Grilled Cheese and Goblins is an anthology featuring the adventures of Agent Keith Curry and his transgoblin lover, Agent Gunther Heartman. They both work for NATO’s Irregular Affairs Division, known as Irregulars, a secret law enforcement agency tasked with keeping the regular humans unaware of the goings on of otherworldly creatures. It’s a big job, and Keith has the distinction of being the first food inspector for the organization. He came into the job in an unusual way. A former chef who prepared some…questionable meals for his clients, he’s now a vegetarian and works to bring down the illegal goings on when it comes to food items.
This book features two stories that were previously published. Cherries Worth Getting was originally published in the Irregulars anthology. Magically Delicious was in the Charmed and Dangerous anthology. There are several more shorts after these two that have never been released, and so I’m going to review this book for its overall merits.
There’s a lot I loved about this anthology. Kimberling has a way with words that really draws the reader in. The smooth style and, at times, poetic descriptions really flesh out the story and make it an enjoyable read. There’s heart and humor, and the secondary characters really liven up the page. I really enjoy the author’s style and this anthology showcases why.
Each story in the book is it’s own case. The first two are longer than the others, and they give a lot of background that’s needed. I love the world the author created. The world building is unique and quirky, and gives a lot of great details so it’s easy to fall into and understand what’s going on. You probably know that world building is a hot button issue with me, and Kimberling nails it. Each case is inventive and exciting, with twists and turns that really bring fun, and sometimes peril, to the story. I actually read this anthology in one sitting, because I couldn’t put it down. There’s some great social commentary hidden throughout these stories as well, and I think the author hit the perfect note.
In addition to each case, there’s the love story between Keith and Gunther. They meet again in the first story, having previously been lovers for a time. Just as Keith was about to ask for more, Gunther broke it off without explanation. The truth comes out when they meet again, and Keith is taken aback. But they have to work together, and that forces them to not only confront their secrets, but to compromise. It also gives them a chance to give into the attraction that still simmers between them. I loved their chemistry and I loved their relationship. Part of the reason I couldn’t put it down was because I wanted to see the next stage of their love. Each story brings the next step for these guys. And I particularly loved the ending where their relationship was concerned. It was a perfect note to end things on, given Gunther’s culture, and I gave a happy sigh when I read it.
All in all, this was a fantastic read. I hadn’t read either of the previously released stories, but I knew I enjoyed this author’s work. I wasn’t disappointed. There’s fun and magic, peril and danger, love and compromise. Not to mention, each case gets solved in a wonderfully satisfactory way. Enjoy it piecemeal, or glom it all at once. This anthology is definitely an easy recommendation from me.