Griffin Flaherty has a new case. A man has come to him having been accused of stealing an old map of Widdershins, but the man has no recollection of anything that happened leading up to the event. Given that this is Widdershins, it doesn’t take long before Griffin starts to think some sort of enchantment might have been involved.
Whyborne is dealing with his own mystery as the museum gets a donation that includes a codex with drawings of strange symbols and weird creatures inside and in a language he does not understand. When the codex comes to the attention of a menacing cult, they know they are in trouble.
Before long, Whyborne and Griffin are facing mysterious murders, freaky rat people, a one-eyed man with tentacle limbs, and yet another threat to Widdershins and the world. And if that is not enough, they have Christine’s wedding coming up and a bride that isn’t so much into the planning. Not to mention unusual behavior from Whyborne’s father and a surprising request from his brother. Whyborne and Griffin can barely keep up with everything going on, but once again they manage to save the day as supernatural misdeeds threaten the town and the world.
Hurray! Another Whyborne & Griffin story! Seriously, I could not love this series more, and I am so excited about this latest book. It is everything we love about this series — great romance between two fascinating characters, exciting mystery, well crafted suspense, interesting side characters, and great connecting threads between the books in the series.
Once again Whyborne and Griffin face a plot to use the supernatural to gain power. I am always amazed how Hawk time and again can find new and creative adventures for these guys, while at the same time binding the stories together. Each book is so creative and unique, bringing these guys all over the world or just within their small town. At the same time, as the series continues Hawk draws great connections between things that have happened in the past and what is happening in the current book. She has created such a fabulous world here that ties together so nicely, while still keeping each story so fresh and exciting.
I loved how this mystery in particular draws from Whyborne and Griffin’s powers. The titular maelstrom refers to the power that runs underneath Widdershins, something Whyborne has the power to tap into and others now want to control. We also get to see how Griffin’s new ability to perceive magic plays into things, and their powers tie both into the mystery itself as well as its resolution. I particularly love how Griffin’s ability ends up highlighting his deep connection to Whyborne. I love these guys together. They are romantic and sexy and the love they have for one another just explodes off the page. I particularly like watching Griffin get all lusty when Whyborne uses his powers and when he moves from his cool, cerebral self to someone filled with passion.
I loved his busy mind, but I also loved when I could make it all stop, take away every thought and replace it with raw sensation. His breath came like the gasps of a drowning man, and his leg pressed into my hip as he rocked and rutted against me.
Cloth rustled behind me, and I twisted about to watch him fling aside his clothes into a messy heap. He looked utterly wild, eyes blazing, his prick at full attention. I wanted him as much as I’d ever wanted anything in my life.
These guys are so intense and passionate about one another. It is so sexy and romantic.
Something else Hawk does incredibly well in this series is her secondary characters. My girl crush Christine is one again featured prominently as we lead up to her wedding with Iskander. These two are struggling a bit as Christine is so not into the planning and details involved in a big wedding and hasn’t made much time to make arrangements. For his part, Iskander worries about her career and reputation because he is of mixed race, and wants the wedding to be big and splashy to help prevent any negative backlash to her. So the two struggle a bit with this along the way. But seriously, I could not adore Christine more. Here she is talking to Miss Parkhurst:
“But Iskander is a fine fellow.”
“Indeed.” Christine nodded her head once, sharply. “You’ll note I waited quite a while after meeting him before marriage, Miss Parkhurst. One must be absolutely sure of compatibility on all matters.” She nodded again, and a small smile touched her mouth. “All matters.”
Miss Parkhurst blushed.
Speaking of Miss Parkhurst, Whyborne’s poor besotted secretary, we get more of her in this book than before. She has been in the dark about all the mysterious goings on in Widdershins, but here she gets pulled into the mystery and I am pleased to find she is tougher than she looks. We get some hints that there may be more for Miss Pankhurst and I am excited to see where things go with her.
We also get some development on things with Whyborne and his dad. Niles seems to be reaching out to all of Whyborne’s friends, and even to him, and Whyborne can’t help but be suspicious of the man who had nothing but scorn for him for years. Griffin thinks Niles may be making more of an effort, but Whyborne sees it as just another attempt to control him, and struggles with keeping his own identity in the face of being the son of a wealthy and powerful man. When Stanford requests to see Whyborne, it raises his suspicions even further. I really liked getting this family piece of the story here and am eager to see how all this develops.
So once again, another amazing installment in this fabulous serious. You guys, if you are not reading this you absolutely should be. Whyborne & Griffin is one of the best series out there and I couldn’t recommend it more highly. Fabulous installment and I am in total love.