Book Reviews

A Body on the Hill (A Mitch O'Reilly Mystery 2) by Brad Shreve at Beeson Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Private Investigator / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by ParisDude on 04-November-2020

Book Blurb

PI Mitch O'Reilly is hired by big time Hollywood director T.J. Mooney to follow his son Austin who is starting an acting career without riding the coattails of his powerful father. T.J. isn't happy his beloved son has changed his last name and chooses to live in a sketchy apartment and not the family mansion in Bel Air.

To Mitch it's another routine stakeout until Austin’s body is found on the hill below the Hollywood Sign. Was the body left there to send a message? If so, deciphering that message could lead Mitch to solving the crime.

Book Review

Mitch O’Reilly has quite a lot of free time as business at his store Eye Spy Supplies still isn’t what one would call overwhelming. That’s why he accepts to follow T.J. Mooney’s invitation to come to see him in his ritzy Bel Air villa. Mooney, a successful Hollywood producer, asks Mitch to spy on his estranged youngest son Austin Bouchard (the young man has taken the name of his mother, from whom T.J. is divorced) and offers a ridiculously high fee. Mitch recognizes an easily earned buck when he sees one—and he can use any additional income—so he accepts immediately. Anything to keep him busy, anything to keep his tortured mind occupied; he is still suffering from frequent nightmares and the odd flashbackattack the origin of which can be found in his time as a member of the US Militray Police Corps and his two missions in Afghanistan. He therefore tails Austin more or less stealthily, from his flat in LA’s Koreatown to his hangouts with his friends. And then, one morning, he discovers that he hasn’t been thorough enough… because Austin is found murdered right beneath the world-famous Hollywood sign.


T.J. is not only heartbroken but also livid. But his ex-wife Dominique, Austin’s mother, a renowned model, wants to know who killed her son and isn’t certain the police will find the culprit. She entrusts Mitch with a parallel investigation, which turns out to be complicated as Austin’s life was smoother than a Barbie doll’s crotch. Mitch therefore digs into the past of his family—Austin had a half-sister, cool-hearted businesswoman Erin, as well as a half-brother, tennis ace and womanizer Jared—and his friends: his two gay flatmates Cody and Devin, his off-and-on boyfriend Hector, a meth- and booze-addict, his oldest friend Zach, or singer Rachel Roundtree. While Mitch is searching for clues, he also needs to manage his own life, which little by seems to go awry. Not only is he still struggling with his debilitating PTSD, which makes him grumpy and sometimes outright venomous, but he is also trying to come to terms with his somewhat floating relationship with handsome and stunning Trent.


I like my mysteries easy, smooth, fluffy and cozy, but not exclusively. From time to time, I yearn for something grittier, grimier, slightly rougher and more rugged. This book was the ideal read for that craving. The main character Mitch, who tells the story in the first person, is an excellent observer, capable of conveying the sensation of a situation or a setting in a few chosen words. And he sure isn’t living in a smooth and fluffy world full of lovey-dovey attitude, smiling faces, and warm-hearted people offering free hugs left, right, and center. No, he is living in the real world, where things are tough and life more a question of day-to-day survival than pursuit of happiness. He is one of those “characters with issues” who because of their difficulties in and with life get that edge, that angularity that makes them seem so real, as if they were standing before the reader’s eyes in three dimensions. And yet, although nothing really seems easy, Mitch remains surprisingly positive, a believer in the good nature of mankind despite seeing proof of the contrary all around him more than once. Yes, I admit, I really liked Mitch, his sense of repartee, his wry humor (sometimes very bitchy—I loved it), his stings, his struggles and edges and weak spots.


The plot felt authentic, a classical whodunit where I was allowed to suspect one secondary character after another, with details and clues being added as the story flows (smoothly and at a nice pace). Those secondary characters seemed very genuine, too, and matched the overall tone of the book as well as the different social strata the storyline explores: from the obscenely rich to the outcasts of society. This books explores the darker sides of our modern lives with a sane and uncompromising look on things but without dragging the reader down. It is both lucid and entertaining, on top of being well-written and well-researched.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 228 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 10-June-2020
Price $4.99 ebook, $13.99 paperback
Buy Link