DI Timothy “Kip” Stoker needs a win. His supervisor is breathing down his neck and has tasked him with two jobs: he must solve a theft and bring down amateur detective Hieronymus Bash. Neither job is easy and should Kip fail at either, his future with Scotland Yard is over. He must deal with séances, savage lions, corrupt policemen, and the irrepressible Bash himself.
Heiro is man like no other. He is roguish, mercurial, and a force unto himself. Flanked by his clever ward Callie and the enigmatic Han, he can enter a room and hold sway with a quick smile and a flamboyance that is all his own. His rising fame is only matched by his eagerness for more. Meeting Kip sets both men on their heels. They should be enemies, but beyond subterfuge and a cloak of lies they find a connection neither of them expected. Staying alive long enough to explore their newfound relationship will be a challenge, but if they do, it could change their lives forever.
The Fangs of Scavo was such a conundrum to review. I both loved certain aspects and dreaded others. Ultimately, the amazing characters and their growing relationship won me over. And it’s those characters that steal the show over and over again. Normally I start with the positives and this book has many of them, but I have one gripe to address right off the bat. Hieronymus Bosch was a European artist who lived in the early part of the 16th century. Aside from his highly interesting body of work, his name is rather unforgettable. In the mystery world there is already a character called Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch, an LA detective created by Michael Connelly. Now there is another Hieronymus and as a name it is simply too unusual to be used again without constantly thinking of another character. I know it seems silly and it may be a moot issue for some of you, but I was frequently distracted by Bash’s name. Luckily, the author shortens it to Heiro and I’m sure this distraction will ease with further volumes but it was a glaring issue for me this time around.
That said Heiro and Kip are wonderful characters. Heiro is outrageous and wild and utterly irresistible. His past is mysterious and he tends to wear a mask for everyone save his closest friends. We’re told that Heiro is only nominally detective. Those around him most often do the real work, but his charm and captivating performances tend to open doors that would otherwise remain closed. Kip is his absolute opposite. He is solid and staid and he solves cases by doing the research and paperwork that others won’t. Yet he is wonderfully passionate around Heiro and it’s evident that society and circumstance have forced him to wear a mask of his own. Both men are engaging and well drawn and their relationship is the heart of this book. Heiro’s ward, Callie, and his guard, Han, round out an excellent quartet and while we don’t know quite as much about either of them, the author has done an a great job of laying a foundation for further growth.
My biggest issue with the Fangs of Scavo is pacing. It took me a long a time to get into the book and more than once I was dangerously close to becoming bored. When Kip and Heiro were interacting on page, the pacing was excellent. The characters were absolutely in tune and as a result the action was perfectly measured. But when the focus veered towards the mystery or the theatrics of the villains, things tended to slow and at times drag. It was frustrating and I felt like the story seesawed back and forth from perfection to frustration.
Overall, the Fangs of Scavo is a good book. Two amazing main characters captivated me right from the beginning and they are absolutely the reason to pick this one up. It has some notable pacing issues, but ultimately, if you stick with it you won’t be disappointed. I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment.