These reviews cover the original novel, and the separate anthology of stories, as well as the full “reintegrated” edition.
Rainbow Awards 2011: Runner Up in the Best LGBT Mystery / Thriller category
(The original novel came equal third in this category.)
Judges’ comments: A very gripping thriller. At first I was a bit shocked that it has almost 700 pages but once I started reading I couldn’t stop. The part I enjoyed the most was the love story between the two main protagonists. All the characters have depth and are complex which made them very realistic. I found this book very fascinating and I will definitely read it again.
And: The book was a refreshing change from the usual “m/m-fare” and had a great mix of a real thriller and romance, although with a character like Albert I am not sure if romance is the right word… ;-) One problem I had was that I was missing some explanation for why Albert was the way he was.
My Fiction Nook: 5 stars from Rosa
Excerpts: … That’s what I love about Julie Bozza; each of her books is so different. She’s eclectic and it shows. … I think this is a love it or hate kind of book. It’s a bit dry in the beginning, but once you push though that and kind of go with the flow of the novel, it’s awesome and singularly different from other MM books. … I highly recommend it. I want to hug it. … (If you read and like this book, please read Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect, which is also fantastic.)
‘Charm: A Two-Edged Sword’: 5 stars from A.B. Gayle
A.B. Gayle says: This isn’t a romance, but it is a love story. Not romantic love but deeper, more meaningful love. And she also says a whole lot more in a fascinating analysis of what she sees as the main theme here: This book is about charm. The use of it. The abuse of it. The lack of it. The strength of it. Albert Sterne is not a charming man. He is impatient, abrupt, arrogant, irascible … Fletcher Ash, the only person who has managed to penetrate his defensive field, possesses charm in abundance. He gets on with everyone. … He likes people. On the surface, you’d assume that being charming is a good thing, yet one of the hardest hitting sections of the book involves a scene where Fletcher comes to realize that he’s been charmed by someone else. …
Julie adds: You might never read the book, but I’m sure you’ll get something out of reading the review!
Reviews by Jessewave: 5 stars from LadyM
Excerpt and summary: Two complex and complicated men in search for a cunning serial killer. Excellent book for patient readers. … a terrific novel, ambitious in both its scope and complexity and it is a wonder that it wasn’t picked up by some mainstream publisher. … if you have patience and enjoy the challenge and complex characters and relationships, you will be rewarded by this gem of a novel. Highly recommended
Elisa’s reviews and ramblings: by Elisa Rolle
Excerpt and summary: … it’s not its length that will ‘disturb’ you, but the ability of the author to give deepness to every character, even the less important ones, like Ricardo, the hustler, or the more unlikely like the villain. … I’m not sure this book by Julie Bozza is good for everyone, the most squirming reader will probably want to avoid it. But if you want a very good psychological thriller, of the old fashioned type, I can fully recommend this one.
Dear Author: A- from Sirius
Conclusion: I recommend this book very highly, especially if you love snarky, complex heroes and if detailed descriptions of murder with torture do not scare you.
Saturday Recs: from Elin Gregory
Conclusion: This FBI based thriller abut the search for a vicious serial killer by an FBI agent assisted by the titular Albert, forensic genius and the most obnoxious man in the Bureau, is probably the most satisfying story I’ve read so far this year. Give it a go and I promise that the charming Fletcher Ash and the appalling Albert will stay in your mind and your heart for a long time.
Top 2 Bottom Reviews: 4 kisses from Jen
Conclusion re the anthology: All in all, this book was magnificent and you’ll want to read more.
Reviews by Jessewave: 4.5 stars from LadyM
Conclusion re the anthology: This collection of stories was certainly more emotional than the novel, since it revolves more around characters’ lives than the plot about a serial killer. It has been a while since I’ve enjoyed a writer’s style so much, unobtrusive and yet clearly capable of conveying Albert’s losses, Garrett’s hatred, Fletcher’s love. The stories added the facets of their private lives successfully deepening our overall understanding of their characters. If you read The Definitive Albert J. Sterne, this collection is a must read. If you didn’t, I wholeheartedly recommend both books to you. Both the novel and the stories are great addition to this genre and the complexity of the characters alone recommend them to anyone who enjoys reading.
- Simsala gave the novel 5 stars, and said: Lightyears away from the standard m-m romance.
- Indigo gave the novel 5 stars, and said: An unbelievably fascinating book. Clever, well-written, powerful characters, witty and enthralling. A must read.
- Aussie54 gave the anthology 5 stars, and said: Reading about Fletcher and his family was a joy. … It was hard to put my eReader down! I couldn’t wait to see what happened with Fletcher and Albert (even re-reading the first Albert along with this second book was compelling …).
- Silver Iris gave the anthology 5 stars, and said: I’m not sure I can describe just how much I love Albert & Ash. These short stories that are snippets into their lives beyond the novel were fantastic. I want to see more into their future.
Jenre featured this as her Overall Book of the Year in her post on favourite male-male romance books read in 2013, and said: This is the second book by this author on my lists this year and well deserved it is too. It’s hard to believe that two years ago I started this book and stopped reading a third of the way through. This year I picked it up again and couldn’t put it down. I loved the characters of Albert and Fletcher and the way their relationship develops in slow increments which mirrors Fletcher’s investigation of a series of murders. The plot moves slowly but that was part of its beauty and by the end I felt like I had taken a worthwhile journey. In fact I was rather bereft when it was all over. Luckily the sequel/companion book was on hand to help with my withdrawal :). If you like mysteries/police procedurals and want to read about characters that aren’t easy to like but with whom you will fall in love, then I highly recommend this book. Don’t be put off by the length, it’s worth investing your time in every page.