Maybe it’s because I had a thing for magpies when I was a kid, because of a wooden children’s puzzle. Then, when I saw my first magpie at fifteen in England with my dad, I was entranced. Maybe it’s because I’m a magpie myself, professionally – a museum curator whose job it is to collect bright, shiny objects. Hmmm…
Title: A Case of Possession
Author: KJ Charles
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Magic in the blood. Danger in the streets.
A Charm of Magpies, Book 2
Lord Crane has never had a lover quite as elusive as Stephen Day. True, Stephen’s job as justiciar requires secrecy, but the magician’s disappearing act bothers Crane more than it should. When a blackmailer threatens to expose their illicit relationship, Crane knows a smart man would hop the first ship bound for China. But something unexpectedly stops him. His heart.
Stephen has problems of his own. As he investigates a plague of giant rats sweeping London, his sudden increase in power, boosted by his blood-and-sex bond with Crane, is rousing suspicion that he’s turned warlock. With all eyes watching him, the threat of exposure grows. Stephen could lose his friends, his job and his liberty over his relationship with Crane. He’s not sure if he can take that risk much longer. And Crane isn’t sure if he can ask him to.
The rats are closing in, and something has to give…
I was worried that I would like the sequel to “The Magpie Lord” less; in fact I liked it even more. K.J. Charles moves Mr. Day and Lord Crane’s relationship ahead with agonizingly perfect finesse and emotional truth. She introduces yet another fantastic detective problem for them to solve, with its own unique blend of mayhem and magic. And she delves more deeply into the people who form Stephen Day’s essential family: his fellow justiciars, and particularly Esther Gold and her doctor husband Daniel.
But the real reason I have loved both of K.J. Charles’ “Charm of Magpies” books is the writing. In the world of m/m romance, whether fantasy or paranormal or historical or, as here, all three, it is the writing that matters most to me. I love it when I don’t read a book so much as experience it. When Stephen Day and Lucien Crane walk through Limehouse, I’m there with them, seeing and smelling as if through their eyes, ears and noses. When the police inspector interviews Lord Crane regarding a particularly gruesome murder, I’m in the room with them, trying not to chortle out loud at the dry humor of the two men’s banter. When Stephen and Lucien are indulging in passion away from prying eyes, it’s not like watching porn on a computer screen. A good writer makes you one of them, not a creepy voyeur. Take your choice, Stephen or Lucien – but it’s you who experiences the heat and the friction–and the love.
It is hard enough to create a believable historical context in which a gay couple exists outside our modern social liberalism. To add to that a fantasy England in which the practice of magic is an assumption and its practitioners are accepted, if underpaid, participants in the social contract, is no mean feat for a writer. Charles pulls it off brilliantly. Even if she never writes another book about this remarkable pair of Victorian gentlemen, I’ll be satisfied. But truly I hope she does, because they are worth revisiting.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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