Do you like the friends to lovers trope? What about the enemies to lovers trope?
What if I told you that this was a book that combined these two tropes so thoroughly that you won’t be able to tell whether the two protagonists are friends or enemies or lovers?
Well, you’re in luck because Slippery Creatures will be available on May 13th for your reading pleasure. This is the first book in a trilogy of 1920s queer historical romance featuring Will Darling and Kim Secretan.
Will went to war at 18, stayed there for the duration, and found hard times upon his return to England. As the story begins, he has just inherited a bookshop from an uncle he barely knew. This ought to be the end of his financial woes, but it turns out to be the beginning of Big Trouble. All sorts of men turn up at the shop asking for the information/papers. Will has no idea what they’re talking about, but these men don’t seem empathetic to Will’s earnest declarations of innocence. They want the papers and they want them now.
While Will is trying to figure out to do with all of these new developments, a charming gentleman named Kim shows up, offering to help.
And Will falls for him hard and fast.
But here’s the thing: Kim is *a bin fox in a top hat and an utter goblin, so that somewhat complicates the romance. Somewhat.
Slippery Creatures is a gloriously clever take on pulp detective story, with high stakes and a bountiful amount of plot twists. Seriously—I never had any idea what was going to happen next. There was one particular moment when [redacted], and I was so shocked that I gasped out loud.
Will and Kim have sizzling chemistry and I loved Kim’s frank declarations about his specific preferences. Of course, as I’ve mentioned, Kim’s preference for amorality complicates their relationship, but I’m interested to see how this dynamic will play out over the next two books. Because as the old saying goes, “once a bin fox, always a bin fox.”
Most romance novels feature dual points-of-view, but the narrative unfolds from only Will’s perspective. As much as I would have loved Kim’s POV, knowing what thoughts were running through his head would have spoiled at least half of the surprises. The reader doesn’t know anything more than what Will knows, so his reactions become our reactions.
The story is supported by a strong pair of secondary characters: Maisie and Phoebe. These two women, friends of Will and Kim respectively, were simply delightful and they strengthened every scene they appeared in. I am hoping to see much more of them in the next two books.
Readers should be aware that this book discusses the 1918 influenza pandemic, and let me tell you—it was a bit bizarre reading about a pandemic while living through a pandemic. If you’re looking for something light to read, you might want to save this book for later.
I would absolutely recommend Slippery Creatures. I loved everything about this book; I have enjoyed all of KJ Charles’ books, but I think Slippery Creatures is my second favorite of all time (Band Sinister is my #1). Readers should note that as this is only the first in the series, the book does not end with a HEA. Will and Kim have two more books and a multitude of adventures before they earn their HEA. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting The Sugared Game, which is the next book in the series.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
*The bin fox in a top hat comes from a KJ Charles tweet