Wicked Gentlemen

Wicked Gentlemen

by Ginn Hale


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780978986117
Publisher: Blind Eye Books
Publication date: 10/01/2007
Series: Hells Below
Pages: 222
Sales rank: 698,298
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ginn Hale lives in the Pacific Northwest, donates blood as a pastime, and tinkers with things.

Read an Excerpt

The night hung in tatters. Gas streetlamps chewed at the Tdarkness. Candles cast dull halos through the dirty win- dows of the tenements across the street. Heavy purple clouds pumped

up from smoke stacks and patterned the sky like ugly patches on

a black velvet curtain. A few fi refl ies blinked from what corners of

blackness remained.

A pair of them invaded the darkness of my rooms. I watched

them flicker, darting through their insectile courtship. They

swooped past my face, circled, and then alighted inside the fold

of my shirtsleeve.

They crept close to one another, brilliant desire flashing

through their tiny bodies. Th eir antennae touched and quivered.

Th e female fi refl y reached out and stroked the male. He rushed

into her embrace. Holding him close, she crushed her powerful

mandibles through his head. Th eir fl ickering bodies blinked in

perfect unison as she devoured him.

Some romances end more badly than others.

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Wicked Gentlemen 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an enticing read and it was easy to feel like i was the character that was currently narrarating. Other than the pages being misnumbered and skipped by the loads the story carried on like each page was the next in my nook version. I thoroughly enjoyed the strength of the chracters and the underlying backstories that made them who the were. I loved the unpredictable nature of the book as so many are predictable these days. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for an original plot, steampunk romance, rocky relationships and ties, mystery and a healthy dose of sarcasm.
Kassilem on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is Hale's debut novel and it wasn't bad. I could have wished it was longer with more meat to it, but the story and the idea's Hale shares are gripping. I enjoyed the protagonists the most. You're not handed their past, it rolls out throughout the story. There's always something new popping up. The ending is a little rushed, but nothing too bad. It looks like Hale has some more books published. I'm sure I'll pick those up relatively soon. :)
imayb1 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is a really good book. The setting is a Victorian-era fantasy-place in which religion rules. Demons came to the surface for redemption and their ancestors live like second-class citzens.The book is separated into two parts-- each half told from each main character's point of view. Each half is like a stand-alone mystery. Both tales are fast-paced and entertaining. Though there is a romance between the two characters, I liked that it was never sappy or overtly emotional. I really enjoyed reading this one.
veevoxvoom on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Ah, I have such fondness for this book. The blurb on the front describes it as a "gothic, steampunk fairy tale" and that pretty much hits all of my pleasure points right away. This is the archetypal example of the kind of genre I like best, so I guess I'm biased because I would have liked it even if the story had turned out terrible. Which it didn't.Wicked Gentlemen is the story of a dark, corrupt city that has a population of Prodigals (descendants of fallen angels who later repented), and a tyrannical Inquisition. Enter Belimai Sykes, who has felt too often the rough hand of the Inquisition. Belimai is a Prodigal, a drug addict, and a wonderful narrator for the first part of the book. He meets William Harper, a self-contained captain of the Inquisition who is searching for his kidnapped sister.Belimai and Harper strike up a tentative working relationship. What's delightful is that the two are so different from each other and so willing to snark. And of course, there is the violence, the politics, and the slow, developing romance. My only quibble is that I wish the book had been longer. 222 pages didn't seem enough compared to the obvious thought Hale put into developing her world.
blakefraina on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Did you ever finish a book only to feel sad that you can never again open it anew and discover its delights for the very first time? Rarely if ever, I'm sure. Well for me, Wicked Gentlemen is one of those books. And I am completely envious of any lover of dark fantasy and/or gay romance who has yet to crack the spine on this gem. First time novelist Ginn Hale has created a world so tangible, so complete, that I felt as if I could smell, see, taste and feel everything right along with her characters. The basic premise, an alternate reality (resembling a gaslit, Victorian England) wherein a corrupt theocracy has called up the descendants of ancient Biblical demons (Prodigals) with promises of redemption only to ghettoize and oppress them, comments on a number of modern day social ills but never comes across as obviously didactic or preachy. In addition it has a complex plot, part mystery and part thriller, that's never short on nailbiting moments. But for me the most enjoyable aspects of the story were the two amazingly complex, yet subtly drawn, protagonists and the tender love story that develops between them. With her characters, Hale never hits a false note. She shows, never tells - meaning that one learns about the tortured, drug-addicted Prodigal, Belimai Sykes, and reserved priest/police captain, William Harper, from their actions, rather than a lot heavy handed exposition. They can be infuriating as often as they are endearing, but these contradictions only make them seem, like everything else in the book, utterly real. And they're sexy, too. This is a wonderful novel. I hope that positive word-of-mouth continues to bring it the legion of fans it deserves.
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing 5 months ago
In an alternative reality where the Inquisition rules and ostracized demons known as Prodigals live in the dark corners of the city someone is committing murder and someone else is covering it up. Belimai Sykes knows better than almost any Prodigal how important it is to stay out of the grasp of the Inquisition. Despite this, when Captain William Harper comes to him asking for his assistance in investigating the disappearance of his sister and the coinciding Prodigal murders, Belimai finds himself intrigued enough to give the case a shot. What he ultimately discovers could either lead to his complete destruction at the hands of the Inquisition or his salvation from a most unexpected source.This book was not much at all what I thought it would be. Basically this is two stories in one book. The first story is told from Belimai's point of view. He is a demon and an addict who dreads having anyone get close to him while simultaneously craving the companionship of another being. He is certainly an intriguing contradiction in characteristics and I really enjoyed getting inside his head. The second story gives us insight into Captain William Harper as he investigates the murder of a child and discovers a horrible cover-up. I found Harper to be as interesting as Belimai, although for very different reasons. He is too serious to lighten his point of view with sarcastic witticisms, but at the same time he is dedicated not only to the ones he loves, but to his very strong sense of what is right and what cannot be tolerated.Although I think the book description implies a very homoerotic overtone to the story, for the most part the stories more involved murder, mystery and justification of crime and punishment then of the relationship between the characters. Even though Belimai and Harper become involved early on in the story, there is only one scene near the end that highlights the physical relationship between the two. This is in no way a frilly, flowery romance and actually, if I were to compare this book to any I've read in the past, the Harry Dresden books would be closest I can think of. I really enjoyed this book a lot. The writing was straightforward and had just the right amount of description without being tedious or overly grotesque. I'd highly suggest this story to people who enjoy urban fantasies and murder mysteries.
amberwitch on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This book consists of two closely connected novellas, set in an early industrial fantasy world. They take place in a very urban capital, and has a gritty gothic feel, although there is no steampunk as the quote on the cover suggests. The language is poetic and powerfull, dwelling on the visual. Without going into too much detail, the world and the characters place in it is described, and the necessary background deftly presented as part of the narrative.The stories follow the development of the relationship between a Captain of the Inquisition and a Prodigal, as they deal with a series of murders, and a corrupt Inquisition. This is a world where the Inquisition holds absolute power, and the Prodigals - the princes of hell who ascented to earth and accepted baptism - are degraded to secondary citizens, confined to the Capital and Hells Below, unable to be acceptedit in polite society without hiding their race. Being tortured with scripture and blessed water by the Inquisition for the least infractions.The first book - Mr. Sykes and the Firefly - is narrated by Belimai Sykes, a junkie Prodigal - or demon - making a living as a P.I. of sorts. He is hired by the relatives of a disappeared woman to help them find her. Along with WIlliam Harper, the missing womans stepbrother and a Captain of the Inquisition, Belimai investigates. The investigation leads them to a grisly serial killing of Prodigals, and into each others beds.The second book - Captain Harper and the Sixty Second Circle - is told in the tirds person, from the point of view of William Harper. It takes place shortly after the first book, and deals with the danger of a corrupt Inquisition to both Belimai and William, when William discovers a murder his superior wishes blamed on someone else. The development of their relationship is deftly handled, and intrinsic to the plot.There are a few inconsistencies in the internal logic of the stories, but they are beautifully executed, and the separation in two novellas works wonderfully with the resolution of the separate plots and the differences in narrative styles, and it showcases the gothic setting beautifully.
krau0098 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This was a beautifully written book; I liked it a lot. The characterization is wonderful and the story engaging, driven and sweet.Belimai Sykes is a Prodigal, a human of part demon descent. Belimai has a tortured and horrible past and as a Prodigal he also has a number of intriguing powers, but it is his addiction that drives his life the most. When Captain William Harper shows up and asks for Belimai's help tracking down a serial killer that is killing and torturing Progidal's, Belimai is excited to do some of the investigation work that he is so good at. The plot though is bigger than either Harper or Belimai expects. Along the way Belimai and Harper will forge an unlikely bond with one another.This was a wonderful book. The writing and the descriptions are beautiful and breathtaking. I loved this book from the very first sentence "The night hung in tatters." The whole book is dark and moody; it has a bit of a steampunk feel to it. The plot was engaging and made the book difficult to put down. The book is broken into two parts; the first deals with the Prodigal serial killer and the second deals with Harper's fight against the entrenched authority of the city.The characterization was excellent. Belimai is a complex character with an intriguing past and a sardonic wit that hides layers of anguish. Harper is also more than he at first appears to be. The relationship between the two men is sweet, beautiful and complex. The sex scenes are not really all that explicit, but more sensual. Even the side characters are interesting and make you want to learn more about them.This book does deal with same sex relationships, but that is not really what the story is about...I think people would be doing themselves a dis-service to skip this beautiful book because of the GBLT aspect of it...at heart this is a fantasy/mystery not a social commentary. I am actual kind of surprised that this is classified as a GLBT book; to be honest this story reminded me a lot of Mercedes Lackey's Magic's Pawn (The Last Herald-Mage Series, Book 1) or Lynn Flewelling's Luck in the Shadows: Nightrunner, Book 1 (Unabridged) series. Both of these books feature same sex relationships but have never really been classified as anything other than fantasy.The book was light on action scenes, but the action scenes were well done. The world Hale created was intriguing, if not as broad as I would have hoped for. For the majority of the book you are stuck in the main city.All in all I really loved this book. It was a pleasure to read. The strongest points were the beautiful writing and the wonderful attention to characterization. I wish that I could read another book with these characters. I will definitely be keeping an eye on Hale's future works.
rivkat on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Original slash, set in a city dominated by the Inquisition, which focuses its wrath (and its corruption) on Prodigals, descendants of demons/fallen angels. Belimai is a Prodigal with an unusual talent and an addiction to painkillers brought on by earlier torture by the Inquisition; Harper is the Inquisitor who needs his help to save Harper¿s sister. They fight crime! The worldbuilding is intriguing but a tad underdeveloped for my taste, like the romance, but I could see trying Hale again.
GirlMisanthrope on LibraryThing 5 months ago
As I am currently in a steampunk-reading mood, I sought out this hard-to-find book. While I found nothing steampunky about it, I found it to be quite the gem. I love the gritty demon-filled world Hale has created. The demons (referred to as "unnatural men") are subjugated by the church, which is all-powerful. As I fell in love with Captain Will Harper (is that a hero's name, or what?!!) I could hardly put the book down and read it in one long marathon.
allthesedarnbooks on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I absolutely loved this book. It's hard to describe or categorize, but trust me, it's fabulous. It's not steampunk, but it does have a bit of a steampunk feel to it. It takes place in a world where demons moved up from Hell and converted to Christianity. Now the descendants of these demons, called "Prodigals", live as second class citizens. The Church runs everything, from the police to the banks, and the Inquisition is very active. Belimai Sykes is a drug-addicted Prodigal; William Harper is an Inquisition captain investigating a series of brutal murders of Prodigals and the disappearance of his own sister. They start working together and while there is physical attraction at first, it eventually develops into a tentative romantic relationship. Meanwhile, there is mystery and adventure.This book gets shelved with gay fiction, which is really a disservice to most fantasy readers, because it is much more of a fantasy adventure / murder mystery than a m/m romance. There are two love scenes, the first a tasteful fade to black and the second no longer or more graphic than the heterosexual sex scenes in mainstream fantasy.Ms. Hale's writing is lyrical, her descriptions evocative, and her characters realistically flawed and likable. I will definitely be looking to read more books by her. Highly recommended.
melonbrawl on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Two connected stories in a gothic-flavored urban-fantasy setting. I like the world Ginn Hale has built, her characters are sympathetic, and the structure of the book works well. Unfortunately, bloody vengeance is not to my taste. I'll be passing this one along.
DianeYu on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Yes, I know I'm bucking a trend of five star reviews with my three-star rating. Three stars means I did like the book well enough that I'm glad I read it, but it had problems too. Perhaps spending more than $16 to buy and pay shipping on the book (because there is not digital version available) gave me too high an expectation, so I'm going to try to be generous as well as be a critic.This book is made up of two novellas, for a total of 205 pages of actual story. Not a lot of story for the price, though Amazon's price has dropped a dollar or so since I bought my copy.For the story itself, I have to give the author credit for lovely prose. Hale can describe a scene that makes you feel the ominous or disturbing atmosphere. I really appreciated that until at times I realized this scene setting was taking up two paragraphs of nearly every page - only at intervals, but still it did slow the story down somewhat. I didn't need to know about the rugs, paintings, furniture, drapes, smell etc of every location.The world and characters she created were fascinating and had so much potential to be a full length novel. I felt deprived that that was not the case. Very little effort was put into describing the "rare powers" of Belimai Sykes, a demon, promised on the book's back cover. Other than being able to fly, as only a few of his breed could, I didn't get a sense that he was special.As characters, I really liked both Belimai and his love interest, Captain Harper. But my next gripe is that I was expecting a bit of romance, but the "love interest" did not become apparent until book two. There was one love scene actually described near the end of the book. Though I would have liked to see more romantic interaction, the end was satisfying and showed their commitment to each other.]The first novella is first person in Belimai's POV. The second novella is third person in Harper's POV with a disconcerting switch back to first person and Belimai in the last part. Very strange in my experience.Overall, Hale is an author worth watching, but I'm going be more careful about how I spend my book budget.
jshillingford on LibraryThing 5 months ago
"Wicked Gentlemen" is a delight! Hale has put a fantasy twist on a classical historical setting, The Inquisition. During that time in actual history, Roman Catholic zealots persecuted, tortured and killed many people in an effort to ¿find the truth¿ (forcefully convert those who didn¿t believe) and root out ¿heresy.¿ It was a shocking time in history, and as such, it is a dark but appropriate setting for this story. Generations ago, the priests of the Inquisition convinced the Lords of Hell to embrace salvation. The descendants of those demon lords are called Prodigals, and they are a heavily persecuted minority easily identified by their black fingernails and unusual eye color. Forbidden to leave the Capital city, or use their demon abilities, they are packed into the Prodigal ghetto called Hells Below. The Inquisition priests are the only law enforcement and use brutal methods to keep the Prodigals in line. One such Prodigal is Belimai Sykes. He was taken by the priests and forced to ¿confess.¿ During these interrogations, they addicted him to ophorium, and broke his spirit in the process. William Harper is an Inquisition Captain, who comes to Belimai for help in finding his sister ¿ known for her Prodigal sympathies. She disappeared after many Prodigals turned up mutilated and murdered. This unlikely pair will face dangerous obstacles, and uncover horrifying truths in their investigation. And though they know society will never allow it, they are drawn to each other¿.Hale¿s debut is astonishing and extremely well written. This is one of those rare books that stays with you long after you've finished the last page. The book flowed smoothly, with a lot of action and great dialog. Belimai¿s sly comments and secretive nature capture a reader, while Harper¿s deep desire for justice and happiness are all too real. These two men are so well developed, they come completely to life. They are deeply flawed people, who you can¿t help but feel for. Their relationship isn¿t instantaneous ¿ it builds with each chapter as the two become more entwined in the case, and each other. There is sex, but it isn¿t gratuitous, or graphic. In fact, those moments are revealing and touching as the two men try to find a moment of bliss in their dark world. The mystery of the missing sister and the murdered Prodigals is intricate, with surprising twists that keep a reader guessing what will happen next. Though the ending felt a little rushed, with everything coming to a climax in the last chapter, it was very satisfying. Hale has left room for a sequel, which I can only hope comes to be. I want to spend more time with Prodigals. Highly recommended.
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Joey301 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it and was very fond of the characters.
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