Last Violent Call by Chloe Gong (Secret Shanghai Universe #3.5)
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Chloe Gong comes two captivating new novellas surrounding the events of Foul Lady Fortune!
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 illusive 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…
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books
LENGTH: 240 pages (~120 per novella)
AGE: Young Adult
GENRE: Historical, Mystery
*This review contains spoilers for the first three novels in the main series. LAST VIOLENT CALL is a pair of novellas best read after FOUL LADY FORTUNE.
Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Trans Minor Character(s).
"A Foul Thing" follows Roma and Juliette after the events of OUR VIOLENT ENDS, taking place during the events of FOUL LADY FORTUNE. "This Foul Murder" takes place almost immediately afterwards, starring Benedikt and Marshall.
As a sequel, LAST VIOLENT CALL addresses several important things left uncertain after OUR VIOLENT ENDS, specifically the fates of Roma and Juliette. It contains a new storyline related to their lives away from Shanghai, when someone approaches them for help. Technically the storyline related to the people they help is both introduced and resolved here, but so much of it is related to the broader context of FOUL LADY FORTUNE that it wouldn’t make very much sense without having read the first three books of the series. In "This Foul Murder", Marshall and Benedikt are on a week-long train ride at Roma and Juliette's behest when one of the passengers is messily murdered.
LAST VIOLENT CALL is definitely not the last book in the series, The very premise of this book contains so many spoilers that it should absolutely not be read before the first three novels in the main series.
I like "A Foul Thing". Given the broader context supplied by the earlier books, it is in turn sweet and deadly, surpassing any expectations I might’ve had for what an additional glimpse of Roma and Juliette could be. "This Foul Murder" has many very sweet moments between Marshall and Benedikt, giving a much better sense of their dynamic once they're officially a couple and away from Marshall's family. The murder investigation is lively and interesting, and I like how well the two novellas work as a companion to the main series, both individually and as a set.
A FOUL THING
Moderate CW for blood, violence, gun violence, injury detail, suicide, suicide attempt, death.
Minor CW for sexual content, panic attacks, medical content, medical trauma, trafficking, murder.
THIS FOUL MURDER
Moderate CW for blood, violence, murder, death.
Minor CW for vomit, sexual content, homophobia, gun violence.