Twenty years ago, Poor Little Ned Lawton was the only survivor when his family was gruesomely murdered. Now he is Edmund Sloan, and he does his best never to think of that time. In fact, he’s all but disassociated himself with who he was as a small child. When a brash American detective barges into his life, Edmund is quite distressed.
Patrick Kelly came to London with the express purpose of trying to figure out how a sudden rash of murders in the States look exactly like that of the Lawton case from so many years ago. He knows Ned Lawton is the key, but since the man has repressed anything he might have known, getting to the bottom of things is more difficult than Patrick ever expected. Patrick isn’t one to take no for an answer though, and though he pushes harder than he should, he starts to get clues that he’s able to piece together.
But while this is happening, Patrick is drawn to Ned/Edmund in ways he didn’t anticipate. And Edmund shares the inclination and the desire, though he’s far too proper to act on it. At least, at first. But just as the two men form a real connection, everything changes. And the secrets that are revealed are more devastating than anyone thought. Now it’s a question of whether Patrick and Ned can have a future.
A gruesome murder with one sole survivor. A detective seeking the truth. Wrapped up in a Victorian setting. I was sold with the blurb, and ready and waiting to dive into this story. While I felt the pace was a little slow at times, overall, this was a good read.
I loved the MCs. First, there’s Patrick and he’s brash and determined. He has a single minded focus, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of the case. He convinced his employer that traveling across the ocean was worth it, and that makes him even more determined to see the case through to the end. He pushes his way into Edmund’s live, even when it’s clear Edmund has left the past behind. And at times, he pushes too hard. But almost immediately, the connection between the MCs forms, and Patrick feels bad that his questions are bringing up something so painful for Edmund. I liked seeing the care he takes with Edmund, even while he doesn’t stop pushing.
I adored Edmund/Ned (and I slash his name here because he’s both, at different times, depending on what’s going on). He’s almost completely repressed any memory of his childhood, such as it was, with the Lawtons, and he’s fully and completely a Sloan. In fact, he knows very little about his family’s murder. He’s very proper and refined. And though Patrick’s questions are upsetting, Edmund slowly begins to learn about his family’s murder and, in the process, begins a healing he didn’t even realize he needed. I loved his growth throughout the story, and I loved seeing him unfurl and become the man he should be.
Their chemistry is good, and I could definitely feel the bond between them. I found their romance to be nice, and I really loved the resolution with it. I felt they ended in a good place, and that they’d put in the work to make it believable.
The mystery here, on the whole, is fairly well done. Though there were times when I wished the plot moved faster and where things dragged a bit for me. I liked most of the twists the story took, not all of them predictable. At one point, near the end, it went a little over the top for me. It got to be a little too much, and brought down my enjoyment of the story a bit.
Overall, it was well done. I’ve never read this author before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect considering I’m so picky with both my historicals and my murder mysteries. But Devon handled it well, and I enjoyed the book. If this piques your interest, I definitely recommend you give it a try.