Some things should stay buried.
Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he's ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.
So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult that murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn't believe are real.
As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin's rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne's iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin's secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?
©2012-2013 Jordan L. Hawk (P)2013 Jordan L. Hawk
This is one of those rare audio books that will gently push everything else out of your head, a thoroughly engrossing tale told in a voice that will soothe, seduce and excite.
The characters in "Widdershins" are very compelling, and the narrator gives each just enough nuance without intruding on my freedom to imagine. The story starts tugging at my curiosity right off the bat. Within a few pages, I am drawn to Percival Endicott Whyborne -- he has an endearing clumsiness and is so shy I really want to follow him to see why.
The mystery unfolds at a tantalizing pace. Hints are dropped every few pages: a mysterious cipher needs translating, tied to a murder of a wealthy young man “in a seedy part of town.” As it escalates, the richly woven tale incorporates elements of the occult, an ancient Egyptian curse, a secret cult, hideous carnivorous monsters and more. And it is all experienced through the very accessible perspective of our very likable hero.
In addition to the scholarly Whyborne, the book is populated by several enticing players: the dashing detective Griffin Flaherty, the feisty and loyal Dr. Christine Putnam, and a colorful cast of thugs, hookers, pompous bosses and a creepy old-world ghoul. These characters are drawn so well that I can really see them as I listen.
The narration spirals in on you. The first few pages feel aloof and have some technical problems that are unfortunate, but these glitches soon clear up and the timbre of this narrator’s voice comes through clearly. He seems just right for Whyborne: youthful, intelligent, and hesitant, at first. But as the story progresses, as the character grows in confidence, the narrator seems to come closer to the reader’s ear. It’s a pleasant sensation, soothing and familiar.
There is also another sort of suspense, even more adroitly developed. When Whyborne becomes all aflutter over Griffin, the story takes on steam, building up an erotic attraction between two men that, in the Victorian setting, would have been extremely taboo. But this is not a “gay romance” so much as a good story that just happens to include gay characters. The story is erotic, but not tawdry. This is a firstly a suspenseful mystery, then a romance and a love story. Sex comes in due course, but it is not the center of the story. I like that, and the narrator is very good at imbuing these characters with just the right amount of personality to support the carefully crafted sensuality at which Jordan L. Hawk excels.
For me, there are multiple memorable moments in the tantalizing escalation of the romantic attachment between the two lead characters (who just happen to be men). I think this would work equally well for a man and a woman, but there are also unique aspects to a gay romance that the author captures with great sensitivity. The narrator is right there, making these increasingly-erotic encounters both believable and, admittedly, a bit arousing.
I suppose my favorite moment is when Griffin and Whyborne escape hideous monsters by setting off an explosion, and are blown out of the old house and land in the snow. The masculine, muscular Griffin lands on top of the slight, delicate Whyborne, pinning him down. There is a fantastically erotic moment, when Griffin gently asks Whyborne "What am I to do with you?" And Whyborne -- stepping across a hitherto taboo threshold -- says "Whatever you want."
That, and the ending, resonate for me as perfect renditions of a love story between two men, who are perfectly matched.
"Widdershins" is breaking new ground, I think -- moving the genre of "gay fiction" several leagues forward. It's hard to find quality fiction with prominent gay characters. So often, books featuring gay characters make that gayness the center of attention, and the story is all about simplistic sex and "hot" this and "hot" that, shimmering torsos and shallow dialogue. We are beyond that. Widdershins is a gripping story by a talented writer who totally "gets" the nuances of gay romance, read by a narrator who clearly knows whereof he speaks.
This was an interesting tale involving mystery and paranormal constructs that takes the listener on a journey of fanciful delight and sympathetic realism. Our protagonist, Percival Endicott Whyborne, begins the journey with such poor self-regard that one not only feels for him, but wants to slap him upside the head to make him realize his truth. Enter, Griffin Flaherty who see's in Percival what the reader see's and attempts to bring it to the forefront. There attraction and subsequent events are influenced by the times in which the story is told, yet love overcomes all...at least in fiction! Love, mystery, death, with a touch of mysticism are the tools that Hawk uses to tell this tale. Simmons, the narrator, does a great job reading this story. All in all, a great read and highly enjoyable.
Avid audible listener!
I really liked the story, even though there were a few difficulties with period references. For the first part of the story, I had a hard time remembering that the time frame was in the past. The book used both modern and historic references to items that didn't fit the period. I eventually just decided to *put* myself in the time frame and ignore the inappropriate references.
The narrator was difficult to get used to, but once I had, I was OK with the narration. Not the best performance, but OK. He needs to learn how to read passion.
I am not sure if I would rather read than listen.
It really was a good story with a reasonably fresh plot. I was surprised at the number of books this author has published as he seems to need either more experience or better research skills.
I know this doesn't sound like a good review, but I do recommend listening to it.
Oh, heck yes! As to why? Loved that it wasn't just a mystery, but had that added paranormal theme thrown in.
Absolutely love how Whyborne's narration keep true to character.
But would warn that when you first listen.
You may hear like a hollow effect in the back ground of the narration. This clears up or you've learned to ignore it as the storyline becomes more interesting. Also, there was a part or two where Griffin is whispering and I had a problem hearing what he said, but again that clears up also.
Basically tech problems that are easy fixes.
I love the narrator who read Widdershins! Except for one or two tech problems, he did a wonderful job and hopefully will narrate the next one.
Really felt like I was in that time period.
I like these characters, and I am driven to read each offering in the series as it is released. The narrator's best voice is that of Christine, which makes it hard to listen to his less-than-good attempts at Griffin and Whyborne. I think the author misses opportunities to make the relationship more compelling - but that doesn't mean I won't be buying the next in the series when it is released.
Say something about yourself!
The story is set in the late 1800s. The period details and manner of personal behavior and speech really brought the story to life.
The events of the evening that brought Griffin and Whyborne together are the most memorable for me.
Definitely Whyborne. The narration fit the character of Whyborne perfectly.
Unimaginable horrors create unlikely heroes.
The lead characters have weaknesses they must overcome. Whyborne and Griffin must take charge of their lives in ways they never imagined. They have to fight personal and real demons under the burdens of Victorian-period decorum.
it was nice and long but didn't feel that way, fun plot that felt real even though it was historical and supernatural. characters were really endearing.
i keep wishing for books that have both men and women in them, i find the single focus of m/m or f/f on one gender kind of boring, as if we don't have other people around us. smart, sarcastic, gun-toting christine was a fun addition - she doesn't tolerate moping and angst which as a reader i also hate.
the production value on the narration is not great. it took me a while to get used to the narrator who at first i thought would never have an inflection. but after 20 minutes i found his reading really peaceful and fitting for the main character. now i hope he narrates the next book.
I really enjoy the world of books! Narration just add layers to that world... don't u think? :)
The narration and recording is so bad, I didn't even make it past chapter 1. I think the book of this is fairly decent, but the audible version is just so bad.
Listening to Julian G. Simmons. Totally believable as Whybourne, young, innocent, & naïve.
the growth of Whybourne & Griffin's love and relationship.
As I said above, he brought Whybourne to life. He is young, hesitant since he has always been picked on, and innocent in the ways of the world. Julian was great at getting that personality across.
I am a 30 year old over-the-road truck driver. I listen to A LOT of audiobooks!
I am not really one of those people who gets in to "supernatural" books but this one was pretty good. The characters were well written, the storyline was interesting, and the ending had me on the edge of my seat, temporarily. Very well written with a good to great narration.
I loved this story. The main characters are brilliant and the plot intriguing. The narrator had a voice which truly fits the story.
One I will listen to again and again.
I hope the sequel comes out in audio soon.
"gaslight Cthulhu lite twink romance heavy"
When i read the description I expected a bit more of the occult, turn of the century gothic style detective noir romp.
What i got was a lightly smattered occultish, cthullhuish, noirish, gay sexual awakening with far to much attention on what was happening in the fawning protagonists trousers, a doe of a man who shambles through the story. i felt no love of the main character, far more for Christine the feisty Archaeologist with a back bone and Griffin the the main squeeze at least he had a gun. i guess i can describe the book as such one third gay awakening and soft core porn description, one third boring descriptions of non story telling devices and one part could have been a great Cthulhuish magicish noir romp. the performance was fine some fairly ropey accents and some parts could have been slightly more emotive but it was clear and well paced to listen.
well if this is part one maybe thats the doldrum out of the way and the next will be a better with a greater emphasis on the story plot. This is probably the first audio book where ive just wanted to skip the romance as it was almost cringeworthy, having just finished 100+hours of the last few Game of thrones books and having never felt the need to skip any it gives you some idea.
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