An Unnatural Vice by K.J. Charles

With this second book in the series, Charles is doing an excellent job of giving us mini arcs within an overarching series arc. But even more so, she’s given us a very diverse and unusual set of characters. There are no heroes named Gryffon or Sebastian, no Duke of Silvertons or white bread aristocrat heroes. Instead, we have examples such as a character with an Indian mother and an investigator named Mark Braglewicz. The cast of each book is always interesting.

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Story: Nathaniel studied to be a lawyer but gave it up to be a journalist. With a strong sense of justice and right, he is always looking to expose or fix the more persistent problems of London’s underbelly. When he goes after The Seer of London, Justin Lazarus, he finds his match in many ways. Justin is slippery, fiercely loyal to his street urchin ‘family’, and has come to some terms with his history of being abused by those he were supposed to care for him. He has no remorse taking money from his conscienceless clients – he’s seen the ills they have done under the protection of wealth or status. But Justin and Nathaniel become irrevocably tangled in the affair of finding the twin heirs of Clem’s father, the Earl. Someone is still out there ready to torture and murder in order to prevent the twins from succeeding. And Justin is in his crosshairs.

Justin is brought neatly into the mystery by having had a session with the twins’ mother, Emmaline, who was searching for them after they left. I found it fascinating that the mother became embroiled in a cult and the twins fled to get away from it. Nathaniel’s connection with Clem (and Mark, who likely will be the third hero) ties in neatly with Justin’s knowledge of the twins and their shadowed paternity. The main arc progresses nicely even while the book arc completes.

As always, the writing is fluid and the characters engaging. I don’t find so many of the anachronisms in speech and attitudes as I do in so many books of this genre. I only question why none of the men seem to be too worried about their proclivities being discovered since it was considered such a heinous ‘crime’ back then.

In all, I am enjoying the series – a bit of romance and a bit of mystery with very distinct and unique characters. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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