Why I read this book: I decided to read this story after seeing all the rave reviews. I admit, I find very few M/M authors have been able to entice me into historical stories, as I have read so many het historicals, that I find myself ‘fact-checking’ by instinct. Yet the paranormal aspect, the new-to-me author, and the cover and blurb combined convinced me to give it a try. I think it helped that it wasn’t pinned down to a particular time in history, so I was able to get lost in the story itself without being tempted to automatic ‘fact-checking’. The fact that there was an audiobook as well won it over for me, since I wanted something I could listen to while going about my daily activities.
Blurb: Some things should stay buried. Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man. So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real. As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?
Publication Date: December 4, 2012
Caution: This is a very graphic story, and more along the lines of a horror with a touch of romance.
Cover: I like the cover because it has a sense of mystery and melancholy that enticed me to see what was inside.
My thoughts: The beginning of this story was a bit of a slow start, but it started giving hints at the mystery that was going to unfold. Every few pages we learned something new: a mysterious cipher needed translating. Whyborne seems to be the only one in the museum with the skill to unravel the code. The book seems to be tied to the murder of a wealthy young man whose body just happens to be found ‘on the seedy side of town’. As the story progresses, we begin to receive glimpses of elements of the occult, an ancient Egyptian curse, and a secret ancient cult that Whyborne has mysterious ties to he didn’t realize he had. There are also many hideous, carnivorous monsters that are very grotesquely described *a shiver runs up my spine as I visualize these horrid creatures!* and much more to be revealed. And this is all experienced successfully through our scholarly MC’s somewhat removed POV.
Along the way we are introduced to the mysterious detective/private investigator Griffin Flaherty, the feisty and loyal Dr. Christine Putnam (she knows how to handle a gun!), a big, fluffy, and ornery cat, and various criminals, prostitutes, arrogant bosses and a charismatic, yet simply horrid old-world gentleman (or should I say ‘creature’?) The story itself was paced in a way that drew me in to the mystery, and I found myself invested in the resolution. At one point I almost couldn’t see how there could be an ending that would be good for all involved, but then there were a few MacGyver moments, and those were done in a way that almost made me chuckle, and at the least grin to myself.
Overall I enjoyed the story and I can see where the future adventures will be fun to get lost in again. As for the narrative quality of the audiobook, I’m sure it’s a matter of personal preference. I hope the chosen narrator relaxes into the characters more, and will be able to differentiate between the voices, and chapter breaks. I feel the youthfulness and detachment of his voice worked well for Whyborne’s character, but I’d like to hear actual passion for each character come through a bit more. Since this is a series, I believe we will get the opportunity to see him grow comfortable with the narrative nuances. I admit, he did start getting better the longer I stuck it out.
I love that this is a good mystery that just happens to have gay protagonists. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys historicals with a touch of adventure, mystery, play acting, and a bit of exciting, AND gory paranormal 🙂 Highly recommended series.
8.5/10 pots of gold
6/10 for Narration
9/10 for Story