Any Old Diamonds, the first book in the Lilywhite Boys series was one of my favorite reads this year. KJ Charles’ follow up book, Gilded Cage, has been one of my most anticipated. I will try not to spoil Any Old Diamonds too much, because I think you ought to read it, and you must definitely read it in order to appreciate Gilded Cage.
Not all is right with the Lilywhite Boys after the Ilvar affair. Templeton Lane is feeling resentful about what happened during the heist, about Jerry and Alexander’s Happily Ever After, and about Jerry’s unwillingness to continue their life of crime without actually stating he has retired. As the book opens, Lane has just made what he knows is a bad choice. Having made that choice, Templeton finds himself suspected of murder, cut off from his usual resources, and unable to flee the country. He turns to Susan Lazarus, the private investigator from Any old Diamonds, to prove him innocent. Susan and Templeton have a history, making Susan both the most and least likely person to believe him.
Gilded Cage takes place in the aftermath of a crime. Though there is a plot to uncover – was Lane set up? If so, by who and how? – the tension in the plot leans more heavily on the romance that Any Old Diamonds. The murder investigation throws the main characters together, but the focus is truly on Templeton’s redemption and his second chance romance with Susan. Templeton has one of the best dark night of the soul reflections on how he harmed Susan as a young man.
Gilded Cage lacks some of the magic of Any Old Diamonds, but it services Susan and Templeton so beautifully that I really didn’t care while I was reading it.