Tag Archives: K.J. Charles

slippery creatures

Book Review: Slippery Creatures (The Will Darling Adventures #1), by K.J. Charles

I received an ARC of K.J. CharlesSlippery Creatures from the author. I don’t accept a lot of books for review anymore. I simply have too many already. But Charles is one of my favorite authors, so of course, I sought this one out. But with all the shuffling of books and such between the old computer and the new, this almost got lost. That would have been a shame and embarrassing.

Description from Goodreads:

Will Darling came back from the Great War with a few scars, a lot of medals, and no idea what to do next. Inheriting his uncle’s chaotic second-hand bookshop is a blessing…until strange visitors start making threats. First a criminal gang, then the War Office, both telling Will to give them the information they want, or else.

Will has no idea what that information is, and nobody to turn to, until Kim Secretan—charming, cultured, oddly attractive—steps in to offer help. As Kim and Will try to find answers and outrun trouble, mutual desire grows along with the danger.

And then Will discovers the truth about Kim. His identity, his past, his real intentions. Enraged and betrayed, Will never wants to see him again.

But Will possesses knowledge that could cost thousands of lives. Enemies are closing in on him from all sides—and Kim is the only man who can help.


I generally really enjoyed this. I adored Will and Kim, though I don’t felt I knew Kim as well as Will since he wasn’t a POV character. I wondered how the situation would be resolved until the end. The writing was marvelous as always and I look forward to more.

I only have one BIG complaint that keeps this from being rated higher for me. (Sorry this will be vague to avoid too many spoilers.) The synopsis refers to betrayal and I don’t think many will be surprised by it. But afterward, there came a point that Will made a decision I couldn’t accept. It’s not that I didn’t see how he might do it, certainly, Charles painted him into a corner and I could imagine a man doing what he did. But as a reader, I was still angry and didn’t want him to. What’s more, given his and Kim’s last conversation, I wouldn’t have expected a warm human welcome, but a professional one. So, the decision Will made and the action he took (while instrumental to move the plot along) didn’t feel right to me.

All in all, however, I loved this.

The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal

Book Review: The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, by K.J. Charles

I purchased an ebook copy of K.J. CharlesThe Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal and then later bought the audiobook. In the end, I listened to it.

Description from Goodreads:

A story too secret, too terrifying—and too shockingly intimate—for Victorian eyes.

A note to the Editor

Dear Henry,

I have been Simon Feximal’s companion, assistant and chronicler for twenty years now, and during that time my Casebooks of Feximal the Ghost-Hunter have spread the reputation of this most accomplished of ghost-hunters far and wide.

You have asked me often for the tale of our first meeting, and how my association with Feximal came about. I have always declined, because it is a story too private to be truthfully recounted, and a memory too precious to be falsified. But none knows better than I that stories must be told.

So here is it, Henry, a full and accurate account of how I met Simon Feximal, which I shall leave with my solicitor to pass to you after my death.

I dare say it may not be quite what you expect.

Robert Caldwell
September 1914


So good. So So good.

I bought this audiobook some time ago on the strength of being written by K.J. Charles. Then put off listening to it, uncertain if it was actually a series of short stories (a format I’m not overly fond of). As it turns out it is a series of cases, but there is enough of a plot flowing through them that I still consider it one story. And I loved that story! Robert and Simon ae characters I could get behind and the reader could absolutely feel how they became important to one another. But mostly I just adored the narrative style. The way Robert told the story. No doubt part of my love was because Gary Furlong did such a wonderful job bringing it to life. But it was such a good story, to begin with. I really struggled with wanting to listen more and get to the end and listen less so it never actually ended.


Book Review of An Unsuitable Heir (Sins of the Cities #3), by K.J. Charles

I received a copy of a copy of K.J. CharlesAn Unsuitable Heir through Netgalley. I reviewed the first books, An Unseen Attraction and An Unnatural Vice earlier this year.

Description from Goodreads:
On the trail of an aristocrat’s secret son, enquiry agent Mark Braglewicz finds his quarry in a music hall, performing as a trapeze artist with his twin sister. Graceful, beautiful, elusive, and strong, Pen Starling is like nobody Mark’s ever met—and everything he’s ever wanted. But the long-haired acrobat has an earldom and a fortune to claim.

Pen doesn’t want to live as any sort of man, least of all a nobleman. The thought of being wealthy, titled, and always in the public eye is horrifying. He likes his life now—his days on the trapeze, his nights with Mark. And he won’t be pushed into taking a title that would destroy his soul.

But there’s a killer stalking London’s foggy streets, and more lives than just Pen’s are at risk. Mark decides he must force the reluctant heir from music hall to manor house, to save Pen’s neck. Betrayed by the one man he thought he could trust, Pen never wants to see his lover again. But when the killer comes after him, Pen must find a way to forgive—or he might not live long enough for Mark to make amends.

So, Pen is non-binary/gender fluid and Mark is pansexual, in a time when such language didn’t exist. I imagine this last fact made the story a difficult one to write, because I found the lengths to which the characters had to go to describe themselves without the words sometimes didactic and difficult to read. But honestly I really quite enjoyed this conclusion to the series (a series that happily contains more representation of varied identities, bodies types and abilities than the collection of several other authors put together).

I enjoyed it, but it was my least favorite of the three. I don’t mean to be dismissive of Pen’s situation, because it was horrible, but I got tired of his panics. Further, I felt he was frequently stressing over being unable to express his more feminine aspects, with the understanding that he’s sometimes perfectly happy being perceived as male. But I don’t once remember him being satisfied in his more observably male appearance. It felt ill-balanced. And obviously I understand that one of those would have been considered normal and not noteworthy, while the other stress-inducing because it would have been considered deviant. But throughout the whole book he never seemed to have a good body day, which readers were meant to understand he did have sometimes and I’d have liked to see.

I cannot express how much I loved the way Pen and his sister refused to be bullied or bow to the aristocracy, however. Loved it. Further, I think we all deserve a Mark in our lives, someone 100% accepting and willing to have the awkward conversations that eventually make us more comfortable. I adored him. We got brief cameos of all the other characters in the series, which I liked. But the first half of the book is almost entirely recap of the first books or seeing scenes we’ve already witnessed from the point of view of new characters. I found this a tad tedious, but the last half was all new and exciting.

I did see the side pairing and eventual solution to who should become Earl coming very early on, but I didn’t figure out the larger mystery of the murdering mastermind. So, I was held in suspense until the very end and liked it. I found it really quite satisfying in the end.

All in all, I ended the book and this series happy and, as always, look forward to more of Charles’ writing.