Wednesday, February 18, 2015
It's 1869 and Edward Clark lives a comfortable life as a reporter for the Evening Bulletin in Philadelphia. He's happily engaged to a pretty, delicate girl named Violet Willoughby and has pretty much moved on from the tragedy that struck his young life at only 10 years of age. But when Edward's editor assigns him the task of writing a series of articles exposing the many fraudulent mediums overrunning the city, Edward is set on a downward spiral that has him not only witness to a murder, but also one of it's primary suspects.
As one of the city's few legitimate mediums, the murder of Lenora Grimes Pastor, which occurred in a locked séance room, has all of its participants under suspicion. With the help of Ms. Lucy Collins, a medium who uses sleight-of-hand to prey on the unwary, and his friend Inspector William Barclay, Edward is determined to clear his name. But the secrets they unearth go much deeper than any of them expected, and the possible ties Edward's past—a tragedy he's kept secret from both his fiancée and closest friend—may tear his comfortable world apart.
I really liked this book a lot! The story was exciting, captivating, and fun. I'm a sucker for all things ghostly and supernatural so it was not only the subject matter that appealed to me but also the mystery behind it—who killed the medium Lenora Grimes Pastor inside that locked room?
The author, Alan Finn, writes extremely well and has a masterful command of language and how to use it, keeping the reader fully engaged without getting too wordy or revealing too much. The timing and suspense is perfect. The author knows the exact right words to use at the right time to elicit the desired effect, and he knows exactly how to set the right mood with his words. This book's prose truly flows like like classic literature in my opinion. Just check out his gorgeous website which just oozes with atmosphere.
Edward's character did grate on my nerves at times however because he continually left his fiancée in the dark, not only about his past, but also about everything he was doing with Lucy to try to clear his name and solve the murder of Mrs. Pastor. A relationship built on so many lies is doomed to failure, which leads you to wonder, just who did Edward eventually marry anyway? Though the story was written as a memoir with Edward looking back on an event that took place in his life 50 years in the past, that tidbit of information was never definitively stated, and I was left to wonder if the author did this intentionally, or if I just missed some subtle hint in the Foreword or Postscript.
I did see reference on his Goodreads Author page that the author working on a sequel to Things Half in Shadow. Woot woot!! I'm very much looking forward to that. (Do check out the video trailer on that page too if you didn't already do so at his website.)
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.