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Sunday, October 25, 2020
FALLOW, eighth Whyborne & Griffin tale from Widdershins, Massachusetts (near Innsmouth and Arkham)
JORDAN L. HAWK (Whyborne & Griffin #8)
$4.99, available now
Rating: 4.5* of five
The Publisher Says: When Griffin’s past collides with his present, will it cost the lives of everyone he loves?
Between the threat of a world-ending invasion from the Outside and unwelcome revelations about his own nature, Percival Endicott Whyborne is under a great deal of strain. His husband, Griffin Flaherty, wants to help—but how can he, when Whyborne won’t tell him what’s wrong?
When a man from Griffin’s past murders a sorcerer, the situation grows even more dire. Once a simple farmer from Griffin’s hometown of Fallow, the assassin now bears a terrifying magical corruption, one whose nature even Whyborne can’t explain.
To keep Griffin’s estranged mother safe, they must travel to a dying town in Kansas. But as drought withers the crops of Fallow, a sinister cult sinks its roots deep into the arid soil. And if the cult’s foul harvest isn’t stopped in time, Fallow will be only the first city to fall.
Fallow is the eighth book in the Whyborne & Griffin series, where magic, mystery, and m/m romance collide with Victorian era America.
SINCE WE'RE AMID THE FORMATION OF A NEW, DOUBLE-LOVECRAFTIAN GILDED AGE...WHY NOT SEE WHAT HAPPENED THEN?
My Review: The half star off is for the slithering jim-jams the Big Baddie in this one has given me. I am not sleeping for the foreseeable future. *convulsive shudder*
As predicted, sleep was elusive after reading this frightfest. I haven't had that response to any other book in the series but this one Did Me In. The name, "the rust," gave me all the horror-movie shudders I could ever (not) want.
Excuse me I need to bleach my every body part and scrub my innards with Lysol.
The main thrust of this story is betrayal. The awfulness of experiencing betrayal is, by definition, that it's only one's intimates that can perpetrate it. Author Hawk was so deft in portraying the double-edged sword of betrayal in each leg of the multiple relationships that underwent it that I can only applaud. All of the betrayals were very real, as in understandable and organic to the relationships involved. No overwrought "because I am eeeeeeviiiiiillllll" emotionality; instead the betrayals (very much in the plural) are simply fallible humans failing to reach for love when confronted by conundrums in coping with unmet expectations.
This is a phenomenon that all of us experience at some level, at some time; but gay people are a lot more likely than most US citizens to experience it, and more likely to have it come from within their families of origin; make no mistake, though, the betrayal also comes from Government and the social safety net bureaucracies as enabled by the filth and scum appointed by 45. In Griffin's uniquel awful case, he's experiencing the double betrayal of an adoptive family's rejection. It makes me want to unswallow when I think of the US Administration unleashing this life-defining, spirit-crushing betrayal on innocent children in 2020.
Along with the Big Baddie *wracking shudder* we're treated to Whyborne's meditations on Widdershins' magical vortex and its role in his life. We're given a short burst of Persephone Whyborne. We're teased with an oncoming apocalyptic confrontation. We're left to ponder the role of pragmatism in Whyborne and Griffin's mutual fate as allies become scarce. In short, book 8 is one helluva ride and I had a damn good time ripping through it.
Except for "the rust" *nauseated convulsive shudder* that is.