The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve

This is the second book in the Leo Stanhope series, and if you haven’t read the first one yet, The House on Half Moon Street, then please do, because you are missing out on a great book.

Leo gets called to identify the body of a woman who has been buried in the midst of a burrow of rooms and hallways that harbour a group of anarchists. His first instinct is to lie and his second one is to worry about who wasn’t found with the corpse.

Leo and Rosie end up as a sleuthing duo again in this story, although their relationship is quite rocky. Leo finds it difficult to forgive Rosie for what happened to Leo in that room. They need to have clarification on why Leo feels so betrayed. Not that it was her fault that they ended up there, but perhaps it has more to do with seeing his vulnerable side and being a witness to the worst thing that could possibly happen to Leo or Rosie. She has seen his shame, but then wasn’t she the one who opened that door?

The premise is absolutely refreshing. Reeve wants the reader to understand the limitations for transgender people in this particular era, which can’t really be compared to those in the 21st century. Although, to be completely fair there are still plenty of countries with laws comparable to those in the dark ages.

It’s historical crime fiction with a compelling main character. Reeve has a natural flair for crime and for telling a story. This isn’t a writer who has decided to throw in a transgender character to shake a genre up or be in vogue. He has created a main character with longevity and potential, and it certainly wouldn’t work if he wasn’t such a talented scribe. Luckily he is, which hopefully means we will be hearing a lot more from Reeve in the future.

Buy The Anarchists’ Club (Leo Stanhope 2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Raven Books; pub date 2 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve.

Follow Alex Reeves @storyjoy or @BloomsburyRaven onTwitter

The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve

I really enjoyed this intriguing crime mystery, perhaps because the main character is trying to live their best life, despite the many obstacles in their way.

Charlotte takes the brave step into independence and severs the ties between herself and her family in an attempt to live how she wants and love whom she wants. That life is being Leo, because for all intent and purposes he is a man waiting to walk free from the physical constraints of his female body. Free to love. Free to partake in the pleasures of a physical and sexual relationship. And this is where the story becomes a tale of crime, murder, unrequited passion and jealousy.

What Reeve captures really well is the inequality of gender in that particular time period, although to be fair some things haven’t changed much. He describes the privilege Leo enjoys as a man and then the oppression Charlotte has to endure in equal measures as a woman.

Although in our day and age it is considered more politically correct to assign the correct personal pronoun to Leo, I believe to do the story justice one has to speak of both Charlotte as a woman and Leo as the man Charlotte lives as and is on the inside. It’s important to acknowledge the difficulty, struggle and opposition Charlotte experiences because of her brave choice to live as the man she knows herself to be on the inside. The other side of the coin is the constant fear Leo lives with, because he fears he will be discovered. It would mean prison.

I’m a little disappointed this has been put under the genre of erotic transgender fiction on at least one major retailer. First of all any eroticism is only hinted at and secondly it means a lot of potential readers may not even consider reading this really well-written historical crime fiction story. It’s a cracking read.

I sincerely hope this is the first of many Leo Stanhope books and I’m looking forward to the second in the series, The Anarchist’s Club, in May.

Buy The House on Half Moon Street (Leo Stanhope #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Raven Books; pub date Dec. 2018

Preorder/Buy The Anarchist’s Club (Leo Stanhope #2) at Amazon Uk (pub date 2 May 2019)

Read my review of The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve.

Follow Alex Reeves @storyjoy or @BloomsburyRaven onTwitter