11 October 2014

Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

Some things should stay buried.

Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.

So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.

As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?

At first glance, this book isn’t my normal genre. The cover gave me a rather steampunk feel and with the timeframe of the late 1800s isn’t usually a book I would go for. That said, this has to be one of the best m/m books I’ve read – and I love and read m/m books all the time.
Jordan L. Hawk has created an intriguing world, a world of the 1890s where homosexuality is definitely illegal. Included is the town of Widdershins, a quaint little seaside town in Massechussetts, where unfortunately a rather high percentage of ghouls and other unworldly creatures come to call. Add in the delightful characters of Percival Endicott Whyborne and Griffin Flaherty and I would give the book one word: Enchanting.
Whyborne (as he prefers to be called) lives a boring, if complacent, life as a shy philologist at the town museum, a monolith that seems to have a multitude of tunnels and unknown chambers. Content to live a half-life, everything is thrown upside down when he is called upon to help Griffin with an investigation. Griffin, a man who is trying rebuild his life after horrors nobody should ever have to face, charms Whyborne and in no time the two are embroiled in a case that just might be the death of them both.
Ghouls, creatures who are half one thing and half another, and an evil cult bent on world domination are just a few of the fun parts of this book. Add in Whyborne’s friend Dr. Christine Putnum, who is trying to make it as a woman in a man’s world as an archeologist; a rousing cast of characters that jump out of the book at you; and a few run-ins with a reanimated corpse and you have a book you won’t want to put down. When you figure in the exciting climax, well, I cannot suggest Widdershins firmly enough. Widdershins is definitely worth a read, even if it does make you leave the light on all night the first time you read it. The next time you read it, you should be fine. *grins*
And for those who want to know about the erotic side? Two thumbs up, ladies and gentlemen. Our two heroes don’t just jump into bed. It’s a nice slow build of sexual tension until they just can’t keep their hands…and other things…off one another.
Addendum: The audiobook of Widdershins
Narrator: Julian G. Simmons
When I first listened to the audiobook, I had read Widdershins several times. I wasn’t sure I liked the narrator’s voice. It seemed so halting. And then it hit me – of course, it’s halting. The book is from Whyborne’s POV and he’s always slightly nervous and shy. By chapter two, I was spellbound and still have it on my mp3 player. Definitely a nice add-in once you have the book.  


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