Title: The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal
Author: KJ Charles
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Paranormal romance/mystery/ historical
Length: Short Story / 4,500 words
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Lovely disciplined writing gives a mannered witty voice to haunted comings and goings.
Blurb: When Robert Caldwell inherits a haunted house, he calls on ghost-hunter Simon Feximal to rid him of the supernatural menace. But the ghost is stronger than either man realizes — strong, angry, and desperate for release. Trapped in a haunted house with a dangerously attractive ghost-hunter and a sexually frustrated spirit, can Robert survive the night intact…and will he want to?
KJ Charles’ fabulous novel,The Magpie Lord is my stand out book of the year, I have an overwhelming urge to grab people on the street and tell them to buy it……. This writer works magic because I am now reviewing a short story, not only a short story but a very short short story, a form I don’t particularly enjoy as it is so rarely done well enough to excuse that obvious lack of words.
On Goodreads KJ Charles says-
“I wrote this Halloween short story with a tip of the hat to the greatest of the Victorian spooky detectives: Carnacki, The Ghost Finder. Robert Caldwell inherits a haunted house and a frustrated ghost, and hires a ghost-hunter to deal with it. There are sinister forces at work, the ghost-hunter has secrets of his own, and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to disclose that the ghost gets well and truly laid.”
The set up to this, is a letter to be read on the author’s death finally revealing the very risqué story of how Robert Caldwell first met the man he has accompanied for the last twenty years chronicling his accomplished career as a ghost-hunter. The letter is dated 1914 which made me concerned about how long after the letter was read, but that might just be my neurosis. Yet this also shows how this writer stimulates the reader’s imagination.
Robert’s voice is elegant, witty and somewhat mannered. Simon Feximal in contrast is a delightfully strong man of action and mystery. This atmospheric and mischievous period piece is a ghost story cleverly told. I am always aware of how crafted KJ Charles’ work is, the language selected with care and consideration building vivid visual pictures. The strength of the haunting manifestations correlates with the robustness of Robert and Simon’s physical encounters. This is not cheesecloth shrouded whimpering but rather walls dripping blood……
I particularly liked that additional sense I got of a relationship’s history, that this frightening situation was but the start of something long lived and powerful. It extends the experience and provokes thoughts about how rich and exciting those lives spent together must have been. A very good trick for a teasing and delightfully scary Halloween short story.
Sirius has just kindly told me of another short story Butterflies, that follows this one, it is free at this link – Smashwords
and is very enjoyable indeed.