Ask and thou shalt receive! In my review for the previous novel, When God Dies, I stated that I was looking forward to a more straight forward tale of murder that didn’t involve political intrigues, and this one more than delivered! Additionally, little did I know, but Harris was actually setting up this novel in the last novel. In When Gods Die, Lovejoy mentions a young nobleman who was found mutilated in the park, and while I suspected that somehow it would tie in with Guinevere’s death, it actually ended up being a loose thread/detail. Until this novel, anyway, when a second young man is found murdered in a similar way. Only difference: while the first victim’s arms were carved as if for meat, in the second victim, it’s the legs that have been butchered.
Still hesitant to be pulled into police work (especially after nearly ruining his entire wardrobe and scaring off his valet in the previous novel), Sebastian St. Cyr once again declines when Sir Henry Lovejoy asks for his assistance – at least until the victim’s father shows up and yells at him for recommending his Irish friend, Dr. Gibson, to conduct the autopsy. The yelling and threatening has the opposite of the intended effect since Sebastian does not like to be told what to do and he starts to wonder if there is a secret link between the victims’ fathers, if not the victims themselves.
Soon, Sir Henry discovers an earlier killing that may be related, and as more bodies appear, Sebastian slowly discovers a connection. While Jarvis and his daughter Hero are far from Sebastian’s biggest fans, Jarvis too notices a certain pattern, inspiring him to share some information with Sebastian.
Meanwhile, Kat’s past starts to catch up with her, and the potential solution leads to more revelations. Harris does a good job of developing the personal drama alongside the murder and even allows her characters enough awareness to draw links between the two. I also liked how she shows Sebastian as someone that can keep things separate, which is clearly seen in in his reactions to Jarvis the father vs. Jarvis the political power. The end of the novel sees a large change in the status quo, and I can’t wait to read on and see if some of my predictions end up coming true and how they develop.
I also am glad I enjoyed these because honestly, sometimes I can’t tell when I don’t like a novel if I am just too critical/judgement/in the wrong mood, so after my rather negative reaction to Hammered, I was happy to see that I’ve enjoyed this series. Although, it’s weird, after reading so many series written by men when younger, it certainly seems that my more critical reviews nowadays are directed at men. I wonder if male readers think that C.S. Harris and Louise Penny have created realistic male characters or if they feel the same way I often do about some women characters written by men.