Percival Endicott Whyborne is now happily living with his lover, ex-Pinkerton detective Griffin Flaherty. The two men have settled into a happy and quiet life together, sharing a love neither man ever expected to find. Both men are surprised when they are summoned to Whyborne’s family home by his father, especially after the disaster of their last encounter with the man. They are even more surprised when the elder Whyborne asks Griffin to take on a job for him in a small mining town where he owns partial interest.
Threshold is a town created for and populated by coal miners. Apparently there are all kinds of stories about strange goings on — unexplained disappearances, unusual accidents, and cryptic writings found on cave walls and stones. Although the Pinkertons have been brought in to keep order in the town, Whyborne’s father knows from their past experiences that it is very possible that these stories are more than just rumors or legends, and something very real might be going on in Threshold.
Griffin agrees to take the case and heads to Threshold, accompanied by Whyborne and their friend Christine. There they encounter Elliot, Griffin’s former lover and head of the Pinkerton detectives on site. Elliot is convinced nothing is amiss, but it doesn’t take long before Whyborne and Griffin begin to realize that something otherworldly is definitely happening in the tiny, isolated town. Now they must figure out how to stop the threats before the town is destroyed and their very lives are at risk.
So I totally adored Widdershins, the first book in this amazing series, and could barely wait to start on the second book. Once again Jordan L. Hawk has given us a wonderful story that combines a fabulous historical setting, sweet and sexy romance, and haunting paranormal.
By the time this story starts, some time has passed since the first book and Whyborne and Griffin are happily settled together. But taking this case definitely throws some bumps in the road for these guys. First off, they are confronted with Elliot, Griffin’s former lover. Seeing the handsome man just brings out all of Whyborne’s insecurities. He has always been so full of self doubt and this only reinforces his disbelief that Griffin would ever want a man like him. For Griffin’s part, seeing Elliot brings up a lot of memories he would rather have buried. Not to mention his own insecurities about Whyborne’s feelings for him. I love how we see that both of these men have doubts about their own worth, yet it is so clear that each man is totally loved and adored by his partner. It is wonderful to see them come to realize and accept the depth of feelings they have for each other over the course of the story.
This book takes us out of the town of Widdershins and brings us to a tiny, isolated coal mining town. I loved this change of setting, both to set the mystery apart from the first book, but also to see how it affects the men. We know that although Whyborne lives a relatively modest life, he grew up with great wealth. So coming to this town with such poverty and horrible living conditions is a shock to him. This is a man who thinks the idea of sitting in his own home without a coat on is practically scandalous. He is a little naive and out of his element here. But what I really love is how over the course the book we see Whyborne adapt and grow in confidence. He realizes he can be a leader and he can take care of people and we really see Whyborne come to shine. Griffin, on the other hand, seems to fit right in. He is used to his cases taking him all over and to the harsh realities of life. However, being in Threshold highlights the class and experience differences between him and Whyborne and makes Griffin a little insecure.
I loved seeing the relationship continue to grow between these guys and I do wish we had a little more time with them together. This book slants a bit more toward the mystery and investigation end than the first one, and I did miss the time with these guys together a little. But let me tell you, this case is a doozy. Once again we get a fascinating and terrifying investigation that left me breathless. I am amazed at how Hawk was able to pull off what could have felt like a far fetched premise and make it totally work. There is such a great sense of slowly creeping terror as we realize just what horrors are going on in Threshold. When combined with the fact that they are isolated with no hope of help, and they must figure out how to save themselves when death seems right around the corner, I just couldn’t read fast enough.
I mentioned Christine briefly at the end of my Widdershins review, but I feel compelled to give her some more significant mention here because she is just a fabulous character. Sadly female secondary characters are not often given great roles in m/m romance, often relegated to the meddling mother or best friend. But Christine is amazing. She is strong, smart, and self confident. She says what she thinks, and does what she wants, and doesn’t waste much time worrying about society’s rules. This is a woman who leads digs in Egypt and made a world renowned discovery, yet still gets asked when she will settle down and get married so her “real” life can start. I particularly love Christine as a foil to Whyborne. They are kind of awkward best friends, but such opposites. Christine is confident and brash and swears like a sailor. She is incredibly practical and just digs in and gets things done. Whyborne, on the other hand, is prim and careful and lives according to societal rules. So they seem to be so different, but they have the shared experience of living outside of socially acceptable guidelines. In Whyborne’s case, it is his interest in men, and for Christine it is her job. So both can understand the hardship of not living up to expectations. I really love her and think she is one of the best female side characters I have read. I am thrilled that it seems like she will be around for a while over the series.
So this was an other fabulous installment in this wonderful series. Hawk gives us romance, horror, mystery, and historical, all wrapped up in a fabulous package. I loved this one and continue to highly recommend this series.
It is Valentine’s Day and Griffin has planned a special night for Whyborne. The guys have been together about two months and Griffin has never been happier. He never expected to find love like he has with Whyborne, and is determined to show the man how much he cares for him.
Griffin’s careful plans go awry when he gets a case to recover a stolen talisman. He wants to put it off for the next day, but his client is clear that some very bad things will happen if it is not recovered by sundown. Griffin has no choice but to take on the case, even though it means spoiling his plans with Whyborne. He is sure that this will be just the evidence Whyborne needs to realize he can do much better than Griffin for a partner. But it turns out that if the men can survive the case, things between them are just perfect after all.
Eidolon is a short story that officially comes in between Widdershins and Threshold in the timeline. However, Hawk suggested I read it after Threshold, and I think it works quite well there since there are little bits of information we get in that second book that fit so nicely into this story. So I think either option is fine.
So what I absolutely adored about this story is that it is in Griffin’s POV. OMG, love love! It is not that I don’t adore being in Whyborne’s head, because I do. He is such a fabulous character and his awkwardness and uncertainty are perfect to navigate us through the crazy experiences these guys have. But I just loved getting a chance to see inside Griffin’s head and get his perspective on their relationship. We have always known Whyborne doesn’t understand why Griffin has such strong feelings for him, but here we see Griffin has the same insecurities. He sees Whyborne as this brilliant, upper class man from a good family, and himself as this poor, small town boy who is just pretending. Griffin is so worried Whyborne will come to his senses and dump him, and it is incredibly endearing. Especially because we know that Whyborne completely adores him. So this story is such a fabulous window into their relationship. We can see the love and passion these men have for one another, and how much they have grown to care for each other in this short time.
Thing fell a little flatter for me with the investigation end of things. I never really felt like it came together clearly. We don’t ever really learn what this talisman is for, what this creature is that is unleashed, or what the deal is with the grandfather in the attic. I didn’t feel the same excitement or tension or horror that I did in the other books. Even with a short story, I wanted more of sense of completion for this mystery and it just didn’t hold together very well. To be honest, I didn’t even need this part as I was thrilled with just the insight into their relationship. But I found it kind of took away from the rest of the story since it didn’t really come together for me.
That said, let’s be real here. If you are a fan of this series like I am, you need to read this short story. It is so worth it just to get Griffin’s POV and to see the sweetness and love between these two guys. I loved the insight into their relationship and how they feel about one another. So definitely check this one out and enjoy!