Title: Unfit to Print
Author: K.J. Charles
Publisher: KJC Books
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Genre(s): Historical Romance
Page Count: 185 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
When crusading lawyer Vikram Pandey sets out in search of a missing youth, his investigations take him to Holywell Street, London’s most notorious address. He expects to find a disgraceful array of sordid bookshops. He doesn’t expect one of them to be run by the long-lost friend whose disappearance and presumed death he’s been mourning for thirteen years.
Gil Lawless became a Holywell Street bookseller for his own reasons, and he’s damned if he’s going to apologise or listen to moralising from anyone. Not even Vikram; not even if the once-beloved boy has grown into a man who makes his mouth water.
Now the upright lawyer and the illicit bookseller need to work together to track down the missing youth. And on the way, they may even learn if there’s more than just memory and old affection binding them together…
This is quite a short story and as such, there is only limited space to develop the aspects of the novel. That is not to undermine what has been achieved here. Obviously there is the story of the relationship between the two lead characters but in addition, there is an exploration of the morality of pornography as well as fitting in the hunt for a missing person. There are two backstories, although only one is examined in any depth given its relevance to the plot. The character differentiation is interesting and both lead characters have personality characteristics that are well articulated. The downside of such a short story is that events are triggered and resolved in a simplistic way. Similarly, attitudes are quite rigid and without further development can appear contrived to fit the plot.
The relationship between the two lead characters is more of a re-kindling than a development. They have had different life experiences and their attitudes lead to alternate viewpoints, but there remains a common sense that this is an opportunity to resolve their outstanding feelings for each other. The sex is handled well, but the author does not dwell on it.
The pace of the story is steady. There are no real elements of tension, even those times where there is action. What tends to happen is that characteristics of the individual are revealed that allow for the scenario to be resolved. As such the reader is moved from scene to scene quite quickly.
The end of the story is a clear example of this, as themes are resolved without further exploration. All is neatly tied up and make this an interesting rather than outstanding read.
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