Osian (Ossie) isn’t exactly a hermit, but he isn’t working as a paramedic anymore either. A fatal accident that ended with he and his ambulance partner, Abra, losing a patient they were transporting left Ossie with serious PTSD and a huge amount of guilt that is hard to let go. It doesn’t help that he is receiving mildly threatening emails reminding him he is a murderer for the DOA incident. But between his life partner, Dannel, and their joint mystery crime podcasts, Ossie is slowly healing and trying to come to terms with what he still views as his failure to save someone. Dannel tries to understand, but his autism can affect his ability to read other’s expressions or say the right thing, which sometimes makes him feel inadequate. Still, Ossie and Dannel love each other very much and understand each other; they know the limits and strengths of each other and it makes their home a safe and comforting place.
When a friend and fellow paramedic, Gemma, is murdered while their close knit group of first responders attends a cosplay convention, the last thing Ossie thinks is that his own life is in danger. But then one scary situation after another begins to happen with each one more life threatening than the last. It is obvious that Ossie is being stalked and that his and Dannel’s lives and the lives their friends are the focus. Will he and the police be able to figure out who is trying to kill him before it’s too late?
Dahlia Donovan’s new novel, Cosplay Killers, is out and it is brilliant. A riveting tale of murder and mayhem, the story brings together a few other characters from another published mystery, Poisoned Primrose, and introduces a few new ones like Dannell and Ossie. A routine call to a major accident has left Ossie a bit shell shocked and just gutted over the fact that he could not save the woman they were transporting from the scene. Her husband has since been appearing not only at Ossie’s home, but also at the police station trying to get Ossie convicted of murder. The man is obviously overwhelmed with his grief, but the novel asks if that grief has turned to something much more malevolent.
Alongside this situation is Dannel’s own issue with the building stress over his job as a firefighter. The noise, crowds, etc. can be more difficult with his autism, making him needful of hibernating, listening to show tunes, and decompressing. It is lovely to read how Ossie knows just what Dannel needs the moment he is home and supports him as gently as possible. I love how these two are together; it is marvelous to see their relationship so stable and supportive. Ossie never has a moment where he thinks Dannel can’t handle his life, but instead knows when to push his partner and when to back off and let him ruminate over things.
The mystery element of this book is quite good, with many people ending up as potential suspects and it’s not really until near the end of the story that we find out just who is involved. The novel just flew by for me, perhaps because I love a good mystery, but there is no denying that Donovan creates compelling characters who get under your skin mighty quickly.
“Next time you run off on an adventure…take me with you.”
And with that line, my heart, which had already been captured by both main characters in this novel, completely melted. I cannot express just how much I admire author Dahlia Donovan for creating men who are genuinely in love, in total accord with one another, and who look out after each other through every circumstance. I also am in awe of how this writer once again makes a person with autism and OCD tendencies feel genuine and realistic. Dannel is not perfect, but he is oh so human and I must say, having formerly taught autistic students, this is as close as you get to that adage, “if you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person,” meaning they all present as individuals with their own specific foibles, just as they should. I just adore Dannel and Ossie together; they are just so stinking in love and marvelous.
I highly recommend Dahlia Donovan’s, Cosplay Killer, and sincerely hope this is the beginning of a new series. I will be waiting with bated breath to see if there are future installments highlighting this fantastic crew of characters.