the first volume of the series, and with even higher stakes, the discoveries Dominic and Jonathan made held me spellbound.
If you like ingenious mysteries with international implications, unpredictable effects, and credible threats, if internet crime and secret organizations up to no good pique your interest, and if you’re looking for an action-packed read with determined characters who follow the facts no matter where they lead, a hair-raising story with more than a few twists and turns, and spine-chilling suspense up until the last page, then you will probably like this novel. I certainly hope there will be more stories about Dominic and Jonathan!
Steve Brown is a control systems hacker. After being selected to attend the Embarcadero Hackfest, he’s on his way from Brighton, England to San Francisco. While waiting on his flight, he calls his mom to let her know that he’s headed to America, and she talks Steve into contacting his dad while he’s there. So, he pulls out all his hacking expertise to find Pete, his father, who seems to have vanished. Steve also finds himself subjected to some mysterious happenings—and a tracking device in a most unusual place.
Dominic Delingpole has a connection to Bernhardt Freude, Steve Brown, and, eventually, to Officer Alfonso De la Torre, who’s been put on Freude’s trail after word came down from Europol that Freude stole documents which could cause great harm. With a strange text from Bernhardt, an artifact Alfonso has taken from a crash site that will open the door to devastation, Steve’s dilemmas, and many strange characters, it leads Dominic and his husband, Jonathan, into a twisted game of cat and mouse that turns into danger and tragedy.
The only thing I had a problem with in Deadly Lies was Jonathan’s need for an open marriage with Dominic, because it contradicts itself when Jonathan gets upset about a lie he hears about Dominic and Bernhardt. Jonathan, at times, tries to be funny and flirts a little too much, and he can be a drama queen, but I didn’t let the odd relationship between him and Dominic get in the way of the solid mystery. I do like Dominic. He’s a little more serious, being a lawyer, and he really tries to be honest and understanding. He has doubts about his relationship with Jonathan, but he seems dedicated to understanding Jonathan’s needs.
I really got into the plot of this fast paced, suspenseful mystery and the way all the threads connected to the interesting and dangerous outcome of making a person’s identity vanish. There’s also a few characters, including an old nemesis of Dominic’s, that will invoke feelings of uneasiness and questions about whether they are trustworthy. What really kept me intrigued, however, was Steve Brown’s storyline, his search for his father, the Hackfest and all the mysterious stumbling blocks along the way, never knowing who could or couldn’t be trusted.