Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Release Day Review: An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities #2) by K.J. Charles

an unnatural viceTitle ~ An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities #2)

Author ~ K.J. Charles

Publisher ~ Loveswept

Published ~ 6th June 2017

Genre ~ Historical M/M Romance





In the sordid streets of Victorian London, unwanted desire flares between two bitter enemies brought together by a deadly secret.
Crusading journalist Nathaniel Roy is determined to expose spiritualists who exploit the grief of bereaved and vulnerable people. First on his list is the so-called Seer of London, Justin Lazarus. Nathaniel expects him to be a cheap, heartless fraud. He doesn’t expect to meet a man with a sinful smile and the eyes of a fallen angel—or that a shameless swindler will spark his desires for the first time in years.
Justin feels no remorse for the lies he spins during his séances. His gullible clients simply bore him. Hostile, disbelieving, utterly irresistible Nathaniel is a fascinating challenge. And as their battle of wills and wits heats up, Justin finds he can’t stop thinking about the man who’s determined to ruin him.
But Justin and Nathaniel are linked by more than their fast-growing obsession with one another. They are both caught up in an aristocratic family’s secrets, and Justin holds information that could be lethal. As killers, fanatics, and fog close in, Nathaniel is the only man Justin can trust—and, perhaps, the only man he could love.


Sally’s Review

So, finally – FINALLY – the next Sins of the City book is available and finally – FINALLY—I can squee about it! Pity poor reviewers who have read ARCs and can't tell anyone because a] spoilers are unforgivable and b] we don't want people to hate us! And when it's a book like this – book 2 of a complex interleaved series, with oodles of plot and characters to die for – the urge to talk it over with someone is almost overwhelming.

So, my review of book one, An Unseen Attraction, is here, but I think a short precis is warranted. Book one is set in a few streets in Clerkenwell that hold lodging houses, small businesses, cheap eateries and pubs including one called the Jack and Knave which is used as an informal club by the local lads and lasses who are of "a lavender persuasion".  It also deals with the misfortunes of Clem, keeper of a lodging house, and his growing affection for his tenant Rowley who plies his trade as a 'preserver' [taxidermist]. It also sets up a scary over-arching plot to do with the peccadilloes of Clem's aristocratic relatives and the horrifying impact they have on Clem's household. THIS book starts as Clem's friend Nathaniel Roy, ex-barrister, now crusading journalist, does his best to overcome his distaste in becoming involved with the tacky and exploitative world of fake spiritualists and mediums who batten upon the bereaved for profit.  It is his misfortune that the medium he decides to expose is Justin Lazarus, "The Seer of London" who arouses strong passions in Nathaniel:

He looked like the sin of angels, like the sweetest fruit in the goblin market, and Nathaniel despised everything about him.

So there are our protagonists – Nathaniel, a deeply moral and upright man, maybe just a tiny bit priggish and complacent who has his comfortable existence disrupted by Justin, an unashamed and amoral rogue who apparently cares only for himself.  Sparks fly is a cliché that doesn't apply in this case – it's December and everything is far too damp—but it doesn't take long for the attraction between them to explode, despite their intentions to keep each other at arms length, with consequences that are devastating for both of them. Who could have guessed that Nathaniel's intention to expose Justin as a fraud would be halted by the discovery that Justin is embroiled in Clem's problems from the previous book? Who could have guessed that London itself and the foggy air they breathe could be both an ally and a terrible danger?

As ever, we are provided lavishly with sharply drawn secondary characters—the tiny maid Sukey was a particular joy—wonderful set pieces of action and some moments of spine chilling tension.  You will also have fun guessing the who and what and why of the plots that are offered, only to be snatched away again as fodder for book three! Then there's the trademark humour that appears in gleams and flashes throughout the book as the characters squabble, snark and banter. 

On first sight, this book is exhilarating enough but it bears reading more than once. Not because it's at all confusing but because there's so much in it to savour. Personally, I can't wait until I'll be able to read all three books – An Unseen Attraction, An Unnatural Vice and An Unsuitable Heir—back to back. I think I'll book a day off on October 3rd!

Purchase Links



an unseen attractionAn Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities #1)

A slow-burning romance and a chilling mystery bind two singular men in the suspenseful first book of a new Victorian series from K. J. Charles.
Lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer prefers a quiet life. He’s happy with his hobbies, his work—and especially with his lodger Rowley Green, who becomes a friend over their long fireside evenings together. If only neat, precise, irresistible Mr. Green were interested in more than friendship...
Rowley just wants to be left alone—at least until he meets Clem, with his odd, charming ways and his glorious eyes. Two quiet men, lodging in the same house, coming to an understanding... it could be perfect. Then the brutally murdered corpse of another lodger is dumped on their doorstep and their peaceful life is shattered.
Now Clem and Rowley find themselves caught up in a mystery, threatened on all sides by violent men, with a deadly London fog closing in on them. If they’re to see their way through, the pair must learn to share their secrets—and their hearts.

Review :: Amazon


Meet K.J. Charles

KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.

Find her on Twitter @kj_charles or on Facebook, join her Facebook group, or get the newsletter here. She is represented by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency, and published by Samhain and Loveswept.



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