Book Reviews

Pressure Head (The Plumber's Mate 1) by JL Merrow at Riptide Publishing

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Erotic Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 01-January-2018

Book Blurb

Some things are better left hidden.

Tom Paretski’s not just a plumber with a dodgy hip courtesy of a schoolboy accident. He also has a sixth sense for finding hidden things. Called in by the police to help locate a body near Brock’s Hollow, he’s staggered to encounter Phil Morrison, his old school crush—and the closeted bully whose actions contributed to Tom’s accident. 


Phil’s all grown up now, and Tom’s unwilling attraction to him is back with a vengeance. Phil’s now openly gay—and what’s more, he’s interested in Tom’s personal charms as well as his psychic talents. As a private investigator called in by the dead woman’s parents, Phil is sceptical about Tom’s unusual gift, but nevertheless quick to spot its potential to aid him in his work.


The further they go with the investigation, the less they can ignore their shared past, and the more the pressure and the heat build between them. But Tom isn’t certain he wants to know the secrets he’s helping to uncover, while there’s a murderer on the loose who won’t hesitate to kill again—and this uneasy couple is moving right into his sights.




First Edition published by Samhain Publishing, 2012. This edition has been lightly reedited.


Book Review

Besides the fact that this is a J.L. Merrow book, and I really enjoy her work, the blurb caught my eye. A plumber with a "gift" and a private investigator who used to bully him in school. Hmm. It didn't take long for me to be completely immersed in the story, turning pages as fast as I could. Part of the appeal, for me, of this author's work, is that it's always set in Britain and therefore I get the joy of the mannerisms and language unique to their culture. The humor is always dry, the characters are complex, and the stories are compelling.

Tom Paretski is a plumber with a little extra. Of course, his friend tells him it's the kind of gift you wish you could give back. Tom can find things. Not lost things. Hidden things. Especially if there's a large amount of emotion centered around the item. Hence, finding murder victims. He's been called in by the police to see if he can help them find a missing person, a young woman who is engaged to a guy Tom knew in school. At the scene he runs into Phil Morrison, the school bully who inadvertently caused Tom to get struck by a car when he was seventeen, fracturing his pelvis and breaking a leg. Phil is now a private investigator. Turns outPhil is gay which is quite the surprise since he came across as a horrible homophobe in school. Anyway, Phil doesn't believe Tom about his gift, at least not at first, but he gets Tom to help him look into the mystery.

This unlikely partnership has Tom and Phil spending quite a bit of time together. Most of their time, however, is either spent in innuendo or arguing, so Tom is understandably confused about the situation. When Tom discovers that Phil liked him in school, but also hated him for the way Tom made Phil feel, Tom doesn't know what to think. Unfortunately, before all of that can be figured out, Tom, with his cheeky wit, manages to stumble over the murderer. I could picture all of this in my head, and, personally, I think the BBC should make this a TV show. I know I'd watch it.

This was such a great beginning for a series. I'm even more excited that the next book continues with the same main characters, as I really liked Tom and Phil. Thank you, JL, for another great story that I can honestly say I'll really enjoy rereading. Often.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 256 pages/70200 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-January-2018
Price $3.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $21.98 bundle
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