Stormhaven is the third book in the Whyborne and Griffin series by Jordan L. Hawk. These books are not your average paranormal mystery. Though they carry the whimsy and voice of a cozy mystery, they are steeped in Lovecraftian darkness, and interwoven with unapologetic homoeroticism.
Whyborne, the POV character for the books, is a bookish academic with a passion for dead languages and a rather surprising, unexpected talent for the supernatural. His lover, ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty, is a private detective with a haunted past. Naturally, the two manage to find all kinds of trouble to get into together.
I suck at summaries, so I’m not going to bore you with much more of that. Instead, let’s get into the meat of Stormhaven. Since this is the third book, there is plenty in it that references the events of the two previous installments, Widdershins, and Threshold. If you haven’t read them, I absolutely recommend beginning there. Especially since Threshold was a god damn amazing story.
In Stormhaven, the horrors hit a little too close to home for the titular pair. Someone from the museum where Whyborne works is accused of murder, and the trail of clues leads them right to the doors of the Stormhaven Lunatic Asylum. Given Griffin’s unsavory, and all-kinds-of-traumatic past, this is not a welcomed development in any sense of the word. And thus commences a wild tale of murder, cults, ancient gods, and wild magics wrapped up in the delightful packaging of a historical romance.
I didn’t find Stormhaven to be quite the page-turner that Threshold was, to be honest. Which struck me as a little weird, because Asylum horror is one of my favourite horror aesthetics, and everyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with everything remotely sea-related, and this book combines the two! It felt slow paced to me, comparatively speaking, and when I put the book down, I often didn’t really think of it until I picked it back up again. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, persay. It just wasn’t gripping to me.
Despite the pace not agreeing with me personally, there was a lot in this book Jordan L. Hawk did right, in my opinion. Whyborne and Griffin’s relationship dramas were well done. I cared about them. I wanted to see them through the stressful visit from Griffin’s family. I wanted Griffin to prove all Whyborne’s anxieties wrong. I wanted Ruth, Griffin’s ‘cousin’ to break out of those dang womanly expectations. And I sure as hell wanted to know what was going on up at that dang asylum. The cast of characters were downright fascinating, and each one felt well-rounded like they had their own story to tell.
But. There is a but. A good but. BUT, all that struggle to be gripped I mentioned before? Soon as the climax hit, that went right out the window. Holy shit, guys, I never like climaxes. I’m all about the journey, man, and climaxes are often all about the predictable action and tying up loose ends, and void of character development. But this fucking book, it swept me away with the tide. Vast, vivid descriptions dominated a bloody, violent action sequence. Instead of foregoing character dev in favour of adrenaline, all the explosions in this book were dripping with character dev. Whyborne was a force to be reckoned with. This guy is getting stronger with every book, and I am living for it.
I reviewed the first and second books of this series too!
Threshold by Jordan L Hawk: A Review
This is a review of the second book in the Whyborne and Griffin series. Whyborne and Griffin novels are paranormal mysteries with a dominant thread of historical m/m romance.
M/M Book Review! “Widdershins”
Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk, is an M/M paranormal mystery and the first of the Whyborne & Griffen series. Whyborne, the timid, scholarly main character, behaves awkwardly in every sense of the word as he tries to navigate his forbidden attraction to the charming detective he’s forced (at first) to work with. That attraction grows…