My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, 47North, and the author via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Lionel Page is a journalist, and he is extremely good at his job. He chases a story, and he always gets his man (or woman). His speciality is debunking those who claim to be more than what they are, charlatans, people who are tricking others out of their hard earned money. He’s debunked psychics, quacks, faith healers, you name it, he’s gotten to the bottom of it. So when he receives a phone call from one Ms. Regina Dunkle, about a private job he is of course a bit sceptical. She’s had word that there is a first draft edition of an Edgar Allan Poe manuscript, and she wants it, as long as it’s real of course. So Lionel sets of to the city of New York for a meeting. After accepting the job, Lionel can’t help but wonder if he’s bitten off more than even he can chew. Between Russian mobsters, a strange connection to his past, an intriguing beautiful woman named Maddie and the weird stuff that is beginning to happen, can Lionel hold up his end of the bargain? Will he even get out alive?
So I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I originally requested it because I just LOVE a good mystery, and one that follows a debunking journalist on the tail of a never before seen Poe manuscript. Ugh. Sign. Me. Up. It just SOUNDS amazing. And it really did not disappoint. At first, I found it a little bit slow to get going, I would definitely put this in the category of a slow burn story. Trust me though, if you feel like adding it to your DNF pile, please don’t, the story does pick up, it does get faster paced, and it is TOTALLY worth it.
The character of Lionel was incredibly well written, I really enjoyed his character and not once did I feel like punching him in the throat, so that is a huge bonus. He’s a sceptic by nature and I love that we find out WHY he is like this. We are told why he made debunking charlatans his life’s work, and by god is it a doozy. For me anyway. I found that the story of Lionel Page was written so flawlessly into the overall story, I could not fault it. Every single strand is tied up in a nice little bow by the end and I absolutely love it. Maddie’s character was also well written, her flaws, her reasons, her overall driving force was done brilliantly. I absolutely loved that both of our main characters had flaws, I love a good protagonist with flaws, because let’s face it, none of us are perfect, hey? All of the supporting characters had purpose, which I loved, no character was thrown in just for the hell of it, there is a reason behind EVERYONE in this book and Schaefer wrote his characters so well.
The story surprised me so much. I was prepared for a mystery, a dark mystery if I’m totally honest, but what I received in this book was SO much more. Not only do we have a dark mystery in regards to following the trail of the Poe manuscript, it takes a surprising turn into the paranormal/supernatural/fantasy whatever you want to call it. And this isn’t just a dabble, ohhhhh no, this is a full on thing. So I was so pleasantly surprised in the way this story unfolded. And once again, everything had a purpose, stuff hasn’t just been thrown into this story to fluff it up, EVERYTHING. HAS. A. PURPOSE. Everything is connected some how, and let me tell you, when those connections are actually revealed? Ooooooh boy, it was amazing. I seriously did not pick a single thing up before any of the reveals. It was absolutely amazing.
The world building was fantastic, yes it’s largely based on present day New York, but the actual supernatural elements of the story, the way they were woven into the real life locations and the way they were all connected into their own little sub world was done flawlessly. Not once did I find myself thinking “Pfft, yeah right” everything was believable. Schaefer did a wonderful job of making this story and all of it’s characters REAL.
There’s not too much more I can say without beginning to give stuff away, so I’m going to leave it at that. As I said earlier, this is a slow burn story, which I wasn’t so prepared for, hence the mark down in stars. It did give me a slight post-book buzz, but it’s not that feel good tingle you get when you’ve just finished a book that sure as hell is now in your top favourites. Overall this was a pleasantly surprising story that has so many twists and turns but keeps it easy to follow. Go on, follow Lionel down the rabbit hole, you know you want to 😉