Title ~ Jackdaw
Author ~ KJ Charles
Publisher ~ Samhain Publishing
Published ~ 17th february 2015
Genre ~ M/M Romance, Paranormal, Historical
If you stop running, you fall.
Jonah Pastern is a magician, a liar, a windwalker, a professional thief…and for six months, he was the love of police constable Ben Spenser’s life. Until his betrayal left Ben jailed, ruined, alone, and looking for revenge.
Ben is determined to make Jonah pay. But he can’t seem to forget what they once shared, and Jonah refuses to let him. Soon Ben is entangled in Jonah’s chaotic existence all over again, and they’re running together—from the police, the justiciary, and some dangerous people with a lethal grudge against them.
Threatened on all sides by betrayals, secrets, and the laws of the land, can they find a way to live and love before the past catches up with them?
This story is set in the world of the Charm of Magpies series.
Warning: Contains a policeman who should know better, a thief who may never learn, Victorian morals, heated encounters, and a very annoyed Stephen Day.
I have been SO looking forward to this book because I knew as soon as we met Jonah Pastern in Flight of Magpies (A Charm of Magpies #3) that he was worthy of a story of his own. Bad boy thief and rogue Windwalker, he might have been brought into the story as one of the enemies, but there was never any doubt in my mind that there was far more to him than met the eye and that's why I found myself really taken by him. When I found out there was going to be a spin off featuring Jonah I was really excited and now, having just finished Jackdaw, I'm happy to report the end result was well worth waiting for!
I loved Jonah...but I also loved solid, serious, dependable Ben, the ex policeman who at the beginning is in full on revenge mode! They have a past history that has left a huge score to settle between Ben and the man who first dazzled and charmed him; getting under his skin and turning his well ordered life upside down, but who after some idyllic months together ran out on him when trouble struck, leaving him to take the consequences. Put in gaol for ten weeks ,dishonourable discharged from the police force and branded a sexual deviant in the eyes of his colleagues and family; his life is now ruined so he's determined to find Jonah so he can exact his vengeance. His search brings him into the sights of Stephen Day, Crane, Merrick and his now fiancee Jenny and the rest of the members of the Judiciary, who, after Jonah's previous involvement in the gruesome deaths of four policeman, are also looking to bring him to justice.
When the two do finally meet in a Molly house Ben tracks Jonah to, it's emotionally and sexually explosive! A true love/hate relationship; you can see straight away there's still a palpable connection between these two men, but an extremely hurt and angry Ben won't listen to any explanations his ex lover tries to tell him. He's out for vengeance. However things don't go to plan and unwittingly the two of them end up on the run together when Ben finds out the form of punishment that Jonah would have to undertake if he was imprisoned by the Judiciary. As much as he's convinced himself that he hates Jonah, he can't give him up, which makes them both wanted men. Hunted by the Judiciary and the Met they're forced back into each other's company and through a series of flashbacks and in the now moments, both we and Ben get to see that when it comes to Jonah Pastern, nothing is totally black and white. He's far from an angel, but as they spend time together again, things come to light showing Jonah isn't completely the calculating, self serving, thief and con man that Ben has come to think he is and so starts a cat and mouse chase that begins in the streets of London but ends in the wilds of Cornwall, where Windwalking takes on a new meaning and a new cast of characters and ‘a calm before the storm’ segment, sets up its compelling climax.
Just like always, KJ fills this appealing story with a cast of vibrant, entertaining characters who pull you into the story and keep you totally hooked. There's magic, intrigue, sexy times, excitement, fun, passion, drama and adventure. But underlying it all I'd say this is primarily a love story. As a couple Ben and Jonah are perfect together and at times I found myself really touched by their predicament. I loved watching them rebuild their broken relationship over the course of their adventures together, which considering what drove them apart in the first place was not an easy place to get back too. Jonah is a complex, hard to figure character to begin with. A true anti hero, he is flawed and a self confessed criminal; he does what he has too to survive the life his unusual talents have pushed him into. But there's also an innate goodness in him that separates him from the usual evil factions who generally make up the bad guys, and meeting Ben, it brings that to the surface. It's just unfortunate that his past misdeeds come back to haunt him, setting off the chain of events that drives the story.
If you've been following the Magpie series you'll know that because of his part in the last book, there's no love lost between Stephen and Jonah, but it was still strange seeing the cast who we've come to love in the past, becoming the aggressors. Pitting a sneaky, slippery Jackdaw (Jonah) against a totally focused Magpie (Stephen) was an intriguing turn of events and made for a really interesting change of perspective, as in a way their roles got reversed in this. Rooting for the person who you first met as an antagonist but wanting to "boo hiss" the good guys is an unexpected twist, but it works. I loved how KJ managed that aspect and savored every minute spent reading Jackdaw. If you're a fan of this particular world of hers then I'm pretty sure you will too. If this is the end of the Magpie series and it’s shorts and spin offs, then it's a fitting one to what has been a truly innovative and original concept. Pure magic!