Last Book I fell in Love With…Fatal Shadows

March 22, 2011

Loving the Imperfect Hero by Ellis Carrington

I want to thank Julia for giving me the opportunity to guest blog. Her request for an article about the last book I fell in love with immediately brought Josh Lanyon to mind, and Fatal Shadows, book one of his fantastic Adrien English series.

Okay, true confession time: I, a married mom of two, am in love with a gay man. Now if my husband were reading this over my shoulder, he would double over in laughter at that statement. “Not just one, “ he’d scoff while holding his sides. “Is this about Adam Lambert again?”

Actually, no.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I adore Adam from his glittery hair to his pedicured toes – but this is something a little more complicated. I’m in love with a FICTIONAL gay man. That’s right. His name is Adrien English.

Created by the great and mystical Josh Lanyon, Adrien doesn’t exist in real life, and even if he did I would have no hope of pleasing him whatsoever. If you’re scratching your head and saying “Who?” don’t feel bad – go ahead and pop over to Amazon and do a search. We’ll wait here while you download Fatal Shadows to your computer or mobile device of choice…


Now, I know that I am not alone here. All over the interweb I have encountered men and women who love Lanyon’s work in general (he is probably a far better writer on his worst day than I can conceive of being on my best) and Adrien English specifically. I’m thinking about starting a local support group (“Hi, my name is Ellis, and I’m in love with Adrien English…”). We might even have t-shirts printed (“I fell in love with Adrien English and all I got was a hefty Amazon.com invoice and this lousy t-shirt.”).

*ahem* Anyhoo…

For me, Adrien English is the perfect hero. He’s not a Navy SEAL, a werewolf warrior, or any other version of stereotypical beefcake-y-Alpha-maleness (What?? It is TOO a word.) . He’s a bookseller with a heart condition and a Miss Marple-ish tendency to nose around where he shouldn’t. But he’s refreshingly self-actualized. He’s confident and unapologetic about who he is, but his feelings get hurt sometimes. He seems pragmatic, but he’s a novelist so we know he’s imaginative. Not only is he well-off, but he’s humble about it. Sure, he knows how to shoot stuff, but probably wouldn’t. He’s wicked smart. Caring. Oh, yeah, and he loves his mom. The whole package that is Adrien is just sooo darned sexy.

I can still recall precise moment when I knew he had me for sure: There’s a scene in Fatal Shadows where he chooses to have sex with a homicidal maniac who he knows will probably try to kill him. It isn’t clear that doing so will save him, nor does he know for sure if help is coming. And despite the overwhelming horror and fear, his body still responds to this madman. He manages to feel for the horrible history that turned the villain into what he had become, even as he fights not to cry out in pain.

Hands down, it is the bravest moment I have witnessed from any hero in any novel I have ever read, and it is why Adrien English is the hero against which I will compare all others.

I’m told there is a trend back towards the flawless he-man type hero lately. Why on earth?? In my very humble and totally inexpert opinion, flaws are necessary to make a hero truly great. Without them, as Robert McKee says, your character is as flat as a table top.

So, in sum, the last book I really fell in love with Fatal Shadows, by Josh Lanyon. All because of Adrien. Interested? You can find out more at Josh’s web site.

All right! I’ve shown you mine, will you show me yours? Get your mind out of the gutter, I meant your hero. Who’s *your* favorite, and why?

Ellis Carrington is a woman who loves men who love men (who love men!) and has been since she stole a copy of The New Joy of Gay Sex from her local library as a teenager. Learn more at her blog, Manlove Paranormal. Please also check out her latest short story, an erotic M/M/M about new beginnings for a college football quarterback in the Ravenous Romance erotic anthology, Touchdowns.

Julia: And one lucky commenter can win a free copy! So get commenting. Right now. *stern mummy face*




  1. I’ve never read a m/m/m before. I’ve only read semi-hot m/m and lots of m/f/m. It would be nice to find something different to read.

    • Well, in my personal opinion, it doesn’t get hotter than M/M/M (I guess that’s why I write it!!).

      Thanks for stopping by!
      — Ellis

  2. I also am in love with Adrien… for many of the same reasons! I like a flawed hero, whatever his shape or size, as long as it’s a human flaw. (One of my favorites: Wayne Knight as Don in 3rd Rock From the Sun–not, perhaps, for everyone, but I can’t help having a soft spot for him.)

    Plus, the anthology looks fun! I don’t get football at all, but that’s ok–the scenery’s worth it…*snicker* (Yeah, yeah, I know…so I’m shallow, too.)

    • If I said I mostly watched the rugby for the scenery…I’d be telling the truth 😀

    • Thanks, Tracy!! You will be first on the list when I get around to having those t-shirts made. 😉 I’ll be honest, hard as I try I don’t get football either. Or really any sport. But I live with 4 guys, so I am exposed to a lot of it, and as you say the scenery is wonderful. 🙂

      — Ellis

    • Tracy, your name was drawn for the ebook – please email me at elliscarrington @ gmail . com so I know where to send it!

  3. What a very nice essay to wake up to — thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ellis!

    The only alarming thing was the suggestion that “perfect” heroes are making a comeback. Are they? It seems like such an unsophisticated notion. I feel certain romance readers are way smarter than that.

    • Josh, thank you so much for stopping by. I’m so pleased that you liked the article. I don’t claim to have my finger on the pulse of the industry, but I have heard through the grapevine that there’s more of a trend towards the stereotypical alpha in M/M romance. Perhaps because so many women read the genre, and there’s an erroneous notion that women prefer that type of hero? I recall seeing a criticism of Ally Blue a year or so ago – the individual writing the critique didn’t like her tendency toward “twinkie” protagonists. Personally, I like the diversity in her heroes.

      I think you’re right – romance readers are smarter than that. Sexy comes in all shapes and sizes, after all. 🙂

  4. I read a LOT of M/M romance (I have one kindle dedicated to m/m smexy stuff!) I love the chance to add to my already enormous collection! 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by! I will announce the winner tomorrow morning (eastern standard time in the morning)!

  5. Mmmmm… rugby…
    Ah, but my favorite hero? I have to admit, Luke Skywalker comes to mind first! Virginal and perfect (except for the young impetuosity, which he outgrows) But, now, as a grown woman, I’m not sure that has the same appeal. The second that comes to mind is “Ironman”. He has plenty of flaws, and he admitted he wanted the attention of having the whole world know he was a superhero. I think maybe my true hero would be Val Kilmer’s portrayal of “The Saint”, who was sexy, smart, and altruistic, as well as flawed.
    I just got feedback from a friend who read my rough draft of a SyFy Romance about group marriage. In particular, she mentioned that the relationship between the men seemed undeveloped, and I had to admit she was right! I’m a wife and mother and I have nothing in my own experience to draw from. So… time to read more and be inspired!

    • You’ve certainly given me a new way of thinking about Luke Skywalker, and your romance sounds very interesting!

  6. I, too, am a married mom who is in love with Adrien (with an *e*). Five times I read through the night to finish each new installment, first because the sensible are sleeping at 1:00 a.m. on a Tuesday and won’t interrupt me, and second because I couldn’t stop clicking ‘next page’! My love for Adrien is closely seconded by my adoration for Jake.

    I really like the idea of a support group. Is there another medium to discuss my unrequited love for a gay man who lives in my Kindle? (Without pharmaceuticals being prescribed?) He’s real, I tell you!

    Great article!

    • Thank you so much! I’m KNEW I wasn’t the only female Adrien lover out there. And yes, I love Jake too – but if I had to choose? No contest.

  7. I also am an Adrien lover! As I posted on another forum I think Josh creates very realistic characters that you want to know. I find after reading one of Josh’s books that it is hard to start another for a while as I am still connected to the characters from my most recent read.

    • You’re so right – all of his characters are amazing. You can’t help but become attached. 🙂

  8. Josh Lanyon is one of my favorite writers. I love Adrien. I also love the books of K.A. Mitchell and Joey in Collision Course. Also, I love Reid Spencer in the TV show Criminal Minds the super smart factor really does it for me!!

    • Oh, I am with you all the way – I love Joey and Reid as well. Nothing like a super smart guy with a perky backside. 😉

  9. Adrien (with an e) was perhaps the first gay man I fell in love with. How can you fix on one favorite, though? If I’m not enthralled by the hero I’m reading about right now, I’m wasting my very limited reading time!

  10. I’m with you – I manage to fall for them all, at least a little. But Adrien is special to me, I feel a little something more for him than all the other heroes I’ve read, and I just can’t deny it. 😉

  11. Thanks again to everyone who stopped by – I REALLY appreciated all of the responses, and I’m grateful to see that I’m not alone in my love of Adrien English. 🙂

    Okay, there were two Tracys. the one who commented at 4:19 pm per the timestamp on the comment is the one whose name was drawn. Please email me at elliscarrington @ gmail . com so that I can send you the story.

    Thanks again, to Julia for having me!!
    — Ellis

  12. Thanks for the post Ellis. And congrats to Tracy!

  13. […] also blogged for Julia Knight last week about her favorite mystery series – The Adrien English series by Josh Lanyon and was […]

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