Something Wicked
Grade : B+

Something Wicked is book three in Lily Morton’s Black & Blue series of paranormal romances set in York and featuring psychic Blue Billings, his boyfriend Levi Black, and their motley crew of friends and found family. I admit that I haven’t read a book by this author for a while – her regular brand of snarky contemporary romance has started to feel a bit stale and ‘phoned in’ to me – but as Something Wicked promised a real plot full of spookiness and danger, I decided to give it a go, and I’m glad I did, because it’s a cracking story that kept me glued to the pages from start to finish. It’s also a lot darker than Lily Morton’s other books and has some genuinely sinister (and gory) moments, even more than the other books in the series, so consider yourselves warned!

Blue and Levi have been together for two years, and are as much in love as ever. Things have settled down a lot since the events of The Quiet House and although Blue is still sometimes called on to use his psychic talents – when Something Wicked begins, he’s just returning home after a few weeks away dealing with a poltergeist – it’s been quite a while since he’s had to deal with anything that has really challenged him. However, just as he reaches the house near the Minster he and Levi call home, he receives the first sign that his quiet life is about to be seriously disrupted when his ‘crow’ – a spirit who is a kind of early warning system for trouble – appears to him with blood oozing from its eyes.

That’s not the only clue that all is not well. When he and Levi are out that evening, Blue has the uncomfortable feeling he’s being watched and later that night, he’s woken up by by the sound of the front door banging – the front door which, upon inspection, is closed and locked. As he makes his way cautiously around the house, he recognises the signs of spirit presence – and sees all the pictures on the walls are upside down, and the hands on the antique clock in the hallway are spinning rapidly – backwards. Making his way back upstairs, he enters the bedroom to see Levi still asleep in bed, and a woman sitting in the armchair by the window, a woman Blue is stunned to realise is his mother. Or, his mother’s spirit, anyway. Urgently, she tells him to be careful, that something wicked is coming, and not to let Levi go – they’re going to need each other. Then she’s gone.

Next morning, after Blue has caught Levi up with the events of the night, Levi answers the door to discover two policemen outside, asking to speak to Blue. He recognises one of them as Morgan Archer, whom he and Blue had met at Ingram Hall – the other is older, a miserable bastard who clearly has a number of chips on his shoulder and is there only at the insistence of his younger partner. Like everyone else in the city, Blue and Levi are aware of the gruesome murders recently committed by the killer nicknamed “Jack in the Box” - because they box up the dismembered body-parts of their victims – and that the police are stumped. Archer asks for Blue’s help – he’s heard that if a “psychic touches an item of clothing or something connected with someone, they can find out things.” - and presents him with a jumper that belongs to the most recent victim. Further discussion reveals that the first three victims were all homeless people, but the killer has changed it up this time around, because the owner of the jumper comes from a wealthy background with police connections – hence the increased pressure to get some answers and the visit to Blue. Realising that he is probably the only way that any of these poor people will get justice, Blue agrees to help.

The story that follows is a tense and creepy paranormal with a touch of the psychological thriller as the killings escalate and Blue and Levi realise that the most recent victims – homeless people who have a connection to Blue – indicates the killer is specifically targeting him. The sudden loss of his psychic powers – something he’d once thought he’d welcome - leaves Blue feeling vulnerable and adrift, and when he and Levi are forced to leave the home they both love, it sets him even more on edge.

Lily Morton proved, in the earlier books in the series, that she really knows how to bring the spooky, and she does that here brilliantly, creating a pervasive atmosphere of eerie uncertainty throughout and adding some truly shocking moments that pack a real, visceral punch. She balances these with scenes of humour and togetherness and friendship between Blue and Levi, Tom, Blue’s crotchety mentor in all things psychic, and their friends, Will and Jem (The Sceptic), who all rally round to help whenever and however they can. But the heart of the story is, once again, Blue and Levi and their relationship, which continues to evolve as they grow together and which has come such a long way since we first met them. Blue still has his moments of insecurity when he wonders why a guy like Levi would stay with a guy like him, but now, those are fewer and farther between and he is able to squash them easily by reminding himself that Levi loves him and that he loves Levi and the life they’ve building together, and that they bring out the best in each other.

Blue has come a long way from the skittish loner we met in The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings, but he’s still headstrong and has a tendency to take more risks than he should. So I was pleased to see him reining himself in a bit and pausing to think about consequences more than he used to. It doesn’t always stop him from going off and doing his own thing, especially when he fears for the people he loves, but it shows how far he’s come that he’s prepared to accept help when it’s offered. And while waspish, smart-mouthed Blue is the star of the show – most of the story is related from his perspective – solid, warm Levi continues to be his anchor, his level-head and his devotion to Blue keeping his man tethered to reality in a way even more vital than before.

Something Wicked is filled with chills and thrills, warmth and humour, and friendship and love. A couple of loose plot-points and inconsistencies mean the book doesn’t quite make DIK status, but I nonetheless enjoyed it a lot - it’s a fast-paced, entertaining read and I’m happy to recommend it.

Reviewed by Caz Owens
Grade : B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : January 3, 2024

Publication Date: 01/2024

Recent Comments …

  1. I really enjoyed Elsie Silver’s Chestnut Springs series. My favorite was Reckless, because I adored the hero. I am looking…

Caz Owens

I’m a musician, teacher and mother of two gorgeous young women who are without doubt, my finest achievement :)I’ve gravitated away from my first love – historical romance – over the last few years and now read mostly m/m romances in a variety of sub-genres. I’ve found many fantastic new authors to enjoy courtesy of audiobooks - I probably listen to as many books as I read these days – mostly through glomming favourite narrators and following them into different genres.And when I find books I LOVE, I want to shout about them from the (metaphorical) rooftops to help other readers and listeners to discover them, too.
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