(Whyborne & Griffin, #1)

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?

“I seldom ate out, both for reasons of economy and because I feared someone might try to speak to me.”

I've definitely had an interest in these historical M/M romance stories as of late. This story seemed perfect and - in ways - was. You have two great heroes of the story coming together over a paranormal force they have to solve together.

Story-wise, there's a strong mystery with a semi-surprising ending that's far reaching. It's solved through both brain and brawn as the fumbling and awkward Percival uncovers a secret language code and uses his wits to solve a mystery that relies on ancient code. Detective Griffin uses his connections with the seedier parts of town and his strength as a private investigator. Their blend of techniques works well to find out who the big bad is behind the bad.

Oh, and Christine was a little cliche but such fun.

Plenty of tense scenes and tight moments when the characters seemed trapped and face creatively invented monsters. Violence and gore isn't held back from the book, loaning realism. Some creepy monsters crawling around, but they stay in the background behind the real enemy.

Romance wise, it's ridiculously sweet for the first part. Loved both characters. Shy and awkward Percival was impossible to resist as he was besmitten by the confident newcomer. He doesn't get appreciation at work and is used to being the brunt of jokes, his family life sucks, and he prefers being alone over anything else. He wins in the hero factor, while Griffin started out strong for me but started weakening. He began to get a little whiny for my tastes and weak-willed. Their relationship started depending too much on too many sex scenes and this dampered my enthusiasm.

Dialogue is charming, a lot of times funny, fitting naturally. Just the right amount of humor added a fun touch.

Overall it's a good start to the series and I'll definitely check out the others sometime soon. The build up for the main mystery was a little slow, but that was when the relationship stood at its strongest. Later the story improved but the relationship faltered some. Guess everything can't be perfect at once.

   Book Quotes:

“I craved him, like an opium addict craved the pipe: the sound of his voice, the touch of his hand, his mere presence in the same room.” 

“Christine seems more the type to shoot you in the chest than stab you in the back.” 

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