Molly Boys (London Underside 1) by Vawn Cassidy

Molly Boys is the first in a new series, historical detective murder mystery, with some romance and with a supernatural twist.  

From the blurb:

London 1885:

For Lord Everett Stanley, escaping his fate seemed impossible. As the second son, he’s destined for
ordination and the life of a Reverend, but he’s hiding a dangerous secret. The laws punishing homosexuality by hanging may have been repealed but he and others of his kind are far from safe. Given no other choice, they take solace in the underground molly houses of London. Now that fragile world is threatened when the East End is rocked by a series of gruesome murders.

Inspector Archibald Franklin worked hard to overcome his working-class roots, making a name for himself as a respected inspector of Whitechapel’s H Division, but when he begins to investigate the deaths of several beautiful young men, fate throws him into the path of the handsome and enigmatic Lord Stanley. His gut instinct tells him the young lord knows more about the murders than he lets on, but the closer he gets, the more Everett calls to him in a way he’s tried to deny his whole life.

As a reign of terror grips London, they are drawn together in order to stop a monster, but for Archie, the growing feelings he has for Everett are a betrayal of the very laws he has sworn to uphold. And as the killer closes in, the two men find themselves bound together by a passion that may be their ultimate salvation or their utter destruction…

SNik's Review:

First in series (London Underside). Historical suspense. Soft cliffhanger. Slow burn. 

Lord Everett Stanley is on living borrowed time, his father is forcing him to take vows and become a priest, his sexuality is illegal and could get him imprisoned, and there is a serial killer murdering homosexual men in London. When Everett meets Inspector Archibald Franklin they share information about tracking the killer, and begin to find connections that may help them solve the murders, while trying to fight their attraction to each other. 

Archie and Everett do not meet until halfway through the book, so the story is very much a world-building and character introduction as well as a horror-filled suspense and investigation into a killer butchering men and the killer’s fixation on Everett being his next victim. 

I did wish for more background for each main character and Archie and Everett do not really spend much time together and do not know much about the other, so I am hoping that the romance piece will be expanded as the series continues. 

Very well written with dark and gritty descriptions, the book is definitely engrossing and an entertaining read. I’m very invested to see where this series goes.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Sheena's Review:

I am going to try and write this without spoilers, so if you're at all worried about spoilers then be warned now as I might inadvertently put something you don't want to see.

I've been anticipating this book so much, it ticks a lot of my boxes and I couldn't wait to get started. It starts with Everett (Ev) and jumps straight in on one of the 'Molly Houses' of the title. Ev seems kind of lost for most of the book, if I'm honest. As it's the first in a series I fully expect him to develop and you do start to see that towards the end of the story. I did like him, but got annoyed with him a little too, he was so aimless at times I could see why his brother got frustrated with him. I did like Francis though, he was so larger than life and his platonic love for Ev was wonderful to see. This story is written in multiple viewpoints, but it never got confusing, I always knew who it was I with at any time.

I thought this was a straightforward murder-mystery story with more than a touch of the Conan Doyle about it, especially with Archie and Shaw. Archie I did like too, realizing your preferences in that time cannot have been easy, especially given his profession in the police. I liked the investigation part of the book, it was really well done and I did NOT see that twist coming, that came out of the blue but I was here for it. I need to know more about the group we met at the end and I hope we do in the next book.

Archie and Ev were so sweet together, I was really rooting for them, but this is a slow burn and I was really left angry at the end of the story - to clarify, not angry with how it ended but with Ev's family, his father in particular. What a terrible, awful man who never deserved to have children at all. It's fair to say it ends on a cliffhanger and will definitely leave you wanting more - I know I do. When's the next one out? NOW? I NEED IT NOW.

Rating: 5 Stars

Molly Boys is available to buy as an ebook or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.