Publication date: January 28 2014
If you liked The Magpie Lord, you’ll love A Case of Possession. But, wait! Before you read it, go download Interlude With Tattoos for free at Smashwords. That lovely little story takes place right after Crane and Stephen come back from Crane’s haunted mansion and gives you some of the motivations behind Stephen’s behavior that you’ll want to know about for this book. The only objectionable thing about the Interlude story is that the sex is fade to black. Really, Charles? Really?!?
A Case of Possession starts 4 months after the events in The Magpie Lord and Interlude. Crane is still in London, though he is planning to go back to Shanghai at some point. Stephen is busy and feelings between the men are unvoiced and unsettled. Then people in London that Crane knew back in Shanghai start to die and Crane gets dragged into the mystery that Stephen is trying to solve.
I am not kidding: The Magpie Lord was very good, but this one is almost perfect. The characterization of the men is richer and deeper, we get to know them better. The secondary characters are mostly wonderful. I know y’all love Merrick like I do and after this book I am sure most of us wouldn’t mind being one of his ‘respectable widows on the go’.
‘Who says?’ demanded Merrick.
‘You always have a respectable widow. You’re irresistible to respectable widows. Try not to let this one stab you.’
‘Oh, fuck off.’
The secondary female characters are a breath of fresh air. Strong, but flawed. Just like real women, fancy that. The only characters I had trouble keeping apart were the men at the club. Probably because they were introduced as a group and that always makes it difficult for me to keep track of who says what and to have that information stick in my brain for later reference in the book.
Not only do we get better characters, we get a better plot. Maybe it’s because it is hard to resist the appeal of giant rats, or maybe it’s because the story is set in London, but I found the mystery in this one more meaty. The dialog is funny and sharp. I would almost say ‘of course’ and maybe for Charles it is ‘of course’, but credit where credit is due. I’ve cringed through too many romance dialogs not to appreciate what she does here. Not sure I am as on board with the romance, but as I said: it’s almost perfect. And the sex in this book is not all fade to black, like in the short story. There isn’t an overabundance of it, just so you know. For me that’s a good thing, because I dislike it when there is more sex than story. And, hello, who has time for blowjobs when one is fighting off hordes of giant rats?
Just like The Magpie Lord this book is priced around $4 and as far as I am concerned there is no better value for your money. This probably isn’t a book that will haunt you in years to come, it’s too light and funny for that, but it’s a joy to read and personally I’d take Crane over Ty and/or Zane any day of the week. (Bring it, bitches!) My expectations for this book were very, very high after reading the first book and I can honestly say it was even better than I’d hoped. If you need a pick-me-up in the dreary month of January, this one should do it for sure.