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While investigating the homicide of a John Doe who he suspects might’ve been murdered while working the streets as a prostitute, Detective Erik Lehnsherr finds an unexpected ally in a hooker named Charles who seems as determined as he to solve the case. As they become more deeply involved both with the case and each other, there’s just one thing that Charles neglects to mention—that he’s really an investigative journalist, one quickly convinced that what they’re dealing with is more than simple murder. (X-Men: First Class, Modern AU.)
Confessions and disclaimers: I’m not a fanfic person. I agreed to give it a go because I like trying new things and I love my blog. :D I’ve never seen even one of the X-Men movies. I don’t know what X-Men are. But I do know this: a story with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender ‘shipping is A-Okay with this gal (feast your eyes on the accompanying image, aka “Exhibit A,” ahem). I also know good writing when I see it, and wow, does Guilty by Association pack a punch!
Charles (James McAvoy) is an undercover reporter with his powerful father’s newspaper. Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) is a big-time detective. Separately, both are investigating what might be serial killings targeting local rent boys, and when the good detective unwittingly mistakes Charles for a rent boy—and then begins an affair with him!—you know deliciously bad/good things are bound to happen.
The mystery and world-building in this story were perfect, and I loved the whodunit component. I was guessing about perps right to the very end when all was revealed. I’d compare the writing to *almost* the same level as a Lanyon mystery (not quite as polished, natch). I admit I’m one of those picky types who can find herself on the outside of a book when grammar and spelling mistakes happen. I fully expected them here, this being free and fanfic, but Guilty was squeaky neat and clean.
The ending packs a thrilling little punch. One of our fair MCs—of course!—lands himself in hot water with the perp just before the big Scooby Doo-like reveal (don’t you love those?). When the case is solved, loose ends are tied and the bad guy gets carted off to jail, yippee! I’ve neglected to mention the supporting characters—they’re all awesome, especially Charles’ sister, Raven, and Erik’s work partner, Darwin.
Guilty by Association works for any reader, in my opinion, but I think it’d be especially appealing to those with X-Men character knowledge. The casting in Regann’s story plays perfectly, with each part feeding off/into the next. Even though the sexy time is mostly off-page, it was very…satisfying. I’ll absolutely seek out more from Regann; I might even be compelled to actually watch the X-Men: First Class movie now, too. J
Title: Guilty by Association
Fandom: X-men First Class / ErikCharles
Pages: 61,766 words
Release date: Jan. 10, 2012