Written better than all of my QB™ reads, this is a fun palate-cleanser between more demanding books. Books that I’ve been avoiding, for instance, including finishing Romano’s well-done one on zombies (too long, too end-of-the-world depressing-people), Carter and Lovecraft (too creepy horror), The Light Brigade (too wartime), Indemnity Only (too 1980s sleezy Chicago crime couched in women’s rights). Idk, I really don’t, because I also hate rainbows and kittens.
“This is the drawing room. It probably wouldn’t be so bad without the panelling, or the chairs, and if it was in a different house.”
Anyway, this is fun, fast break from all that. Sure, it opens with an almost-suicide which is a bit of an emotional slap, but we quickly find out that is unusual behavior from our extremely self-confident lead.
“But if I can’t find him through any of the clubs, we can just hang around all the filthiest opium dens in Limehouse till we meet him.”
“See?” said Merrick. “Things are looking up already.”
I burned through this on a lazy Sunday afternoon on the porch, because that’s just about the perfect time and place for a read like this. Great atmosphere with the growing threat of danger, but there’s some snappy dialogue in there to also provide humor. There is an instance or two of questionable relationship behavior, but it’s interesting because the characters call themselves out on it and–this is crazy, here–have a discussion about it. I don’t know what these modern authors are coming to, actually talking out relationship stuff.
“I don’t think anyone is entitled to exploit his fellows because of an accident of birth. You’re an earl, I’m a practitioner, both of us were born this way, and neither of us is entitled to feed off other people because of it.”
Crane considered that. “I’m bloody glad you’re here.”
“Really? Because I wish to God we were both somewhere else.”
Anyway, decent mystery, interesting dynamic duo, very interesting lead characters (including Merrick). I’d read more from this team, and that’s saying something, because I’m not usually a fan of this setting. Highly preferred over something like Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, etc.
Thanks to Nataliya for trying and sharing this gem. I highly recommend her review.