When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft’s numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft’s passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn’t right–and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.
While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he’s busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion’s den–literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again… – Goodreads
I love Sherlock Holmes. I love the classic stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, I love the continuations by Laurie R. King, I love the movies with RDJ. I do not love the BBC show, but you can’t win them all, right? This isn’t really about Sherlock, but the characters’ names, Mycroft and Watts, are close enough to make jokes about. Mycroft is also obsessed with forensics, so that adds to it, though the original Mycroft (Sherlock’s brother) was more of a spymaster. Watts is also way more reluctant to get involved with mysteries than John Watson was, but I’ll forgive her for that. So Rachel Watts is a country girl displaced in Melbourne after her family’s farm is foreclosed. She is desperate to be back and hasn’t, or won’t, adjust to city life completely. James Mycroft is an orphan living with his aunt, a frenetic city boy through and through. They are solidly friends, though Watts’ internal narration sometimes gets caught up watching Mycroft toss his curls around. You sort of know that something is probably going to happen between them eventually, but the “battling her attraction” bit is sort of overblown in the summary. You don’t get that impression at all from reading. You get drawn into the mystery instead.
Mycroft has a slew of random “friends” across Melbourne. Watts even calls them his “irregulars.” One of them is Homeless Dave, who Mycroft and Watts visit once a week, bringing dinner and tea. When they arrive one night, Dave is dead, his throat slashed, and his beloved mutt, Poodle, missing. And they’re off to the races, though this is when you really see that Mycroft has issues. So he’s brilliant, but he is also so broken that no one can fix him, not even Watts, not even if she tried. And you as the reader get to watch them break apart and come back together, and it’s just…something else, you know? A slow burn background romance that still manages to be huge.
This is one of those that’s hard to review because the mystery is so intertwined and I won’t give anything away, but I just loved it. The romance was so on point, and damn can Marney write a kissing scene! Watts and Mycroft are meant to be, and all the Sherlock jokes and arguments and fraught feelings are just so perfect. I loved it, even though I had to look up Australian slang every couple of paragraphs. I read this in a day. So worth it.