Title: The Price of Meat
Author: K.J. Charles
Subgenre: alt history
Page Count: 61
Rating: * * * *
This novella is the first I’ve read from K.J. Charles, but it will not be the last!
Johanna Oakly is on a quest to get her beloved Arabella released from an asylum, where her greedy family holds her prisoner in the hope of claiming her inheritance. Things seem hopeless until another “patient” hints at a murder racket, and gives her the name of someone who might help, if she can only prove his case.
Enter Colonel Jeffery, a local magistrate. The two of them strike a deal: they will work together trap a murderer, and in return Jeffery will do everything in his power to ensure Arabella’s release.
I was hooked on this right from the start. Jo is an excellent main character, feisty and headstrong, and absolutely dedicated to her ladylove. The combination of her strong personality and Colonel Jeffery playing the “straight man,” is a great balance. The pacing was quick right from the get go, and it was dark and creepy without being graphic or glorifying the twisted acts of the villain.
This Sweeny Todd-esque tale reads like a part of a larger body of work, and I do hope it is part of a series (as yet, I haven’t been able to identify which one, if any, of her series it belongs to). Look for more KJ Charles books on my review list soon!
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