This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance, M/M Romance, Mystery Romance
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on July 21, 2020
WWI is over, the Jazz Age is dawning, and a decorated war hero can be homeless and starving to death on London’s streets if it weren’t for the generous legacy left by a deceased uncle. Too bad the old bookshop he now has comes with a dangerous secret that people will kill to get their hands on it. This opening Will Darling Adventure set post-WWI Britain grabbed my attention and turned out to be even better than anticipated.
Will was a soldier in the trenches who learned he was good at killing and serving many a mad scramble, but it’s peacetime that makes him wonder if his number is up. He couldn’t find a job and was on the point of starvation when an estranged uncle surprised him by leaving him his old bookshop. Will is giving it a go at selling the used and rare books and figuring out running a business when he gets a short parade of shady customers wanting something his uncle had. He’s in no great humor at all the threats from two different groups with one being a snooty war office colonel when a natty lordling offers to help him look for what must be hidden in the shop. Will likes Kim right away and doesn’t think he’s mistaken in the heated looks Kim is throwing his way, but what would an aristocrat want with a rough working guy like him? Is it real or is Kim after the papers, too?
Slippery Creatures was a lusty suspenseful romp. It’s exciting and has some great action scenes, it gets spicy hot when the two men come together, it’s thoughtful as ideologies and other philosphical discussions are explored, and it’s intriguing with more than one plot thread going on and a well-sketched cast of characters introduced.
At the center of it all is the sole narrator, Will Darling. The story has many pivotal parts, but it is his personality, thoughts and actions that drive it all. Will is a down-at-the-heel average bloke on first appearance. He’s not brilliant or posh, but he’s observant and makes his own luck. He’s quite stubborn once he feels he’s got the right of it whether it’s the ethical dilemma about what to do with the secret the shop is hiding, his thoughts on the war he just fought in, or his blazing opinion about Kim’s shady ethics and actions. He gets threatened and beat up, tricked and seduced, but he stays at it. I loved his gumption. He has decided opinions about his supposed betters and those who lead things in the war which lend him a gritty, eyes-open skepticism when people try to tell him what he should do about the secret in the shop. A very fascinating character who was underestimated by everyone.
Around Will is his black Welsh friend, Maisie, who works in a hat shop and is his pal and confidant. Kim’s fiance’ Lady Phoebe who is a fluttery bright young thing and gives him insight into Kim even if he is uneasy about their wide-open engagement. Then there is Lord Kim Secretan. Kim is a very complex person who is more than he seems and does nothing straightforward. He is a love interest for Will, but at times, Will thinks Kim his worst enemy. I do love shades of gray characters like Kim especially when paired with straight arrows like Will. They had a pretty tempestuous relationship that frustrated Will to no end when he’d catch Kim out in one of his lies. There is much about this group that I still think will come out as the series continues and I look forward to seeing if I’m right about some of it that was not revealed by the end of this one.
The era was painted well. The focus was on Will in his dingy working class world where the glam of the Jazz Age barely infiltrates. There are also a few scenes when Will ventures into Kim and Lady Phoebe’s upper class Bright Young Thing life. Historical setting was something of background, but it added to the story nicely.
Cornell Collins was a new to me narrator. He has a great versatility for class and personality with all the distinct voices he acted. Will’s was rough in accent and quality while Kim was the opposite. Maisie’s Welsh voice seemed somewhat sing-song, but he did great with female voice registers for Maisie and Phoebe. I hope he continues to narrate the series.
All in all, my first Will Darling Adventure was a smash hit and I can’t wait to progress with the series. It’s an action-packed, spicy hot m/m historical mystery romance that I can recommend to those who enjoy those elements.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest
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Historical Fiction #75
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