Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: An Unnatural Vice
SERIES: Sins of the Cities #2
AUTHOR: K.J. Charles
LENGTH: 250 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2017
In the sordid streets of Victorian London, unwanted desire flares between two bitter enemies brought together by a deadly secret.
Crusading journalist Nathaniel Roy is determined to expose spiritualists who exploit the grief of bereaved and vulnerable people. First on his list is the so-called Seer of London, Justin Lazarus. Nathaniel expects him to be a cheap, heartless fraud. He doesn’t expect to meet a man with a sinful smile and the eyes of a fallen angel—or that a shameless swindler will spark his desires for the first time in years.
Justin feels no remorse for the lies he spins during his séances. His gullible clients simply bore him. Hostile, disbelieving, utterly irresistible Nathaniel is a fascinating challenge. And as their battle of wills and wits heats up, Justin finds he can’t stop thinking about the man who’s determined to ruin him.
But Justin and Nathaniel are linked by more than their fast-growing obsession with one another. They are both caught up in an aristocratic family’s secrets, and Justin holds information that could be lethal. As killers, fanatics, and fog close in, Nathaniel is the only man Justin can trust—and, perhaps, the only man he could love.
A missing heir, the threat of a killer still running loose and the unwanted attraction between an upstanding member of society and a man who makes his living with lies…life on the streets of London is anything but boring. Starting off before the end of the first novel, An Unnatural Vice continues the search for the missing Tallihfer heir from the perspectives of Nathaniel, one time lawyer turned journalist and Justin, a ‘spiritualist’ out to take as much money from the rich as he can for as long as he can. I found the story, while entertaining, to be vastly different in approach from the first book, An Unseen Attraction, and even after finishing it, I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’ll explain.
So, the first novel was, in some ways, a lot easier than this latest release; I found the interactions between Clem and Rowley to be fairly smooth and they just sort of fit together like a hand and glove. Nathaniel and Justin? Ha! Most often when together it was like trying to mix oil and water; these two were basically on opposite sides on most everything and the attraction between them just made every conversation between them worse as they each tried to fight it. That aspect of the story I really enjoyed; while there was a lot of push/pull between the main characters, it was never too much and I liked seeing how they couldn’t help but gravitate towards one another. Now, I loved Nathaniel from the start and really relished the chance to get to know his character more than I did previously but Justin took a while for me to warm up to; he was kind of jaded and I didn’t care for how he preyed upon certain aspects of Nathaniel’s past in order to rattle him. He did grow on me eventually, however, and by the end of the book I actually liked the little sneak.
The mystery aspect of the book was fairly laid back here, unfortunately, and while I enjoyed seeing the characters interacting, I wanted more from the story than just seeing them together. I thought the mystery itself was pretty strong in the last story and while I did enjoy seeing the progress made here towards to next book, I didn’t have the same overall feeling of satisfaction I normally get from a seeing a great mystery unfold and get solved. I will say this; the reveal at the end of the book was nothing like what I was expecting and I give total kudos to the author for throwing me for a loop there! I really can’t wait to see what happens in the next book; it should prove to be highly entertaining. 😀
If you’ve enjoyed this author’s works in the past or just enjoy historical novels in general, I totally recommend this book; make sure you read the previous novel first, however, as it will be necessary to understand what’s going on here.