Okay, the real answer to the question “what I’m reading?” feels a bit like an end of term to-do list. This is the first year I signed up to judge the RITAs and so I’m juggling manuscripts from a bunch of critique partners, plus my seven RITA books.
Honestly, my toddlers are having so much fun thumbing through the paperbacks (because, apparently, they’ve never seen/held grown-up books, since its all e-readers all the time at my house) that they’ve read more of the books I’m judging than me. And my two year old DD loves the pictures of handsome men, and the “princesses” in historical gowns.
I know, go ahead and play me your tiny violins, I’m dying the sweet death of drowning in romance novels!
All that is to say that I’d hoped to be further along in Iron and Velvet by today, for this post. I’m delighted that Alexis has agreed to be my guest for a Friday conversation (on Valentines day, no less!), and I have every intention of finishing the book by then so I can ask him informed questions.
A few chapters in, here’s what I can tell you: I adore this book. It has totally hooked me.
It’s got that dark, delicious noir feel that I adore in mystery novels, including great, reluctant sexual tension. The prose reads beautifully–it’s lush and descriptive without being cumbersome.
From the reviews and essays he’s written online, Alexis is known for his voice–he’s witty, sharp, and sometimes droll. I’d heard this voice translates well into his fiction, especially in his contemporary M/M Glitterland. Iron and Velvet does not disappoint! Kate’s voice is engaging from the get-go:
“I couldn’t be arsed to shower, so I threw out what had been yesterday’s clothes yesterday, and made myself a breakfast of reheated coffee and ibuprofen.”
That’s irresistible, right?
Also irresistible: a lesbian in the traditionally male role of a noir detective. The fact that a man writes her into that role makes it even better, and I plan to ask him some of the obvious questions about gender (I can’t help it, I’m curious!).
When Kate meets her new client, the book sizzles with their spark. I like M/M, M/F, and F/F, as long as the characters and conflict are good. I can’t say yet whether this book will appeal to people who don’t usually like F/F, but my suspicion is yes. The world building is very good so far–well paced, rich, with a good ratio of familiar paranormal elements and original stuff.
I was expecting the great voice, but I didn’t know Hall is the master of the gripping chapter end that compels you to keep reading. You know, like Dan Brown, but with good writing. Honestly, its a wonder I put Iron and Velvet down in the first place. I haven’t picked it back up because I’m certain I would have to stay up all night to finish it.
First rule in this line of business: don’t sleep with the client.
My name’s Kate Kane, and when an eight-hundred-year-old vampire prince came to me with a case, I should have told her no. But I’ve always been a sucker for a femme fatale.
It always goes the same way. You move too fast, you get in too deep, and before you know it, someone winds up dead. Last time it was my partner. This time it could be me. Yesterday a werewolf was murdered outside the Velvet, the night-time playground of one of the most powerful vampires in England. Now half the monsters in London are at each other’s throats, and the other half are trying to get in my pants. The Witch Queen will protect her own, the wolves are out for vengeance, and the vampires are out for, y’know, blood.
I’ve got a killer on the loose, a war on the horizon, and a scotch on the rocks. It’s going to be an interesting day.
Have you read the book? Added it to your TBR?