Moonshine (Jia’s review)

Title: Moonshine
Author: G.D. Penman
Publisher: JMS Books LLC
Release Date: May 26th 2018
Genre(s): Gay Historical, Mystery, Horror, Erotic Romance
Page Count: 41 Pages
Reviewed by: Jia
Heat Level: 1 flame out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5


A body in the mud by the Miskatonic River is just an average day for Detective Vergil Levard. But when the cadaver shows signs of something more sinister afoot, Vergil is forced to make a deal with the devil and work with the leader of the local bootleggers, Jimmy Hogan, to track down the killers.

If Vergil were a normal copper, the strange sigil wouldn’t have meant anything to him. If Hogan were a normal mobster, Vergil wouldn’t be falling for him. And if the fishing village of Innsmouth were a normal smuggler’s front, neither of them would have to fear for their sanity.

With darkness closing in and some terror from the deep creeping up behind them, Vergil and Hogan have nothing left to hold onto except each other.

Even though Moonshine is a standalone story, there are things not explained much in the story and if you look up Lovecraftian horror romance you’ll get a wider understanding for this story. But I recommend you look it up after you read this story if you don’t already know about Lovecraft.

I liked Jimmy Hogan’s seemingly laid back attitude and Vergil’s more cautious one and they were an interesting match I would have enjoyed getting to know more of, a bootlegger and a copper most likely wouldn’t go well with Vergil’s boss. I would also have liked to get to know more of Vergil’s past.

I liked the scenery and feel the author did well in creating a fitting atmosphere. It takes place in the fictional city Arkham, most likely in the 1920s going by the mention of the Volstead act and the Prohibition, but also because of the slang. Which I had an interesting time looking up. Since I’m not an English native speaker, many of those words have gone under the radar for me. There were also referrals to ‘Joe Brooks’ and ‘Bruno’ which I had no idea who they were but curious me had to look it up.

I do find the story a wee bit confusing at times when they talk or explain things, partly because I don’t have any pre-knowledge about Lovecraftian horror, but also I felt it could be better explained in the story. For example why did it run? I know what was said but it still confused me. If you read the story you’ll know what I mean.
There were some questions raised that I didn’t get answers to and left me wondering after the end. Therefore I could very well see there being a sequel to Moonshine, although I don’t believe there’ll be one, as of yet anyway.

Personally I would have wanted more horror, something that took a hold of me, making my heart beat faster but it’s a good, interesting story I would have given a higher rating if there had been more details and explanations woven into the story so it didn’t leave me confused. Of course if the author intended the story to target Lovecraftian fans it may not be as needed. However, I prefer the story to be a story with all the facts so anyone can read and not be left wondering.

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Galley copy of Moonshine provided by JMS Books in exchange of an honest review.


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