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Pressure Head

Pressure Head (Plumber's Mate, #1) - J.L. Merrow

Very solid and enjoyable m/m mystery romance about Tom, a plumber with a special talent for finding what's hidden, whether it's a leaky pipe or a secret stash of porn, or when he's called in by his police friend, a murder victim in a park. Tom didn't ask for his "gift" though, nor is he happy when Phil (former handsome high school bully/now handsome private detective) is asking him to help find out who the murderer is. But things aren't always as they seem, especially when faced with a whole lot of old regrets, underfoot cats, retired porn stars, and a church full of suspects.

Tom's a great narrator for this mystery--a good mix of clever self-deprecating humor, self-awareness, empathy, and just enough cluelessness to be endearing to the reader (and frustrating to Phil, as he watches Tom effortlessly charm ladies and gents with just a smile and a "cheers, love.") Tom's finding talent also offers a nice paranormal twist to the mystery-solving, even if it doesn't always work in his favor.

Tom and Phil had great sexual tension and developing chemistry. The romance is a sloooow burn and this is very much a mystery story along with some yummy romance, but it all still felt satisfying. Also, very interesting side characters, especially Tom's very-gay BFF Gary, who was a riot in whatever scene he was in.

Tom's narration is *very British,* which sometimes meant I didn't always understand the slang, but it was still a blast to read, and his voice felt very down-to-earth and authentic. (This might be my 2nd favorite work by this author, next to the fantastic Muscling Through, another work with a very realized and authentic narrative voice.)

Overall, I thought this was a great mystery (and I couldn't figure things out before Tom did--always a plus), and a nice slow romance. If there was ever a sequel, I would definitely check it out. Recommended.