Title: A Case of Possession
Author: KJ Charles
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Characters: Lucien Crane, Stephen Day
Sub-Genre: Fantasy, Alternate Earth, Adventure/Suspense, Erotic Romance
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 swear I could read Ms. Charles’s writing for days on end, it’s just that good. This Charm of Magpies series is absolutely too effing brilliant to miss. The writing, the world-building, the plot, the pace, the characters–I adore it all. This story is imaginative, strong in every sense of the word, and utterly captivating. I was fully immersed from the first word.
You might want to read the interim free read between this book and the first, The Magpie Lord. The free read is called Interlude With Tattoos, and it sheds some light into the beginning events of this story. The hot sex and hints of what is to come were a welcome bonus.
Crane and Stephen. My new favorite couple. The reason for that isn’t just the blazing hot relationship, but because the men are flawed, vulnerable, and multi-faceted. Crane’s morality isn’t black and white, and while Stephen’s is more so, that doesn’t mean he’s a simplistic character. The author excels in creating wonderful, realistic, fascinating characters I want to know more about. All the side characters here shine, and the Traders club especially is one I’d want to know more about. Seems like its full of original characters, all with colorful backgrounds and even more bizarre, captivating personalities. Nice.
The creative plot is about giant rats. Well, mostly. I don’t want to spoil things but get ready for an adventure and a mystery. The past is prelude, sins never stay buried, and in this intriguing tale those sayings has never been more true. Only justice can lay the ghosts of the past to rest–and if that fails, magic is called for.
Still, despite the giant rats, it’s Crane and Stephen’s relationship that is the focus here. While their homosexual affair is illegal, there’s also Crane’s status as an endless source of power. And then there’s Stephen’s profession to consider, not to mention his expectation that Crane will leave for Shanghai soon. And Crane? Well, his love life has been mostly sex life–until now. Loving has never come easy for him, and Stephen seems to be withdrawing from him already.
Whatever you’re expecting from this tale, forget about it. You will be surprised, there are twists and turns, and everything feels new and wondrous. I can’t get enough. My new literary drug. I want more. No, I crave more. I hope there are new stories to come in this series. Like tomorrow. I can’t wait. Highly, highly recommended.
Reviewed By: Susan