London, 1889. In Jess Faraday’s The Affair of the Porcelain Dog, Ira Adler, former rent-boy and current boy-toy of crime lord Cain Goddard, promises to steal back a priceless statue from a crafty blackmailer. He thinks it will be a simple job—until he discovers the statue hides evidence that could put Goddard away under the sodomy laws.
Everyone’s after the statue, including Ira’s bitter ex, the brilliant Dr. Timothy Lazarus. No sooner does Ira have the titular porcelain dog in his hands than he loses it to a wily, nimble-fingered prostitute. The hunt for the cursed dog drags him back to the East End streets where he grew up. Discovering secrets about his own past and Goddard’s present business dealings, Ira suddenly must question everything he knows.
Soon, an old friend turns up dead, and a rival proves to actually be a friend. Goddard is pressing Ira for a commitment, but every new discovery casts doubts on whether Ira should stay with him. In the end, he must choose between his hard-won life of luxury and standing against a grievous wrong. Can Goddard be trusted? Can anyone? This is a treasure hunt, murder mystery and love story all in one!
I've always been fond of Victorian era mysteries and this one is not only good it is simply outstanding! Jess Faraday takes you into a very bleak, dangerous and inhuman realm. A world without mercy. But despite all this, she's able to deliver a beautiful and romantic story.
This wild ride begins when Ira Adler is sent by his lover, crime lord Cain Goddard, to retrieve a certain porcelain dog from a blackmailer which contains dangerously incriminating evidence linked to his mysterious past. Where it should have been very easy, it was anything but; as soon as he gets it, it is stolen again! And the more you read, the less you know ...
From that moment on, Ira's fragile but comfortable new life begins to collapse little by little and he finds himself entangled in a murky and perilous situation involving the very worst of this underworld. And in spite of his best efforts, he is forced to revisit a past he wanted to forget and never to face again.
The more Ira uncovers Cain's present and past the more he begins to ask himself questions. Eventually when the whole truth is revealed, he will have to make a very important and life-changing decision.
Ira and Cain are two wonderfully flawed characters who have a strange romantic relationship. Ira is very easy to like, as for Cain it's another story. He is much more difficult to appreciate because of who he is although he's certainly a generous man when it comes to Ira. He's very dangerous and intriguing. Throughout the novel we are able to see Ira evolve and mature and become aware of some important things that he couldn't really understand or maybe wasn't willing to acknowledge. I love the fact that Jess Faraday didn't choose an easy and predictable ending and that she stayed true to Ira's state of mind.
This book was a real treat to read. This clever multi-layered mystery skillfully combined with some very strong characters will definitely keep you in suspense until the very end. I highly recommend it. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel and any other books from this marvelous writer. I enthusiastically give five stars!