Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

An Unnatural Vice

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

An Unnatural Vice (2017) K.J. Charles

Set in London in 1873

This book follows–and in some cases overlaps–An Unseen AttractionClem’s brother is dead, his heir has been made a bastard, and now Clem’s friends are trying to keep Clem’s cousin from throwing him out of his home by searching for another possible heir–the children on the first wife.

Justin Lazarus is known as The Seer of London, and plies his craft with skill and cunning, caring only about the few under his direct care, and more than willing to take money from the rich and willing.

Justin used innuendo and throaty moans in the same way he used stolen information and a fanatical level of planning: as weapons.

Nathaniel Roy, a crusading journalist, had been to see one of London’s leading spiritualists in an attempt to prove fraud. He hates spiritualists and would like nothing better to prove Justin a fraud, but when Justin comes to him with a lead on the possible heir, he determines he has to work with him, if only to save Clem’s home and living.

For a man to set himself up as a false prophet and lay claim to more than mortal powers struck Nathaniel as profoundly blasphemous, even though he believed in neither prophets nor powers.

The first thing I particularly liked about this story was Nathaniel’s past: he’d had a partner and love, but after that mand’s death Nathaniel was left to struggle with his grief, having to hide it from all but his closest friends. How impossible that must have been for so many men, to never be able to show their true feelings of the loss of their loves–to have to hide such a loss from the world.

The second thing I liked was that although Nathaniel despised what Justin did, I found it easy to sympathize with Justin, who worked his way up from nothing and took from the wealthy without a second thought. I understood why Nathaniel was opposed to Justin’s trade, playing on grief and despair was it did, but Justin is pragmatic and we see his does look out for those in his care, making him as good a man as Nathaniel.

It was a couple of decades since he’d slept on the street and five years since he’d been able to afford a bedroom of his own, yet he swam back to consciousness with a sense of incredulous relief every morning. No lice, no noise, no hands on his body, no dirty floor or sacking scraping his skin. Nobody whose approach he need fear, and nobody whose absence he need fear, either.

The third thing was the mystery. Clem still isn’t out of danger, but he also isn’t out on the streets. And there are still people being murdered for the sake or the Earldom.

Plus Clem really is lovely.

“For heaven’s sake!” Clem slapped the table, making Rowley jump. “These are my niece and nephew! Edmund’s children, his legitimate children, running away from home and their mother to God knows what, and Repentance is the earl— and that poor girl, poor Emmeline, she was sixteen years old, on her own, miles from home, with child, and this—”

Rowley put a hand on his forearm. Clem put his own hand over it. “It’s not right. What Edmund did, what they all did. All of them, from my father on. Using people and not giving a damn for the consequences. It’s so greedy.”

It’s a fun series, and although there is a LOT of boinking, I really like the mystery AND the characters.
Rating: 8/10

Publisher: Loveswept

Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, LGBT, Mystery, Romance, Sexual Content     Comments (0)    

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