Book Reviews

The Gangster (Magic & Steam 2) by C.S. Poe at Emporium Press

Genre Gay / Steampunk / 19th Century / Agents/Spies / Romance / Action/Adventure
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 18-January-2021

Book Blurb

1881—Special Agent Gillian Hamilton, magic caster for the Federal Bureau of Magic and Steam, has recovered from injuries obtained while in Shallow Grave, Arizona. Now back in New York City, Gillian makes an arrest on New Year’s Eve that leads to information on a gangster, known only as Tick Tock, who’s perfected utilizing elemental magic ammunition. This report complicates Gillian’s holiday plans, specifically those with infamous outlaw, Gunner the Deadly, who promised they’d ring in 1882 together.

The two men stand on the cusp of a romance that needs to be explored intimately and privately. But when Gillian’s residence is broken into by a magical mechanical man who tries to murder him on behalf of Tick Tock, he and Gunner must immediately investigate the city’s ruthless street gangs before the illegal magic becomes a threat that cannot be contained.

This might be their most wild adventure yet, but criminal undergrounds can’t compare to the dangers of the heart. Gillian must balance his career in law enforcement with his love for a vigilante, or lose both entirely.


Book Review

“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is sign on as its accomplice.” ~ Tom Robbins

When Gunner and Gillian, of ‘The Gangster’ by C.S. Poe, last saw each other, Gunner promised that they would be reunited on New Year’s Eve. Although Gillian tries not to think about Gunner and how much he yearns for him, he is counting the days. Unfortunately, his job as a special agent interferes with their plans. Instead of being upset about it, Gunner not only understands but joins in with the investigation.


Before they can even get reacquainted, they are interrupted by a mechanical man who barges into his apartment to try to kill Gillian. Between Gillian’s magic and Gunner’s illegal and highly efficient Waterbury pistol, they overtake the criminal. Before they can continue with their date, Gillian’s boss shows up to find out why Gillian hasn’t been answering his calls. Gillian fills him in on what has just happened. Gillian’s boss, Director Moore, was calling to let him know that the criminal Gillian just brought in had been murdered in his cell. When he sees Gunner there with Gillian, he is furious and jealous at the same time. However, after comprehending why Gunner is there, even though he has every right to, in fact, a duty to be, he doesn’t arrest the outlaw right away.


After his boss leaves, Gillian isn’t sure whether he has been fired or worse. Shortly, Moore calls to tell him to come to the station and bring “him” along because his special expertise may be handy in helping to figure out how a suspect was killed in police custody. Between the three of them, they come up with several theories about who could have done it and why. During the conversation, Gunner does something that Gillian knows he never does; he lies to cover for Gillian. It shows Gillian just how important he is to Gunner, how much he cares for Gillian, and how far he will go to protect him. Gillian wants to believe Gunner’s feelings for him are real, but wonders whether, if Gunner knew the truth about him, he would not feel the same way.


Gillian and Gunner are exquisitely complex characters full of contradictions. Trying to figure them out is like trying to figure out a maze. There is no black and white to their worlds. Gillian seems to be on the straight and narrow, a cop who can cast fantastical skills of immense power, yet constantly doubts himself. Gillian is a robber and murderer yet doesn’t lie, is highly intelligent, and educated. Maybe I have a thing for bad boys, but he makes me swoon. Watching Gillian and Gunner come together is definitely like seeing two opposites attract. Besides all this is the steampunk element of lights, carriages, mechanical men, etc. that adds color to the story. Thank you, C.S. I can hardly wait for another book.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 242 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 12-January-2021
Price $4.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
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