Title: Draakenwood (Whyborne & Griffin #9)
Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Publisher: Widdershins Press
Release Date: June 2, 2017
Genre(s): Gay Fantasy
Page Count: 246
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Widdershins has been unusually quiet for months. But now a mysterious creature from the Outside is on the loose, assassinating members of the town’s old families by draining their blood. Whyborne and Griffin set out to solve the mystery—but as the evidence piles up, the police begin to suspect Whyborne himself is the murderer.
Now Whyborne must both clear his name and stop the horrors the monster threatens to unleash. His only hope: an alliance with his old enemies the Endicotts.
Because something terrible lurks in the Draakenwood, and it will stop at nothing to seize control of the maelstrom itself.
Draakenwood is the ninth book in the Whyborne & Griffin series, where magic, mystery, and m/m romance collide with Victorian era America.
As with other books in the series this is a standalone story but builds themes and characters introduced in earlier books. Consequently, it cannot be fully appreciated without that background understanding. This covers not only the major books in the series but also the short stories as these are referred to in this story. The author is very good at weaving a tale that is credible and exciting. The format is the same as her other books in the series in that each chapter is told from the point of view of one or other of the two protagonists. As a mechanism this works well and fills in the gaps in context and allows for a broader scope. New characters are introduced in this story and are fully developed personalities that aids in the credibility of their actions.
Sadly, like the other books in the series it is the intimate relationships between characters that frustrates. These are characterized by petty jealousies and misunderstandings that, whilst understandable to a certain extent in the earlier books, add nothing to the progress of the story. Stilted language and mannerisms are appropriate for the era in which it is set, but it seems that to the author this goes far deeper. It is difficult to believe however that relationships were constantly strained during the period and does not sit comfortably with a modern reader.
The pace of the story is maintained at a pace that draws the reader in and supports the excitement of the tale as it unfolds. It is marked by both serial and parallel action which is managed through the chapter format
At the end of the story all loose ends are tied but a strong hint is provided as to the likely focus of the next book. Despite the fact that the series is now on its 9th full novel the author still manages to come up with interesting and exciting storylines.