Once the bully and his victim, private investigator Philip Morrison and not-so-private plumber Thomas Paretski are now a couple, much to the shock and indignation of those closest to Tom, unable to forget what Tom went through as a teen and how it all culminated in an accident. If the first in the Plumber’s Mate series had the two former adversaries crossing paths again a dozen years after Tom was struck by a tractor—which was due to his running from Phil and his fellow bullies—this second one shows that they may not actually have undergone the whole honeymoon period of their relationship. They still have issues here and there that they need to address—although one may be more willing or persistent than the other—but that’ll all have to wait when their Tom’s sister falls victim to an unknown and unseen enemy.
Tom and his siblings aren’t exactly close. Maybe it’s the age difference. So, when his sister Cherry gives him a call informing him of the demise of someone who was close to their family—his Auntie Lol, though not related by blood or even familial ties—and that he’s been included in the will, Tom does his due diligence and finds out what was in the will. He wants to abide by his Auntie Lol’s wishes, much to the frustration of his sister, but this reconnection gives them the opening to try and make a go of being in each other’s lives more. When Cherry is poisoned during her engagement party, Tom and Phil need to act quickly and find out who would have wanted to hurt her. Could the suspect be her fiancé or could it be someone she’s crossed in her line of work? Either way, Tom could very well be next on the list of victims.
I liked seeing how Tom and Phil’s relationship has progressed from where we left off in the first book. Nothing is perfectly peachy between the two and it’s clear that there are things Tom wishes he could easily ask Phil but he’s also holding back, unsure of how Phil will react and how it may impact their still young relationship. It was nice delving into more of Tom’s background, especially since his relationship with his two older siblings appears to have been estranged and somewhat strained. There are also two mysteries to be solved in this book: who was trying to hurt Cherry and what was it his Auntie Lol wanted him to find. The first one was a teeny, tiny bit easier (okay, not really) to figure out than the second one, which surprised the heck out of me and had me quickly reaching for book three. 4.5 stars for Relief Valve. ♥
Date Read: 24 July 2016
Learn more about JL Merrow.