Who wouldn’t like a series of books that are intellectual, mysterious, paranormal and romantic?
Sometimes, it feels a little as if Jordan L Hawk has thrown a melting pot of genres into the Whyborne and Griffin novels, but instead of a goupy mess she has concocted delicious storytelling. Hawk’s author bio reads that she grew up on tales of haints and mountain magic, and those influences certainly come through in her books.
Perhaps this is part of the reason why the Whyborne & Griffin series — going strong after 6 full-length novels and a couple of shorter novellas — has such staying power.
First, there’s the intellectual: We’ll give this esteemed designation to Percival Endicott Whyborne, a scholar at the Ladysmith Museum who reads dead languages (and eventually learns the arts of sorcery). It could be argued there are plenty of other intellectuals in the book, such as Whyborne’s colleague, Christine, a noted archaeologist.
Then, there’s the mysterious: With Griffin Flaherty, an ex-Pinkerton detective, at his side, is it any wonder there’s plenty of mystery to these books? But unlike those old “whodunnit” mysteries, you can bet Whyborne’s skills will be just as necessary as Griffin’s to unravel the truth.
The Paranormal is Paramount, too: From monsters that can melt the skull of a man to a sorceress risen from the dead, Whyborne and Griffin find plenty of otherworldly forces to fight book after book. Each tale is painstakingly developed, with a scholarly dedication that befits the creator of Whyborne.
Last, but not least, is the Romance: Whyborne’s character begins as a repressed gay man determined to suppress his desires after the death of a friend he secretly loved. Griffin bears his own scars after a traumatic experience with the Pinkertons and a forced stay at an insane asylum. Throughout the series, their relationship evolves from attraction to love to commitment, weathering all the rocky points in between. As the series’ broader story themes develop, so does Whyborne and Griffin’s relationship.
I love gay fiction — from sweet romance to paranormal/fantasy — but even if you don’t particularly seek out gay themes in your reading choices, I urge you to explore this series. If you love books that are smart, mysterious, otherworldly and romantic, then this is the series for you.