Author: KJ Charles
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 06/16/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Paranormal
A story too secret, too terrifying—and too shockingly intimate—for Victorian eyes.
A note to the Editor
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.
This book is a magnificent read and homage to the tradition of Victorian paranormal stories, and their ilk …
I wish I could just let my review be these words, but I will be drummed out of the ‘Reviewers Union’ or some-such thing.
This novel is almost the ‘queering’ of Holmes and Watson however; it reads as a perfect love story between Simon Feximal and his devoted ‘sidekick’ Robert Caldwell.
Robert Caldwell sends the true account of his life with Simon Feximal, famed Victorian ghost-hunter, to an editor –for publication, after Robert’s death. Although this novel is often a light-hearted narrative – it does remind us how sad it is to be the dearly loved partner of someone for many years, but remain invisible. The stories hint at how tragic it is to be constantly aware, of how much you touch someone in public, and never to spontaneously comfort them, as you would wish. Finally, it details the difficulties of living a married life that is unacknowledged.
Being a casebook it is written episodically, but flows so well it reads as one novel. I loved the scary recollections, the paranormal entities Simon, Robert, and occasionally others, fight through the villages and towns of Victorian England. I also loved the story of how these wonderful men became woven inextricably together through these events.
I know some readers will have read a couple of the stories already in short story format – I’m glad I hadn’t because I didn’t know what to expect, which added to my fun.
I have read several KJ Charles’ books before and liked them all – this book I fell in love with. I have been very loath to give out 5* of late, as I had a kind of epiphany regarding ratings. However, I give The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal a resounding 5*.
One last fact I have to mention – the research – I congratulate the author –
There was nothing in this novel that felt anachronistic – no dialogue or phrase that wrenched you from the world of Simon and Robert. The background stories, the clubs, acquaintances mentioned – all authentic, and deliciously atmospheric. I have even been to Winchester Cathedral and seen the Peter des Roches tomb – although I did not know the Butterflies story – shivers – one last quote:
Occasionally, when one looks into the pit, the pit looks back. Sometimes it winks.
Lovely mix of Nietzsche, Poe and pure KJ Charles 😉
This! This was just wonderful!! I want to gush all over the place on how excited I am about this collection of tales chronicling Simon Feximal and Robert Caldwell’s life and their adventures together. It includes the previously published The Caldwell Ghost and Butterflies plus many more stories.
The cases are creepy and spine tingling and oh so engaging. The Victorian setting adds to this feeling and KJ Charles does a masterful work at putting you right there in the action.
I loved how the pair’s feelings grew for one another over time despite the age they were in. I also loved seeing Simon through Robert’s eyes. Robert was a great narrator for the tales and I didn’t miss seeing Simon’s point of view – though I wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to spy Robert through his eyes if Ms. Charles were to put that out there 😉
The ending is a little bittersweet, but hopeful and completely appropriate for these two.
I appreciated the author’s note of where she got her inspiration for many of the cases contained in the book. I want to go look up the supporting stories now. I am also off to read Remnant – a story that has Simon and Robert meeting up with Whybourne and Griffin from Jordan L Hawk’s series. Two of my favourite authors collaborating! Yay!!
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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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