• Madison Square Murders

  • Memento Mori, Book 1
  • By: C.S. Poe
  • Narrated by: Kale Williams
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (188 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Everett Larkin works for the Cold Case Squad: an elite - if understaffed and overworked - group of detectives who solve the forgotten deaths of New York City. Larkin is different from others, but his deduction skills are unmatched and his memory for minute details is unparalleled. 

So when a spring thunderstorm uproots a tree in Madison Square Park, unearthing a crate with human remains inside, the best Cold Case detective is assigned the job. And when a death mask, like those prominent during the Victorian era, is found with the body, Larkin requests assistance from the Forensic Artists Unit and receives it in the form of Detective Ira Doyle, his polar opposite in every way. 

Factual reasoning and facial reconstruction put Larkin and Doyle on a trail of old homicide cases and a murderer obsessed with casting his victims’ likeness in death. Include some unapologetic flirting from Doyle, and this case just may end up killing Everett Larkin.

©2021 C.S. Poe (P)2021 C.S. Poe

What listeners say about Madison Square Murders

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Murder Mystery

Good murder mystery. I really liked both MCs. It its definitely a slow burn for the romance, but appears to be first in a series so We should get more of them.
What I did not care for is that one MC is married. I think the author was trying to make the spouse Noah unlikeable, but he really wasn't. He just seemed to be trying to get Larkins attention. Larkin has pulled away from the marriage by the time the book starts, but Noah does seem to be fighting for it. Larkin takes all these attempts as annoying or as Noah not understanding him. I didn't see it that way, it felt more like Noah was struggling to feel important to a husband that was not able to give him attention at all. I would have much preferred the MC was not married or that the marriage had already ended before the book started. Instead I felt bad for Noah and it did feel like cheating which I hate, and which wasn't made clear in the blurb.

The narrator was great and the murder mystery was as well. Doyle the other MC was also a great character.

6 people found this helpful

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I need book 2 now

I love a great murder mystery with slow burn romance. This book was like Law & Order: Criminal Intent but with two m/m instead of m/f. The chemistry between Evie and Ira is through the roof thanks to the well written story and the phenomenal narration by Kale Williams. LOVED IT

4 people found this helpful

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Larkin & Doyle are my new favorites!

My heart alternately breaks and beats with joy for Larkin. Due to the immediacy of memory, he is a uniquely steadfast and compassionate character. His "condition" provides a unique perspective and makes him an excellent detective, even as it denies him the easing of grief over time. Doyle's natural interaction and acceptance of Larkin, just let these two fit together. Add in an really engaging mystery and this was one of my favorite reads, and now listens, of the year! Kale Williams provides an excellent performance, and made this an audio I will definitely re-listen to.

4 people found this helpful

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Great mystery and lovable characters, and I would recommend to any lover of gay fiction

The best thing that I enjoyed about this story was the relationship between characters, mainly the relationship shared between the two main protagonists, but there are dynamics all over the place that make this such an enjoyable read.

Larkin and Doyle are opposites attracting kind of couple, but the author builds them in a way that makes their dovetailing believable without falling into the tired bickering but falls in love tropes.

Both protagonists are also really easy to like, and you be can’t ask for more other than a plot that unfolds smartly And with forethought. There are characters here that are entirely unlikeable, and they are so by design. Be aware the F-bomb slur does get dropped by a homophobic character or two, and while this listener is used to it by now, it is still jarring to hear.

There was an ear to itch; we navigated some of the characters less likable. Having one of the more unsavory assholes turn into more of a Frenemy felt very satisfying.

I typically like to listen to gay fiction because I enjoy a little bit of romance, a lot of good storytelling, and maybe just a little bit of smut and a happily ever after. The mystery in this book unfolded in just the right order and then just the right ways to make the story enjoyable more than I thought it would be.

Be warned if you are looking for the happily ever after, you might feel a little edged with this book as it seems to be the first in a series, and the relationship between the protagonist develops as a slow burn. I usually can’t stand those because they are either done too poorly, or my impatience won’t allow me to. in every case here, I have made an ex exception to Madison Square Murders.

Finally, I would like to extend a huge thank you to the narrator for being just the right amount of performance balanced with just the right amount of narration. It doesn’t hurt that his voice is smoking hot either. Haha.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

One of the best murder/mysteries I've listened to! The writing was great, characters memorable and the mystery kept me guessing to the end. Doyle and Larkin are an excellent pairing. I can't wait to read (hear) more about them.
Kale Williams is perfect for this story! He captured Larkin's tone/affect (almost flat) and Doyle's friendlier, smokier voice perfectly. He sets the overall tone of the story, almost film-noir like in the best if ways.
Honestly, no shade to Ms. Poe, but this is the best way to enjoy her excellent story!!

2 people found this helpful

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ok so

i did not realize that cheating was a part of the book, it is not mentioned in the blurb, which is annoying .

other then that it is decent. but Kale did an amazing job.

2 people found this helpful

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One of the best audios I've heard

Imagine having the exceptionally rare ability to spontaneously recall in detail with great accuracy personal events or experiences and their associated dates. Imagine being constantly, unconsciously, triggered to link dates with events, including news stories or minute details like sounds made, clothes worn or foods eaten. Imagine not just replaying, but reliving those events with all of their attendant emotions. Not surprisingly, anxiety and depression are constant companions for individuals with this rare ability, and frustration at forgetting important present events and details because of the unavoidable dwelling on the past chips away at self-esteem.

The protagonist of C.S. Poe’s inspired, engrossing mystery romance Madison Square Murders, the first book in Poe’s Memento Mori series, is Everett Larkin, one of those rare gifted/cursed individuals with total recall. His natural intelligence and analytical abilities paired with his superior memory make him a formidable, exceptional cold case detective. It also makes him “other” – considered “weird” or “a freak”, his eccentric, unusual tendencies keep him apart from society and fray what few relationships he is able to establish.

This series features a continuing storyline following Everett and his partner, forensic artist Ira Doyle, as they seek to unravel the brutal murders perpetrated by a serial killer who creates a memento mori – an object that is a remembrance of death – of his victims. At the same time, Everett and Doyle grapple with the non-platonic feelings arising from the developing bond between them. Neither the storyline nor the relationship are given closure at the end of Madison Square Murders. While there are no cliffhangers, there is a plot that builds so you’ll need to read the series books in order.

Everett is perhaps the most unlikely hero you’ll encounter. He’s a hero because he remembers all of the victims. Because he remembers, they existed, and their deaths have meaning. But the toll it takes on Everett is staggering. Through deeply moving, heart-wrenching scenes of his psychological suffering, Poe depicts how Everett’s “gift” of never forgetting is killing him. Everett’s flat affect, lack of social skills, and seeming lack of feeling belie an exceptionally caring, empathetic individual.

Doyle is the first person Everett has met who understands the importance of memories. More importantly, he understands loss and living with horror. He is the perfect counterpart to Everett, knowing what he feels almost like a mind-reader and knowing without being told how to help him. Everett desperately wants to be known, but no one wants to know. They don’t want to know how he is, what he thinks, how he is dying … He’s very much alone in every aspect of his life, including his crumbling marriage. But, Doyle sees him and wants to know him. With Doyle at his side, Everett is not alone.

Poe enraptures us in this profoundly complex, superbly written story full of emotionally charged chemistry and attraction between two fascinating men. It is a superbly crafted, riveting mystery romance. But even more remarkable is the astounding vocal performance of Kale Williams on the Madison Square Murders audiobook.

I am a huge fan of Williams. His talent is evident, and his performances are superb across-the-board. However, this is the first time I’ve heard him perform a tense, tightly woven story with deep emotional exploration and a conspicuous absence of humor, lightness and sexy physical scenes. Madison Square Murders contains raw, gritty, dark content centered on a dysfunctional, idiosyncratic main character as the story’s linchpin. It’s a departure from what I’m used to hearing from Williams, so his astounding performance on this audiobook is enlightening, although not surprising.

Williams’ audio portrayal of Poe’s gripping story is devastating in its execution. He fully inhabits these characters and it’s obvious that he “gets” them. The linchpin in this story is Everett and Williams becomes him. His voice is smoky and enveloping with a roundness to the tone that has depth and pulls you in. He faithfully delivers Everett’s flat, toneless voice with a consistent lack of intonation, except in the scant few places where Everett is so affected by something that it causes him to inflect his voice. Then Williams modulates his voice to match.

Williams is able to convey Everett’s struggle, and his pain becomes ours. Conveying attitude, reaction, and depth of emotion is no easy task when there’s no variation in the tone of voice, yet Williams gives a master class in how it’s done. Most notable here is Williams’ use of pacing to convey Poe’s intent. When Everett begins to spiral as he falls into an association that triggers reliving an unwelcome memory, his words start to run together, increasing in speed like a snowball going downhill. Williams engages with that pacing as he accelerates his delivery, dropping pauses and punctuation, and instead, running the lines together to reflect Everett’s increasingly manic thought process. Williams also infuses dynamics like increased emphasis or volume as Everett becomes more frantic and desperate, yet always maintaining Everett’s flat affect.

Williams’ performance is intuitive, expressive, and completely plugged-in to the characters and their journeys relative to each other and as part of Poe’s greater complex, twisty turny mystery. This is an unforgettable Kale Williams vocal coup de maître. Madison Square Murders is one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to, and hands-down the best I’ve heard this year. I give it my highest recommendation.

1 person found this helpful

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absolutely gorgeous listening experience

Listening to this book made me feel... decadent. Kale Williams's voice, and his understanding of the characters, it felt like being dipped in a warm bath. I typically listen to books while driving and this audiobook made me want to find more places to go. at times the way the narrator reads the author's words is so clear that you forget that you are listening to a story and not watching it. could not recommend more strongly. A++
5 stars.

1 person found this helpful

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Another great Poe book

This author does an amazing job with her mysteries. The research, details and historical factors are fantastic. The characters are always so interesting, and this one is no different. Larkin is quite the character, hated by many but still the best cold case detective. Little cliff hanger but still a somewhat satisfying ending. Kale Williams did a great job. I always enjoy his narration.

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Interesting Mystery Great MCs

This is a story I will listen to more than once. Excellent performance by narrator. My only personal complaint was with the caricature of every other detective besides the MC. I cringed with every nasty insult and nickname these supposed professionals used. It is hard to believe this would be tolerated.

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  • C M Silver
  • 12-29-21

Perfectly drawn

Excellent start to this series. Like Jordan Castillo Price's PsyCop meets Josh Lanyon's Adrien English. The perfect narration gives each MC a voice, which fleshes out this modern day cop drama so well; such interesting intrigue. Their individual skills contrast sharply with their home lives. A TREAT

2 people found this helpful

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  • Belinda Zamora
  • 12-22-21

Amazing new series

I am a fanatic of police procedurals when done properly and the author blew my expectations out of the water with this one.
Larkin and Doyle were such polar opposites who absolutely should not work together in any form and yet the author has written them so well that they are perfectly imperfect together.
The mystery had me on the edge of my seat throughout and I was pleasantly surprised by the resolution.
Kale Williams did an amazing job of bringing these characters to life so vividly and vibrantly.
The book ends on a HFN which is absolutely perfect because I absolutely cannot wait for more from this series and these characters.

2 people found this helpful

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  • ddTiel
  • 03-06-22

Detective Weirdo and his Perfect Other Half

I'm a bit tired of the "weird one" who's misunderstood by everyone running into his perfect man who just gets it all, however, but despite this book having those types of characters, it's just too darn charming to dismiss. The MC is the right balance of quirky and assholeish that it doesn't make you roll your eyes at what a pwecious snowflake he is. He's got his issues and is struggling with them but he's doing his best. You just naturally want him to be better and be treated better. The relationship is on the slower side but it's a joy to watch evolve and each moment the boys interact and talk is noteworthy and heartwarming. No steam but compared to some meet-fucks, it's a nice change of pace.

The mystery component is well balanced with the relationship and has a few surprising twists and turns, and drops hints all over the place that I only spotted on subsequent re-listens.

The side cast is your standard cop show clique, but each individual brings their own little quirks that bring humour into the story. I'm looking forward to seeing some of them return in the next part, which I can't wait to listen to.

As for the reader, that was the best deadpan delivery I've ever heard and on the flip side, when it's time for warmth and tenderness, he hits it out of the park as well. I'm looking forward to hearing more of Evi n Ira soon.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ines C.
  • 12-28-21

Amazing

My god this was so good. I need book 2 right now please!!! Can’t wait to see where this story goes and the mystery got me hooked

1 person found this helpful

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  • Becky L
  • 06-15-22

Brilliant story, brilliant performance

I have read the book but the performance was just something else. KW encapsulated Larkin perfectly, in exactly the style I had in my own head, and Doyle was sublime.

I can’t believe both author and narrator are new to me, but will certainly not be the last I seek out of them.

Brilliant listen.

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  • Mrs. E. J. Curtis
  • 01-28-22

Enjoyable Story

The concept is interesting and well written. The characters are likeable and the narration is good.

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  • Kazza - On Top Down Under/Dark Hints Book Reviews
  • 08-17-22

Got Me Out Of A Reading Slump.

Really nice book. I read and listened to Madison Square Murders and it’s thoroughly enjoyable in either version. Kale Williams adds a pitch perfect delivery of Everett and made Doyle supportive in the best possible way.

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