Series: Steampunk Mystery #1
Published by Spare Words Press on 8/4/2014
Genres: Science Fiction
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Wes and Kit is a short book, more of a novella. It seems almost like it was written just for me. I enjoy steampunk, mysteries, and gay romance!
I’m not familiar with the author, Hollis Shiloh, but I’m glad to know he (?) has more than one title out there. This was a very enjoyable book, as well as a quick read (something I appreciate as my life is suddenly rather busy). Wes and Kit are both very likable, if flawed, main characters. If I have a complaint about them, and I really can’t say that I do, it would be that they might be too likable. Too nice. There is a slight tendency toward melodrama, with truly villainous villains, and Wes (our hero) rescuing Kit (our “damsel in distress”) often. But I’m happy with that. A little melodrama is a good thing now and then.
The plot is fairly simple: Kit, a young clock and gear worker, is attacked by ruffians who seem to be after something related to his current job. After recovering, he hires Wes, his chance rescuer and a former soldier and “mechanicalized” man, to be his bodyguard. As tends to happen in romances, they fall in love. One thing leads to another, the mystery is solved (mostly) and our heroes get their Happily Ever After. My favorite part. I do not like romances where the heroes don’t end up together, at least at some point in the series. The romance part of Kit and Wes works for me. The steampunk part, involving mechanics, gears, clockwork and a little magic, is intriguing. I’m looking forward to learning more about this world in the other volumes. They all seem to be fairly short books, by the way. The mystery part of the book is a little less satisfying for me. That may be in part because although it’s pretty much solved, it’s not fully resolved by the end of the book. I suspect I’ll need to read the subsequent books to see how it turns out. Fortunately, since I enjoyed this book, I don’t think that will be a problem.
One thing readers of M/M fiction should be aware of when considering this book: there is no graphic depiction of sex in this book. It all happens offstage, so to speak. Again, this isn’t a problem for me. Some books need explicit sex scenes, some books don’t. I don’t believe this one did. It was not any less erotic for me because of the lack. To be honest, there’s only so many ways you can write about “insert tab A into slot C,” and this was a refreshing break. A skilled writer knows when to do a sex scene, and when to leave it out.
The book is well edited. I must admit that I’m very pleased about that. So many books from smaller presses or that are self-published end up with glaring errors in them. I only found one in Wes and Kit, and it may be something I misunderstood. I’ll have to go back and re-read it. The writing and dialogue flowed well for me, with only a few issues involving language that didn’t seem right for the time period. Easily overlooked and forgiven when I’m reading an enjoyable story like this. All in all, I liked this book very much. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to other readers who enjoy its special niche, and I’m looking forward to reading more stories set in Shiloh’s world.