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.
A 1920s m/m romance trilogy in the spirit of Golden Age pulp fiction.
Thank you very much to KJ Charles for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
SLIPPERY CREATURES IS SET FOR PUBLICATION 13 MAY, 2020.
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“I wonder if you’re a brave man, or a stupid one.”
“Mostly I’m annoyed,” Will said.
KJ Charles’ newest novel is a 1920s romantic spy adventure that I devoured in an evening, as I do all KJ’s books. KJ has written so many fantastic novels and yet each book manages to be fresh and unique and different from the last, completely drawing the reader into the story and wonderful romance.
Will Darling came home from the Great War disillusioned and lost, with a very low opinion of the British government, blind loyalty to authority, and people in power. But when he inherits his uncle’s used bookstore, Will finds himself caught up in a conspiracy involving the War Office, a disgraced, untrustworthy but handsome nobleman, a dead scientist, and a gang of anarchists. But Will isn’t about to let these people walk all over him and demand things from him, and soon he has both the government and a criminal gang pissed off at him …
Will is one of KJ’s most likeable main characters. He is quick to anger, has principles strong enough to shake the government, but has great capacity for love, which keeps blowing up in his face by a certain someone, and is ride or die for those he cares about. On the other hand, Kim, Will”s love interest, is mysterious and untrustworthy, but Will finds himself drawn to the man again and again, even when he shouldn’t be. But, gosh, you can’t help but ship them! Especially when their meet-cute includes Will kicking an anarchist in the balls.
As KJ has said, Will and Kim’s relationship doesn’t end in a HEA in this novel, as their romance is to develop over three books, which I’m ridiculously excited about. When I say these two have trust issues, I’m not exaggerating, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the two men explore their relationship in the following books. But Slippery Creatures has a fantastically satisfying ending, with plenty of scorching hot romantic scenes that also focus on the importance of consent.
I can’t forget to mention the incredible side characters, Maisie and Phoebe. Maisie is Will’s best friend and Phoebe is Kim’s, and I feel too much for these women because they clearly have to raise these two overgrown children — one had to be bullied into asking for help and the other is highly dramatic. If KJ wants to write a novella about these two women, I wouldn’t be adverse. They’re already dating in my head anyway.
Plot wise, Slippery Creatures is a homage to the Golden Age of pulp fiction, but with KJ’s unique spin on it. This is something KJ’s fantastic at: taking an iconic period in literature and stamping it with her signature style, but all still historically accurate. Here it’s a dejected yet decisive hero, a government that is just as evil as the bad guys, and with plenty of plot twists to keep the reader on their toes.
Slippery Creatures is a book you need to read ASAP. It’s a fast-paced adventure with a perpetually annoyed main character, a suspicious love interest, and the great trope of friends to lovers to hate to lovers to tentative friends to … well, we’re going to have to see in the following books.