(Review) Threshold ★★★★☆

Book: Threshold

Author: Jordan L. Hawk

Series: Whyborne & Griffin (Book #2)

Book 1 review

Genre: Historical Romance; M/M; Mystery

Pub date: 06/02/2013

Pages: 172

Audio: 7hrs 19mins

Narrator: Julian G. Simmons

Introverted scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne wants nothing more than to live quietly with his lover, ex-Pinkerton detective Griffin Flaherty. Unfortunately, Whyborne’s railroad tycoon father has other ideas, namely hiring Griffin to investigate mysterious events at a coal mine.

Whyborne, Griffin, and their friend Christine travel to Threshold Mountain, a place of dark legend even before the mine burrowed into its heart. A contingent of Pinkertons-including Griffin’s ex-lover Elliot-already guard the mine. But Griffin knows better than anyone just how unprepared the detectives are to face the otherworldly forces threatening them.

Soon, Whyborne and Griffin are on the trail of mysterious disappearances, deadly accidents, and whispered secrets. Is Elliot an ally, or does he only want to rekindle his relationship with Griffin? And if so, how can Whyborne possibly hope to compete with the stunningly handsome Pinkerton-especially when Griffin is hiding secrets about his past?

For in a town where friends become enemies and horror lurks behind a human mask, Whyborne can’t afford to trust anything-including his own heart.

Threshold is the second book in the Whyborne & Griffin series written by Jordan L. Hawk.  You can read my review of the first book here: Widdershins.  This series spans several genres including historical romance, mystery, m/m and has strong supernatural aspects.  Especially in this book. I got the audio version of this one.  The narrator Julian G. Simmons was new to me.  Not a huge surprise since in the past I’ve mostly listened to books with a woman as the main character.  He did a fine job.  Nothing exciting to mention.  It was easy to distinguish between the different character’s voices.  He didn’t mess up on any words and even managed a good female voice.

One of the reasons I used to always avoid book series that had the same couple in every book was the drama.  In every book there usually is something that threatens to tear them apart and after awhile it gets annoying.  I’m hoping this series isn’t like that.  In Threshold what threatens their relationship is Griffin’s old friend and ex-lover Elliot.  Almost as soon as he sees him he starts acting like a total jerk to Whyborne.  Although, he gives his reasons in the end, it didn’t stop the sick feeling I get when these things happen.  I get so attached to the characters, even though I know that things must work out between them since it’s a series written about them I still dislike these romantic problems.

I thought Widdershins, the first book, was strange.  Threshold is much much stranger!  The supernatural aspect is something out of a sci-fi novel and I contemplated classifying it as thus but decided not to.  All of the disappearances and strange events just get more creepy.  Seriously, it’s the stuff of nightmares.  Whyborne’s father hires Griffin to investigate since he’s familiar with supernatural occurrences.  Whyborne and Christine go along to help.

Whyborne has some personal growth in Threshold.  I’m looking forward to seeing if he’s changed much in the third book Stormhaven.  Obviously, considering the fact Griffin was a jerk for most of the book, Whyborne was my favorite in this one.  I think I relate to him more since he’s scholarly and has some self-esteem and social issues.  It will be nice to see how he grows as a person through the series. Griffin too.  He has very little confidence in himself beyond his detective business.

All in all it was a good book and I would highly recommend it.  I decided to give it four stars instead of five mostly because of the whole romantic thing.  Also, the supernatural aspect was very strange and hard to believe.  So, if you enjoy historical romance, m/m, mystery, horror, earth based sci-fi or supernatural books you may enjoy Threshold.  I wouldn’t suggest this series as a first m/m read unless you plan to skip most of the sex scenes because they are quite graphic and I’ll admit to skipping through them myself.  I look forward to seeing what crazy adventures Jordan L. Hawk has stirred up in Stormhaven!

Favorite quotes:

“If we cannot find models in our past, we must try to build a future where they can exist, and devil take anyone who tries to tell us we can’t.”

“She kept leaning farther and farther forward, and I became concerned her bodice wasn’t up to the task of containing her bounty.”

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(Review) Widdershins ★★★★★

Book: Widdershins

Author: Jordan L. Hawk

Series: Whyborne & Griffin (Book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance; M/M; Mystery

Pub date: 12/04/2012

Pages: 236

Some things should stay buried.

Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.

So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.

As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?

Widdershins is the first book in the Whyborne & Griffin series of which there are currently 8 published and 2 unpublished books in addition to several short stories.  It takes place in the late 1800’s in New England.  If it was based in current day I would classify it as an urban fantasy novel not a romance.  I hesitate to put it under historical romance because it just doesn’t feel right to me but it seems that most people are marking it as such and I can’t think of a better classification so will follow the crowd.

It was the cover art that drew me to Widdershins.  I will admit that I didn’t even read the description.  I hate how reading them gives away things that will happen.  Since I didn’t read it though, I didn’t realize that the book was based in the past.  It took me through the first chapter or so to figure out what was going on, to my embarrassment.  As I usually do when I’m reading a new book I tried to draw comparisons to other books that I’d previously read.  Since I haven’t read all that many historical novels I had a hard time with this one.  The only one that even came close was The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.  That one only has time traveling but still there is quite a bit in the past and supernatural aspects as well.

Frustratingly, this very unique book won’t get as much attention as it really should due to the fact that it’s a m/m novel.  There are some quite graphic sex scenes but you could always skip past them.  It’s not like erotica where it’s in every chapter or anything.  Making this book even more diverse, there is a major supernatural aspect as well.  I hesitate to call it magic.  Sorcery perhaps?  Dark magic maybe.  Either way, it was a nice addition.

Lastly, there’s the mystery.  Griffin is a private detective hired to solve a murder.  He seeks the help of Whyborne to translate a grimoire related to the murder.  I really liked both Griffin and Whyborne.  The book is written from Whyborne’s point of view.  There is a short story that is based between Widdershins and the second book Threshold called Eidolon that is from Griffin’s point of view that gives a lot of understanding into how he thinks of himself and Whyborne.  I’m not reviewing it because it’s very short and only took an hour to read but thought it should be mentioned here.  Whyborne’s friend and co-worker Christine was really the only supporting character of note.  I liked her a lot and hope she’s in the following books.

I would wholeheartedly recommend Widdershins.  As you may have noticed it’s hard to classify to whom I would recommend the book since it is in a broad range of genres.  If you enjoy mystery such as a Sherlock Holmes type novel then you may like it.  Add in the supernatural and romance factors and it really stands out among other books.  I’m actually pretty surprised that I haven’t read it before this.  I really enjoyed it and read it within a day.  There are several other books in the series and I look forward to seeing where the story goes next.

Favorite quote:

“Why did he have to be kind?  If only he’d mocked me, or sneered at me, or merely tolerated me, then I would have known how to deal with him.  But he insisted on being kind, on pretending I had some worth.  How was I to defend myself against that?”