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Publisher's Summary

A story too secret, too terrifying - and too shockingly intimate - for Victorian eyes.

Dear Henry,

I have been Simon Feximal's companion, assistant, and chronicler for 20 years now, and during that time my Casebooks of Feximal the Ghost-Hunter have spread the reputation of this most accomplished of ghost-hunters far and wide.

You have asked me often for the tale of our first meeting, and how my association with Feximal came about. I have always declined, because it is a story too private to be truthfully recounted, and a memory too precious to be falsified. But none knows better than I that stories must be told.

So here is it, Henry, a full and accurate account of how I met Simon Feximal, which I shall leave with my solicitor to pass to you after my death.

I dare say it may not be quite what you expect.

Robert Caldwell
September 1914

©2013, 2015 K. J. Charles (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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  • BR
  • 11-24-17

KJ Charles is magic

A Gothic supernatural romance is not my usual cup of tea. But I have never been disappointed in KJ Charles so I gave it a try. And was well rewarded with a great narrator telling creepy supernatural stories set in pre-WWI England. Main character Robert Caldwell has written countless published stories of the great ghost hunter Simon Feximal, now he shares stories to his editor that give the intimate background of the two men as long time partners. Robert's compassionate (and passionate) love for a difficult man makes this more than the average m/m romance. And Simon as a man hardened by the evil he fights, is a hidden true romantic adding more emotion than expected. Edwardian Britain is well described adding a nice atmosphere to the proceedings. Gary Furlong is a narrator I haven't heard before and will now keep an eye out for because of his great performance. My dearest hope is that he will be tapped as narrator for Spectred Isle as it is set in the same supernatural world. Quite frankly I look forward to anything audible puts out for KJ Charles if it continues to be of this quality.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful audio for one of the best books

Audio: I was worried about the audio for this book because Furlong narrates another book that I forget the title of and I hated it. I was worried that a book I love without measure would be ruined. But. No. He does an outstanding job with this story. His voice for Simon is swoonworthy, his voices are all distinct, and he does great with the accents. Fantastically well narrated.
This is one of two Charles' books that I haven't re-read compulsively. This one because it hurts at the end, in a hopeful way, but still painful. I adore this book, and, in it's way it may be the most(?) romantic relationship she's written. Two men that find a connection that, at first, shouldn't be broken, and then, eventually, can't be broken. How many romances have two characters that bind themselves together in such a permanent way? How many people would be willing to take on what Robert does to save Simon? Yes, this is her most heart breaking and strongest character connection.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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It's incredible

The Secret Casebook is already one of my favourite books, but the narrated version was somehow even better. Kudos to Gary Furlong for his incredible performance

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Holmes and Watson with ghost-hunting and sex

It's solidly written. I didnt rate it higher because I'm just not fond of twinks and the narrator is very, very twinky. Shrug.

The tone shifts a bit. The first chapter is a saucy romp, which I think was originally a stand-alone story. Later chapters, while still sexually explicit, have a more sombre quality. I enjoyed the tie-ins to literature of the period: Carnacki, M R James, "the fat man".

There's also an ever-present frustration from Robert, in being unable to publically declare his relationship with Feximal, to state that he is more than just a chronicler but the love of the man's life, and a vulnerability which the two are constantly aware of, the vulnerability of being charged with illegal sexual relations. And it makes me sad. (It's supposed to.)

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Simply Amazing!!!

Could this possibly be my favorite KJC work?? It could, maybe maybe maybe!!

Where to start? At the beginning of the book? Well, the beginning is also the end. And that makes me a bit misty because this secret casebook was to be published after the death of Robert and Simon. To know that they had an HEA is lovely, but to know what comes after that HEA—what eventually comes for us all—was discomfiting.

But, let’s shake it off and talk about our wonderful lovers, our MCs: River and Simon. This is Robert’s story, you see. The real story behind the man Simon Feximal.

Each section moves us chronologically from their first encounter to Roberts last penned account, topped off at the end with a note from the publisher who speculated on Robert and Simon’s end after WWI.

Each section focuses on a ghostly case in which Simon, the ghost hunter frees the ghosts by finishing their stories. Some are funny, others ghastly and troubling. But they all focus on the pair of lovers, their ups and downs.

Robert ends up being Simon’s assistant and chronicler as well as his lover. There was acceptance, pain and love in their relationship, which moved me beyond words at times. The love these two men feel for each other is palpable, yet not in your face. It simply “is” as surely as the moon and the sun; and just as surely you cannot doubt their existence, as you can’t doubt this love.

This story stuck with me. Has stayed with me several days. I’m assuming it’ll stay for awhile longer still. I’m not sure why, really. Maybe because of that beginning that’s the end that makes me happy and sad at the same time. Regardless the reason, JCP has wrought an amazing tale.

The story was further sparked to life with the luscious narration of Gary Furlong. I think he’s my favorite narrator at this point in time. His accents, voices and emotions are so spot on.

If you’re a JCP fan, don’t put this one off. If you’re a Griffin and Whyborne (JLH) you should read this since Whyborne reads The Casebook in one of the books, and the two couples do meet in the short story Remnant co-written by both authors.

Last words....I loved it!!!!

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    5 out of 5 stars

Brought me to tears at the end

I like this author very much. I own a t-shirt related to her Magpie series. But I have held off reading this book until drawn in by the start of the Green Men series, which takes place in the same world. I'm convinced that this is that rare book which is best enjoyed in its Audible version, in part because the reading brings the writing to life. The author makes Robert's love for Simon palpable. Ultimately, that is what this collection of stories is--the story of their developing relationship. There is a brief reference to a short, Remnant, co-written with Jordan L. Hawk, that is a cross-over of this world with that of Widdershins. I don't often listen to books more than once, but I think this will be an exception, it was that well read.

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loved this book!

Interesting story, with likeable, well-developed characters. The performance was excellent. The love story was believable, and the supernatural encounters were written well and scary. I will definitely read/listen to more books by this author.

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  • Bob
  • East Hampton,NY
  • 07-03-18

Clever and Sexy. A sort of ghost hunting Sherlock

What a great listen! Mystery and intrigue, paranormal, and steamy romance. Somehow I found myself listening much later into the night than I should.

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The performance sells this tale

The story is a bit middling (though it certainly improves throughout), but the performance/reading is absolutely stunning.

Gary Furlong has such nuance with characters that he actually makes their voices reflect changes in age. It's honestly incredible.

Really, though, if you like KJ Charles's other works, you will certainly like this one.

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Worth savoring

it's been a long time since I've really Savor the book, really gone back to read some of the parts at the beginning before continuing on. Gary is an excellent narrator, and I actually looked him up specifically for other books that he has narrated. I look forward to reading them. The story is beautifully written, and done with loving care not only for the history, but also for the characters. very happy that there is a character who neither identifies as male or female, especially in a Victorian novel. the parallels between this book and Sherlock Holmes is unmistakable, but I'm not frustrated with it as I am sometimes we had a books. It still feels very much like an original story

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  • Mary
  • 11-12-18

Amazing narration

I loved this story, although the ending broke my heart. The narration was perfection, and I couldn't have asked for more.

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  • M.
  • 03-18-18

Favourite book, lesser narrator

This is a favourite book of mine and I was very much looking forward to the audio. I find it hard to be critical of narrators, but I have to say that I found the narration rather monotone. Not so much the dialogues, and voices and accents are OK. But the narrative sentences all seem to sound the same, thus turning it relatively dull. The book deserved more.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful