Title : Remnant
Series: Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal
Publisher : Smashwords (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Paranormal, Romance
Length : 51 pages (ebook)
Published : March 11, 2014
Rating : ★★★★★
London, 1899. The beautiful people are dying…
A malevolent power is attacking London’s bright young things, and the only clue to what’s happening is written in ancient Egyptian script. As ghost-hunter Simon Feximal and his companion Robert Caldwell investigate the mysterious deaths, the arrival in London of a notorious scholar-sorcerer seems to hold the answer to more than one of their problems.
A quiet break in London while en route to Egypt turns dramatic for Dr Percival Endicott Whyborne and his lover Griffin Flaherty when they encounter the hostile ghost-hunter. Feximal clearly suspects the worst of Whyborne – and his flirtatious sidekick seems to think a great deal too well of Griffin…
Jordan L Hawk’s heroes Whyborne and Griffin meet KJ Charles’ occult detectives from the Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal in a mystery that takes all four lovers through the decadent underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of an ancient and deadly evil.
Super excited, with a squee or two, and perhaps some jumping up and running around the room thrown in. Yeah, such was my reaction upon hearing these two awesomely talented and favorite writers were releasing a collaborative free story featuring their paranormal parlaying pairs. I certainly trusted Jordan Hawk and KJ Charles to live up to such a reaction and in fact they surpassed it. The mash up of Whyborne & Griffin with Robert & Simon proved to be quite fruitful in propagating a bounty of witty, humorous, and at times, dark, reactions. I was constantly snickering as I read – I can only imagine Griffin would be proud 😉 The authors did a bang up job of lending entertaining voice to each other’s characters while keeping them true to form. The flow of the story using POVs from Whyborne and Robert in successive chapters worked brilliantly.
This story packs one heck of a wollop within 51 pages. When I picked it up I was very curious about how the men would all happen to meet while Whyborne and Griffin were in London. I must say, I was immediately taken with the extremely clever set up that unfolded. Seems Whyborne’s name was not unfamiliar to Simon and Robert, and in the worst way. Alas, as tends to be the norm with the media, the reputation that had apparently preceded Whyborne all the way to the London cult crowd is fraught with, shall we say, inaccuracies. These inaccuracies lad Simon and Robert to suspect Whyborne of involvement in the case they were currently trying to solve (it involved Egyptian writing they were unable to decipher), so they set out to keep tabs on him. Once Robert gets a glimpse of the handsome assumed servant (Griffin) traveling with Whyborne, his interest in the pair goes, ah, up a few notches. Our ex-Pinkerton Griffin, being no slouch, and just maybe having gotten a glimpse of Robert in turn, soon realizes he and Whyborne are being followed. They start wondering if perhaps The Brotherhood or The Eyes of Noden had been in wait for them. This led to: a four way stand- off in a museum crypt chamber – how apropos! And how very amusing! It was hilarious reading the responses of all four men at once – a tactic that was used several times with great comedic impact during the story. I enjoyed learning a bit about the history museums they visited too.
The men sort out rather quickly that they are all basically on the same side as it were (and in more ways than they initially realize). Much to Whyborne’s chagrin, Griffin goes all fanboy when he realizes that Robert is the author of “The Casebooks of Feximal the Ghost-hunter” stories that he loves so much. Griffin had believed the stories to be completely fictitious, only to be finding out they were in fact true accounts of Robert and Simon’s lives. Simon and Robert ask Whyborne’s assistance with translating the Egyptian writing they have discovered, which he agrees to, especially when he hears he could help stop a murderer by doing so. Whyborne gets the surprise of his life when he finds out where the writing is located. Hee! One of the things I love about all four men in this story is their high level of intelligence and nobility. Nothing gets past them. Er, wait. Scratch that. There are a few things that slip past, due in part to misconceptions about one another, and that old standby – stubbornness! As the men work together, these misconceptions dissolve and they work (mostly) well together to discover the murderer.
The dialogue in this story is delivered with abundant alacritous wit. Our guys are rife with innuendo and are cocky as all get out. Witnessing Whyborne and Simon looking (or rather, glaring) on and trying not to fume as Griffin and Robert shamelessly flirt with one another is high entertainment. Heh, Griffin and Robert know just how to work it. Let’s just say that when Whyborne gets all possessive of Griffin, and Simon gets forceful with Robert – everyone gets exactly what he wanted from his partner. Well played gentlemen!
Once Whyborne was able to lend his philological talents to the mix, the mystery was resolved fairly quickly, if rather gruesomely. During the course of the few days they spent together, Robert sensed specific elements about Whyborne’s past, while Simon feared that Whyborne is too complacent about his own powers of sorcery. A concern shared by both Griffin and myself. Of course Whyborne still claims he is but a scholar, conducting practical experiments… I suspect this attitude may come back to bite him in future adventures. Stay tuned. Never the less, as the men uncover and deal with the source of the mystery, it was wonderful to see Whyborne conducting himself with ever increasing bravery and tenacity. I also loved how obvious it was made that despite the flirting, each of the men was the true completion of his partner, and are in fact, absolutely essential to each other. The small intimacies shared between them -special gestures such as winks and finger kisses between Whyborne and Griffin, Simon being gentle and concerned with Robert – really were wonderful and left little doubt where affections lay. ♥
I found it cool how the title, Remnant, is not only the name of an exclusive club in the book, but also ties in with the key macabre element of the story. Taking it further even points to the fact that remnants of all sorts are indeed the basis of what all four characters often seem to find themselves working with. Perhaps it is what the authors intended, or maybe I am whack!
So – you might ask whether to read Remnant before, after or during the Whyborne & Griffin series and/or The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal series? I’m sure there will be differing opinions on this. Personally, it’s hard for me to imagine not knowing the entire character/relationship development and history of both series before- hand. I’m certain I would not have appreciated all of the character interaction to the fullest had I not had all of that information under my belt.
That being said… if you have never read any of the previous books, but hold even the slightest interest in Remnant after reading the blurbs, reviews and blogs – pick it up now! Just be prepared to go back and consume both series in their entirety once you are done – that’s how well KJ Charles and Jordan L. Hawk work their spell with Remnant.
I certainly hope these four gentlemen meet again for another caper. They were such delicious fun together, and on a darker note, there is so much left to explore in what guidance they could all offer each other as only those experienced in matters of the occult – and loving men – could do. Holding out as well for a novel length story about Simon and Robert, there is much uncharted, and I assume quite lush, territory there to explore!
Kudos and huge thanks to KJ and Jordan for this kick ass collaboration.
Rated 5 stars by Dianne