Title: Open for Business (No Enemy But Time)
Series: Brandywine Investigations
Author: Angel Martinez
Genre: Urban Fantasy
LGBTQ+ Category: M/M, Cis
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books, LLC
When humans forsake the temples, the gods need to find other employment. Hades opens Brandywine Investigations after his divorce and his subsequent move to the modern world. If he was hoping for boring infidelity cases and lost dogs, he’s sorely mistaken as murder and mayhem find his agency and his extended family at an astonishing rate.
Canines, Crosshairs & Corpses: Brandywine Investigations #1
No Enemy But Time: Brandywine Investigations #2
Dragons, Diamonds & Discord: Brandywine Investigations #3
Please note: The stories in this omnibus have been reedited, and expanded by about 18K (total.)
Review by Dan
Note: Since this omnibus contains three different novellas, I’ve broken up my review into three parts. This is the review of the second novella, No Enemy But Time: Brandywine Investigations #2.
The second novella in this trilogy felt a little off to me. It felt like a sequel but not to the book I had just read. The main character in this book is already in an established relationship but something about the setup felt empty. I got the impression I should have already known the backstory for Zack and Michael and although their relationship was depicted as loving and dedicated, it felt more like telling than showing.
Over all, this story isn’t much of an investigation and Hades takes a backseat for this one. The numerous POV changes became a little disorienting at times, too. The overall plot feels sparse and we move quickly between various locations and driving conflicts, so things start to feel a little harried.
That being said, it was nice to see a queer couple in a long-established and caring relationship. Neither partner is depicted as bitter or exhausted from being with the other, which is an unfortunately common trope when dealing with long-term relationships in fiction.
The plot has a lot of interesting points and forays into other types of mythologies, introducing other types of gods and an archangel. With more fleshing out, I think this novella would overcome those gaps in character development and plot to give us a really touching story, especially if it continued to explore how the relationship between Zack and Michael changes after the climax.
With the climax as emotional as it was and with the future so tenuous between the main couple, I found myself wanting more than a few paragraphs at the end to tell me how things are going to be. Although there are more novellas in this series, given the differences between the first and the second, I’m not sure what the third will hold and how much we’ll see of the previous characters.
Overall, the book is a solid, albeit quick, read that I would recommend for those looking to keep things light and easy with a decent heat level.
Dan Ackerman is a writer and educator who has lived in Connecticut for their entire life. They received their BSED from CCSU in 2013 and wrote their Master’s thesis on representations of women in same-sex relationships in contemporary Spanish literature and cinema. Currently, Dan is studying for a second MA in ABA and works in a center school for students with variety of intellectual, developmental, or multiple disabilities. In their spare time, Dan continues to read and write, supplemented with a healthy amount of movie marathons and gaming.