A Case of Possession
Title : A Case of Possession
Series : A Charm of Magpies, Book #2
Author : KJ Charles
Publisher : Samhain (BUY IT HERE)
Genre : M/M, Historical, Paranormal
Length : 159 pages
Published : January 28, 2014
Rating : ★★★★1/2
B L U R B :
Magic in the blood. Danger in the streets.
A Charm of Magpies, Book 2
Lord Crane has never had a lover quite as elusive as Stephen Day. True, Stephen’s job as justiciar requires secrecy, but the magician’s disappearing act bothers Crane more than it should. When a blackmailer threatens to expose their illicit relationship, Crane knows a smart man would hop the first ship bound for China. But something unexpectedly stops him. His heart.
Stephen has problems of his own. As he investigates a plague of giant rats sweeping London, his sudden increase in power, boosted by his blood-and-sex bond with Crane, is rousing suspicion that he’s turned warlock. With all eyes watching him, the threat of exposure grows. Stephen could lose his friends, his job and his liberty over his relationship with Crane. He’s not sure if he can take that risk much longer. And Crane isn’t sure if he can ask him to.
The rats are closing in, and something has to give…
Warning: Contains m/m sex (on desks), blackmail, dark pasts, a domineering earl, a magician on the edge, vampire ghosts (possibly), and the giant rats of Sumatra.
R E V I E W :
Blackmail is a nasty thing. When Lord Crane, Lucien, has to deal with a blackmailer who is out to destroy not just him, but the man he loves he finds himself in a position he’s never before encountered. He cares more about someone else than he cares to save himself trouble. Lucien is in love and stuck in a nasty situation. His lover, Stephen Day, is in a rather nasty situation himself. As a result of their physical relations, Stephen has had significantly more power at his disposal. This has made the justiciars with which he works suspicious that he is harming the very people he has sworn to protect. He’s found himself under suspicion of being a warlock, if he explains how he’s gaining power other practitioners will want it as well. Stephen is powerless to stop the blackmailer, Lucien is powerless to stop the justiciars watching Stephen. Then the rats show up. Giant rats, to be precise. Lucien gets called in by Stephen to help his team with some interactions with Chinese speakers. Knowing the language and the culture as well as a tale of giant Sumatran rats helps Stephen and his coworkers immensely. Lucien and his man Merrick quickly become indispensable to the case. Suddenly, the blackmailer turns up dead. It was the rats. Lucien certainly isn’t upset the man is dead, but it does complicate things. Lucien wasn’t the only person being blackmailed. The police are now interested in Lucien as well as the justiciars being interested in Stephen. Then the justiciars become interested in the other victims of blackmail. They also become interested in the circle of acquaintances Lucien has from China. Some of the group is already dead and an attempt is made on a remaining member.
After a rather gruesome rat attack, Stephen exposes the truth about his source of power and his relationship with Lucien to his coworker, Esther. A horrible story of murder and retribution from the grave comes to light. Many of Lucien’s friends from China were not the most upstanding people. Lucien has to deal with Stephen knowing exactly what kind of person Lucien has called friend. While all their secrets are being exposed to people outside their relationship, Lucien and Stephen still have to catch whoever is releasing the giant rats in the city. They think they have a lead but it turns out to be false. While trying to help yet another friend, Lucien falls into a trap. Stephen’s greatest fear comes into play. Lucien finds himself at the mercy of an untrustworthy practitioner who has realized his bloodline holds an incredible source of power.
Power is all important in this series. Who has it, where did they get it, how are they using it, and who is abusing it are the questions being asked again and again by the central characters, or of the central characters. Magical power, political power, sexual power, financial power, and the power of moral righteousness are all used to control the behavior and lives of others. However; it’s not the power that is important, it’s the control. Lucien has almost all the power in the relationship. He’s a peer, he’s wealthy, he’s got the super strong magical bloodline, and he’s sexually dominant to Stephen. On paper he would appear to be the stronger of the two men. Stephen has all the control. Lucien can’t use the power of his bloodline on his own. He’s got no control over his own magic. Given the situations they find themselves in tend to be of a magical nature it really doesn’t matter if he’s a wealthy peer or not. Even sexually Stephen has all the control. He wields the almighty phrase, “I need,” and gets exactly what he needs despite having no power. And really, it’s when they combine their power and control together they are at their most formidable.
Over the course of the book Stephen and Lucien come to realize exactly how much they mean to each other, but they still have a very long way to go to figure out precisely what that means for their relationship. Lucien wants to do things for Stephen and he can’t. He has to let Stephen do things for himself. When Merrick explained Stephen’s perspective to Lucien I got a little angry with Merrick on Lucien’s behalf. No, that wasn’t at all rational, but it happened. The guys really need to solve some of their relationship problems as they now have much bigger fish to fry. People know they’re a couple. They’ve already been through one round of blackmail. It could happen again. Also, practitioners now know how truly powerful Lucien’s blood is. I imagine at some point these issues will come to a nasty head.
Rated 4.5 stars by Faye