Things Half in Shadow by Alan Finn (pen name for Tod Ritter, American writer, editor and journalist) is a book whose description and cover powerfully and mysteriously attracted me. The subject of mediums, ghosts, and murder in the post-Civil War era had me at hello. The cover is a great cover for this story. Having read the book (twice now), I can without a doubt say that the cover encompasses what the book is all about.
Things Half in Shadow takes place in the 1860’s in Philadelphia. It is the story of Mr. Edward Clark, a young man who after the war made a life as a journalist, reporting on the city’s crimes in the largest newspaper in town. His life seemed perfect; he had a good job and is in love and engaged, until one day an assignment to uncover the fake mediums in towns alters his until then peaceful and perfect existence.
On his first day of the assignment he is acquainted with Lucy Collins, a fake medium. By twist of fate, Edward and Lucy end up being the main suspects in the murder of Leonora Grimes Pastor, one of the real mediums in town.
Edward and Lucy did not commit the murder, so they decide to team up and take it into their own hands to clean their names and reputation. And so we read about the adventures they go through in order to unveil the real killer and uncovering at the same times secrets from their past.
The writing is good. The author did a good job describing the setting and surroundings. It is impossible not to picture in your mind the places, sounds, smells, fashions, customs and people described in the book. The book is written in such a way that you get immediately transported into Postbellum Philadelphia. The first person narration is very good and the fact that you get a foreword and a postscript rounds the story perfectly and gives the reader a sense of closure.
Things Half in Shadow was a book I couldn’t put down the first time I read it, and when I had to, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I re-read it in one sitting. It is a great blend of mystery, suspense, crime, historical fiction, magic, action, secret societies, friendship and romance all in one. I didn’t give it 5 stars for the sole reason that it lacked the life changing quality I look for in a 5 starred book. And for some reason beyond me, I felt a bit exhausted during the fighting scene both times I read the book. But it is an absolutely entertaining 4.5 starred book to read.
If you are a fan of unpredictable page turning mysteries that unravel slowly and keep you putting the clues together until the end, this is the book for you. If you are a fan of the Clue board game [hello kids of the 80s! ;) ] this is the book for you. October is the month for dark mysterious reads; I highly recommend adding this book in your October or Fall TBR lists. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed to check it out.
I’m looking forward to read the sequel to Things Half in Shadow. I can’t wait to travel back in time to Philadelphia and see what other adventures Edward and Lucy got to live (and I also want to find out more about the future Ms. Clark, when/if you read the book you’ll know what I mean).
Full review on my blog