I picked up a copy of Josh Reynolds‘ The Whitechapel Demon from Amazon when it was free.
Description from Goodreads:
Formed during the reign of Elizabeth I, the post of the Royal Occultist was created to safeguard the British Empire against threats occult, otherworldly, infernal and divine.
It is now 1920, and the title and offices have fallen to Charles St. Cyprian. Accompanied by his apprentice Ebe Gallowglass, they defend the battered empire from the forces of darkness.
In the wake of a séance gone wrong, a monstrous killer is summoned from the depths of nightmare by a deadly murder-cult. The entity hunts its prey with inhuman tenacity even as its worshippers stop at nothing to bring the entity into its full power… It’s up to St. Cyprian and Gallowglass to stop the bloodthirsty horror before another notch is added to its gory tally, but will they become the next victims of the horror guised as London’s most famous killer?
I quite enjoyed that, but since it’s a holiday here you get an abbreviated review.
Things I liked:
- Interesting characters
- smooth, humorous dialogue
- two male/female partnerships that didn’t involve romance (that’s possible you know)
- incidental inclusion of LGBT individuals (ok, a gay man, but it’s a start)
Things I didn’t like:
- the villains were too slapstick
- the era-speak and witticisms in the face of danger went over the top
- the evil entity was defeated too easily
- too many easy, throw-away deaths
- needed a tad more editing
I bought a copy of The Nobleman and the Spy, by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon.
Description from Goodreads:
They once faced each other on a battlefield. Now soldier-turned-spy Jonathan Reese must keep watch over the man he’s never forgotten. A close encounter reveals Karl von Binder, the count’s son, also recalls the day he spared Jonathan’s life. Sparks fly between the former enemies and Jonathan begins to lose perspective on his mission. He knows he must maintain distance because the heat he encounters in Karl’s touch stirs him far too deeply for his own good. He can’t keep away–especially when he suspects someone is trying to kill the nobleman.
The spy becomes a protector as Jonathan guards the man he’s begun to care for. Together the men try to puzzle out who would benefit from Karl’s death—and how much they’re willing to trust each other when a torrid sexual fling threatens to become an affair of the heart.
I enjoyed this as a nice bit of erotic fluff. The problem was I didn’t expect it to be erotic fluff, but political intrigue and/or historical romance. As it turned out, the mystery and political machinations were all just decorations for the sex. To me, almost everything that happened happened in order to change the location for a new sex environment. That made the plot feel very shallow indeed. Plus, that first sexual encounter was extremely unbelievable.
What’s more, I felt the relationship was almost instant and moved from lust to love equally as fast. These men were putting their lives in each-other’s hands, over people they’d known for years, based on practically nothing—a passing on a battlefield years earlier. Similarly, while I liked both characters, I didn’t feel I knew them well. I didn’t understand the need for the subtle dom/sub aspect of the relationship. It was wholly non-contextual. And the ending felt rushed. So, while I didn’t dislike it, in fact, I enjoyed the ride, I wasn’t overly impressed.
I picked up a copy of Jordan Reece’s The Seer when it was free on Amazon.
Description from Goodreads
Detective Laeric Scoth is good at his job, but he’s also an ass. And Jesco Currane has just gotten stuck with him on the most frustrating case of their careers.
When the body of a courier is discovered in an alley, Jesco is called in to assist with his seer skills. All he has to do is touch the clothing of the deceased to identify the killer. But the victim has been stripped naked, and the only evidence at the scene is a timepiece. The people he sees within it have nothing to do with the murder, yet they must be related to the case.
Chasing down leads with Scoth lets Jesco see another side of the surly, if handsome, detective. But as their feelings for each other grow heated, so does the investigation. Someone doesn’t want them to know who killed the courier . . . and plans to add them to the death toll if they don’t stop pursuing it.
I really quite enjoyed this. It has a sedate, slightly formal pace but it’s really very sweet. Though it’s more of a mystery with romantic elements than an actual romance. (All the sex scenes are fade to black, for example.)
While none of the characters are deeply sketched, I felt I knew them well enough. I also adored the side characters, Gaven and Tammie especially. I enjoyed the seer mythos, though I would have appreciated a little more information on the world and the existence of psychic abilities. The mystery was sufficiently mysterious and the ending satisfying.
I enjoyed the writing, but it could have done with a tad more editing. It wasn’t bad; there were basically just enough errors for me to notice. But all in all, I call this one a win.