Last Violent Call
A Foul Thing; This Foul Murder
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Chloe Gong comes two captivating new novellas surrounding the events of Foul Lady Fortune and following a familiar cast of characters from the These Violent Delights Duet!
In A Foul Thing, Roma and Juliette have established themselves as the heads of an underground weapons ring in Zhouzhuang, making a living the way they do best while remaining anonymous in their peaceful, quiet life. But when they hear about several Russian girls showing up dead in nearby towns, they decide to investigate—and ultimately discover that this mystery is much closer to home than they ever imagined.
In This Foul Murder, Benedikt and Marshall have been summoned by Roma to find the elusive scientist, Lourens, and bring him to Zhouzhuang. Time is of the essence aboard the week-long Trans-Siberian Express, but when someone is murdered on board, Benedikt and Marshall convince the officer in charge not to stop the train so that they aren’t thrown off-schedule. Instead, they pretend that they are investigators and promise they can solve the murder, but as they dig deeper, they realize that the murder might having surprising ties to their own mission…
The year is 1932, and 1926 Shanghai is calling… Roma, Juliette, Benedikt, and Marshall return in a triumph of love, longing, and adventure.
If SimonTeen doesn’t chose that as a blurb to put on a Goodreads banner again, I also use the simple yet effective phrase of “vroom vroom choo choo” to discuss just how fun LVC is (choo choo!!!).
Okay, I read the dedications and screamed both times, had to take some deep breaths, and even I knew they’d be back, it was, it was something. Miss Chloe Gong has a special talent for leaving you attached to every character, and reading the words “Roma and Juliette” and “Benedikt and Marshall” was therapy. FLF itself is a retelling of As You Like It, a Shakespearean comedy, but LVC is just Chloe inserting as many jokes and suggestions into 230 pages as you can.
Remember, our friends are now older, so Chloe really starts toeing the line of jokes between YA and adult. There was one part we both laughed about somehow making t in to the final version, and since we’re months and months from release, I won’t even try to sneak it into this review, but oh my God. Well, the whole book is like that. Funny, the way Mister William Shakespeare would’ve wanted, but I also want to say there’s just so many little references and parallels, both to past Chloe books and other things. After three books of emotional torture and giving us hernias, Chloe Gong is providing therapy the only way she knows how - by sticking her beloved characters into sticky situations that ultimately, lead to a violent resolution. That’s not a spoiler, before anyone thinks that. The title is Last Violent Call and the BenMars novella is titled This Foul Murder, because Chloe can’t go ten minutes without writing the “violent” or “murder” somewhere.
We also meet new characters in LVC, as well as discover what some of our foul players in FLF have been up to behind the curtains. If you’re sneaky, you may have picked up on who and what, but Chloe is a mastermind and things you didn’t expect to connect are connecting!! More lore! Of course, the novellas are there to set you up for FLF 2, but they also have a plot within themselves, like the fun adventures our favourite ships go on. Marshall is once again dragging Ben into his schemes, Roma says “I told you so,” when people realize Juliette is stabbing them, and there is a plethora of dead bodies on the ground, including one unfortunate incident when a character loses his soup. Besides that, there’s much (immortal) longing to reunite with our friends back in Shanghai, and new friends, too!
I’m personally really intrigued to see where the new characters will lead the story to, but Juliette and Roma’s interactions with the newest ship were so sweet, and I teared up a few times when they did, too. I think Chloe did a great job not only providing us with sickly sweet fluff of characters she put through hell, but also weaving a plot web for FLF’s sequel, out also in 2023. The new characters bring a new light into the world of Secret Shanghai we haven’t really seen before, since neither of them are torn from politics and power but something else. It also makes you question the motives of some… other characters, which I’ll leave for you to find out.
As we are still far from February 28th, 2023, as I write this in November, I will end it here, but remember to preorder or leave a library request if you can, and I hope you find it as wonderful as I did! Sweet relief after FLF, for sure. All the stars for my faves and their happy endings.
Once again, much love and thanks to Miss Chloe for sliding me an early version! Thank you, bestie, and please be kind to them in FLF 2, please.