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REVIEW: “The Affair of The Porcelain Dog” by Jess Faraday


London 1889.

For Ira Adler, former rent-boy and present plaything of crime lord Cain Goddard, stealing back the statue from Goddard’s blackmailer should have been a doddle. But inside the statue is evidence that could put Goddard away for a long time under the sodomy laws, and everyone’s after it, including Ira’s bitter ex, Dr. Timothy Lazarus. No sooner does Ira have the porcelain dog in his hot little hands, than he loses it to a nimble-fingered prostitute.

As Ira’s search for the dog drags him back to the mean East End streets where he grew up, he discovers secrets about his own past, and about Goddard’s present business dealings, which make him question everything he thought he knew. An old friend turns up dead, and an old enemy proves himself a friend. Goddard is pressing Ira for a commitment, but every new discovery casts doubt on whether Ira can, in good conscience, remain with him.

In the end, Ira must choose between his hard-won life of luxury and standing against a grievous wrong.

Title: The Affair of The Porcelain Dog
Author: Jess Faraday
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Pages: 288 pages
Release Date: June 1st 2011
Purchase Links: Bold Strokes Books, ARe, Amazon


It’s not quite adoration, but I liked it very much!

The twists are not so twisty that you can’t see some of them coming, Lords or Crime and villains are not so credible in their vileness that they truly give you the chills, you may have to suspend disbelief once or twice, but the mystery is tight with a lot of protagonists and not one single loose end, the story is a mix of charm and action that manages to be light, entertaining and sombre (well, sort of) at the same time. The historical setting manages to be richly detailed and authentic without drowning the reader under informations and being weighed down by heavy realism.

Really, the cover sums it up perfectly : foggy atmosphere that is more sepia than dark, a story that rings true on several aspects, yet aims at entertaining more than reflecting reality, “The Affair of the Porcelain Dog” comes right from a long line of dime novels and serials. And entertain, it does.

In this regard, it owes a lot to its main character’s voice. Ira is self-centered and venal like someone who learned the hard way how to survive can be, but honest with himself and funny. His verve is smartly explained by a bit of Pygmalion magic and even though it perhaps requires a bit of faith to believe that he became so deft with language in only 2 years, it is such a pleasure to read him that I didn’t put any resistance. But more than that, beyond the mystery and the funny words, it’s Ira’s journey from survivor to grown man with the luxury of possible choices that is endearing. I really liked how this it isn’t preachy or sanctimonious, how it is as much made of unapologetic opportunism than growing awareness of right and wrong.

It has been said a lot that this story isn’t a romance. Indeed, it is not in the traditional way, but it’s nonetheless about growing feelings, about love, about a relationship that is a central point in a story where every discovery leads to another one. I wish Cain’s potential for being a truly intriguing character had been fully developped, but I guess it’s all about Ira. I enjoyed reading about them anyway.

I spent a really pleasant moment with Ira. Give it a try.

4 comments on “REVIEW: “The Affair of The Porcelain Dog” by Jess Faraday

  1. Kim W
    June 24, 2015

    I really like this series. The first book was good and the second book was better but the third book is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Ira has really matured and the mystery was really engaging. It’s definitely not a traditional romance and a lot of the reviews I saw of the third book were really angry about that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ilhem3606
      June 24, 2015

      I like that it isn’t a traditional romance or even a romance, I like that nothing in the development gives Ira an easy choice and I like Ira’s choice. It makes sense, all the more since this story is about easy versus difficult choices. That’s how I’ve read it anyway. Without that, this book would only be an nth m/m romance, perhaps one with a good writing but still an nth m/m romance among others.

      I can see what people were hoping for and understand why, but it makes sense and it’s a big plus as far as I am concerned. How did you find the mystery in the second book? I am currently reading it and I find that after a strong start, the story is wandering a bit. It’s a good thing I am already biased.:)

      Now, the best book you’ve read in a long time?! Can’t wait!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kim W
        June 25, 2015

        I don’t remember the second mystery clearly but I remember a lot of action in the story. I didn’t love the first or second book but I liked them very much and recognized how well written they were so I kept going. The third book just hit all the right buttons for me. Ira is finally a character that I can really like and I admire the choices he’s making now that he’s on his own. The groundwork is being laid out in the first two books so the shift is gradual and realistic. In the third book, he is still thinking with little head quite a bit so that’s realistic and entertaining too. It definitely gets him into a lot of trouble.

        I’ve been in a six month reading slump and nothing is engaging me. The only thing I’m consistently enjoying these days is fan fiction and this blog introduced me so thanks for that! :)


        • ilhem3606
          June 25, 2015

          Yes, fan fiction will save us all!:)


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This entry was posted on June 24, 2015 by in Historical, Mystery / Suspense, Reviewer: Ilhem and tagged , , , .

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