Fun but lacking a little
KJ Charles is the go to recommendation for anyone looking for historical LGBT novellas and while I normally really enjoy these little novellas, this one was just a bit lacking for me.
Our story starts with Gil Lawless, a bookseller who sells “questionable” content that includes erotic fiction and other outlawed paraphernalia. He’s been hardened slightly because of the cruelty of his family life and does not suffer fools. While cleaning out the home of a family member who treated him terribly, he discovers an entire library of fiction he would sell, as well as posed erotic photographs. In the photos are a teenage boy that Gil knew who was found murdered weeks before.
This introduces Vikram Pandey to the story, a current lawyer who is investigating a missing teenager who happens to be in the photos with Gil’s dead friend. Vikram and Gil went to school together back in the day and were close friends until Gil disappeared from school because of his family situation. Over time Vikram has become very high-strung and has a deep distaste for what Gil sells, partially because he has some repressed feelings.
Over time, Gil uses his abilities and knowledge of the world of erotica to help Vikram track down this missing teen, all while the two are falling for one another more and more.
Overall, this was a good little historical mystery but I feel like it suffered from not having much mystery involved. I wanted to know more of the mystery unfolding but the first half of the book was so heavy with backstory that it weighed it down a little for me. By the time we get to the end it felt a bit rushed to me, and we didn’t get a satisfying conclusion to the entire mystery that ran through the book. But it’s a fun, quick LGBT read and there are never enough historical LGBT fiction out there so I’m a fan.
Title: Unfit to Print
Author: KJ Charles