Goodreads: Slippery Creatures (The Will Darling Adventures #1)
Publisher: KJC Books
Published: 13 May 2020
Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery
Will Darling came back from the Great War with a few scars, a lot of medals, and no idea what to do next. Inheriting his uncle’s chaotic second-hand bookshop is a blessing…until strange visitors start making threats. First a criminal gang, then the War Office, both telling Will to give them the information they want, or else.
Will has no idea what that information is, and nobody to turn to, until Kim Secretan—charming, cultured, oddly attractive—steps in to offer help. As Kim and Will try to find answers and outrun trouble, mutual desire grows along with the danger.
And then Will discovers the truth about Kim. His identity, his past, his real intentions. Enraged and betrayed, Will never wants to see him again.
But Will possesses knowledge that could cost thousands of lives. Enemies are closing in on him from all sides—and Kim is the only man who can help.
A 1920s m/m romance trilogy in the spirit of Golden Age pulp fiction.
TL;DR: Despite a somewhat slow start, it didn’t take long for me to get hooked into the story! Slippery Creatures has a good balance of mystery and romance and I found myself enjoying both aspects of the story in equal measure. I really enjoyed the author’s writing style and the vernacular and mannerisms of the characters really helped to bring the Golden Era to life. The plot-driven story is full of intrigue and action, but the characters were also wonderful and I adored our MC, Will Darling. I’ve already got the second book lined up and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
This ended up being such a delightful read! It took some time for me to get into it as I found it slow-paced to start and I had a hard time situating myself in the story, however, that probably has more to do with my current reading mood than anything. It was only when we got to about the 30% mark that I really found myself unwilling to put this down and then I sped through to the end.
Slippery Creatures is a well-balanced combination of mystery and romance. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Golden Era (the 1920s) MM romance mixed with an espionage style mystery but it was intriguing, swoony and surprisingly sexy! It’s plot-driven but the characters also have appealing personalities that had me very invested in their relationships, both romantic and platonic. The author’s writing style crackled with wit and I loved that they managed to make me laugh even when the shit was thick and everything seemed to be hitting the fan! The vernacular and mannerisms of the characters really made the era come to life, although I wished that the surrounding (social) setting had been more vivid to really set the stage for the era. That said, I appreciated that there was a strong focus on a country still recovering from The Great War, particularly looking at the human cost of the war back home, which was illustrated through the lens of our main character, Will Darling.
Will was such a fantastic MC and I adored him! He’s a sassy and likeable fella and he’s so easy to empathise with. He came back from the war with not only physical scars but also deeply emotional and mental scars that we only learn about the more we read his thoughts and emotions. It was heartbreaking to know he came home after four years in the trenches to no family, save for an estranged (but kind) uncle, no home, and no job prospects because there were so many others who were also in the same shoes. His fear of and refusal to fall back into poverty is what drives him to sometimes make brash decisions that put him in harm’s way, but also propels him to solve the mystery, with whatever hand he can get, and survive all the enemies! He’s certainly not a perfect character and he does recognise his flaws, but despite it all, it was easy to understand his actions, even if at times I wanted to shake him because he deserved so much better—especially when it came to Kim!
I admit that the romance initially irked me—it was very insta-lust (and that’s fine) but I just didn’t feel their chemistry when they first hooked up! It felt like it happened too quickly, but as we get to know both characters better (though I use that term lightly when it comes to Kim) and we see how bone-achingly lonely Will is, I understood why he kept falling back to Kim despite all the maddening things he does. I honestly am still unsure how I feel about Kim because even though you can see there’s a lot that’s going on under the surface with his dubious past and estranged family, he’s so secretive that it’s almost impossible to understand his motives and why he does what he does. That said, their love-hate/frenemies chemistry became pretty explosive and this got surprisingly steamy (with a few explicit sex scenes). It was absolute fire! 🥵
Aside from Kim and Will, we also meet their two BFFs, Phoebe and Maisie, respectively. We learn much more about Phoebe, a charming and bold Bright Young Thing, but Maisie does play a role in solving the mystery, too. I have a lot of questions that I need answers to but there’s a lot of potential for these characters in this trilogy and I have my fingers crossed that they’ll be done well!
It’d be remiss not to mention the mystery which was very espionage-esque (that’s totally a word). Being pulled from two sides by the War Office and The Zodiacs, a murderous secret society/gang, there was a whole lot of blood-pumping action and the high-intensity stakes kept me on my toes the whole way through! Overall, this was such a fun and unique read that I ended up devouring it in less than a day and I already have the second book lined up to start tonight because I can’t wait to see what happens with these characters next!
Have you read Slippery Creatures or is it on your TBR?