ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Lock Nut by JL Merrow


36168282Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: May 14, 2018
Received From: NetGalley

Still waters run deadly.

Tom Paretski, plumber with a talent for finding hidden things, and his private investigator fiancé Phil Morrison have been hired to locate a runaway husband, Jonathan Parrot. The job seems simple enough—until their quarry turns up dead in a canal, and a photofit of Tom’s face is splashed all over the news, making him chief suspect.

The widow, petite ex–porn star Lilah Lovett, is convinced her husband was killed by his gay lover, but Tom and Phil aren’t so sure. Worried they may have precipitated Jonathan’s death, they’re determined to find the real killer. But with a web of incestuous ties linking the suspects, it’s hard to know who to trust. Especially when a second victim dies a gruesome death.

Meanwhile, with their wedding looming and them sharing a house now, Tom’s worried it may all be too much, too fast. The last thing he needs are the mixed messages Phil seems to be sending out. They’ll need to get back on the same track if they want to make it to their honeymoon together—and alive.


GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: homosexual


TROPES: class disparity, hurt/comfort
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, disabled character, existing relationship
WARNINGS: ableism, suicide, dubious consent mention, cheating, bimisia/panmisia, drowning mention, acemisia, slurs, gendered slurs, misogyny, heightism, fatmisia, homomisia, cissexism/transmisia, pedophilia (mention of an adult kissing a minor), violence, hospitalization, queermisia


I enjoyed this installment of the series a lot more than I did the previous two books.

The mystery within this novel was quite tumultuous and wild, and I was fascinated to what would happen next. And though I eventually figured out the killer before everyone else, there were so many twists and turns that, at some points, you didn’t know who to suspect because it could’ve been any number of them. Merrow did a great job with keeping the reader on their toes with this case.

Also, as with the last book, I enjoyed that we got to see more of Tom and Phil together. For me, the characters and their relationships are what can make or break a novel, so getting to see them interact so much and clearly care about each other, while still struggling to adjust to their lives together, was really great to see. And the wedding at the end was really lovely, especially after all the things they’ve gone through.

One thing I didn’t like, however, was that Tom was essentially shamed into feeling about how he got upset when he found out Phil planned their honeymoon without consulting him. While it was a nice gesture and ends up being something Tom would enjoy, I didn’t think he was in the wrong to be upset that Phil didn’t consult him on something that was for both of them.


JLJL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Connect with JL:


Riptide Publishing
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository


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