Title: Deviant Desire
Series: The Clearwater Mysteries Book One
Author: Jackson Marsh
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Romance, Historical (London 1888)
LGBTQ+ Category: MM pairing (rich/poor, older/younger by 10 years)
Publisher: James Collins
Word Count: 100K
About the Book
The Victorian East End lives in fear of the Ripper and his mission to kill rent boys. Silas Hawkins, nineteen and forging a life on the streets could well be the next victim, but when he meets Archer, his life changes forever. Young, attractive and rich, Archer is Viscount Clearwater, a philanthropist, adventurer and homosexual.
When Archer suspects the Ripper is killing to lure him to a confrontation, he risks his reputation and his life to stop the madman’s murders. Every man must play his part, including Silas.A mashup of mystery, romance and adventure, Deviant Desire is set in an imaginary London of 1888. The first in an on-going series, it takes the theme of loyalty and friendship in a world where homosexuality is a crime. Secrets must be kept, lovers must be protected, and for Archer and Silas, it marks the start of their biggest adventure – love.
Archer Riddington, Viscount of Clearwater, is working on a plan to help the less fortunate, that survive in the East End of London, especially the “renters”. Archer is different, in more ways than one, he want’s to move on from the old ways of living. While the East End is plagued with the “Ripper” murders of “renters”, Archer has his own theories and is looking deeper into solving the horrific murders.
Thomas Payne, footman, to Archer, have known each other since a very young age. Even though their stations in life are very different Archer want’s to build a friendship with Thomas. Thomas, too has secrets, but he reluctantly becomes Archers friend and finds himself caught up in Archers theories of the murders.
Silas Hawkins and his best friend Andrej live on the streets in the East End. They are both “renters” and do their best to survive. Andrej is loyal to Silas and has made it his job to protect Silas. Both Silas and Andrej have to be very careful living in the East End, as they know they could be the “Rippers” next victim.
As Archers plan starts to unfold, the first task is to have Thomas carry out his request. It takes Thomas into the East End to persuade Silas to come with him to Clearwater. After much chaos, Silas and Andrej find themselves on the way to Clearwater and are curious to find what lays in-store for them.
As Archer reveals his plans to this unique group of men, they form a bond. As they all strive to catch the Ripper, is there someone else in their midst that can reveal their secrets and destroy their lives?
I totally enjoyed this first time read for me by Jackson Marsh. He created a classic murder mystery with a twist and I was stumped a few times in trying to figure out who the “Ripper” is. The plot is also suspenseful, with danger, action and loaded with great and interesting characters.
He takes us back to the East End of London in 1888 and gives a very vivid description of what life is like on the streets and the people who have to do what they need to survive. The colorful language peppered throughout also lends to the time frame of the story.