Wednesday, August 2, 2017

She Be Damned

This book amazed me.  I was checking my notes in preparation for writing this review and they're useless.  They're full of "wow" and "amazing" and "that was very clever".

This book is just that.

The first thing that struck me is that, unusually for fiction, it's written in the first person.  That's tough.  Generally what happens is that after the 457th 'I did a thing, then I did another thing', the reader wants to gouge their eyes out with a rusty spoon.  That is emphatically not the case with this book.  The writing is masterful. The plotting and story progression are organic and seamless.  The things that happened felt natural and not contrived. I just really REALLY enjoyed reading this book.

I read a ton and a half of mysteries. I consider myself pretty good at 'whodunnit'.  I had -no- clue with this one.  I was SO far off base and all I can say is "Well played, Ms. Tjia, well played"!  There were plot twists and payoffs up until literally the last paragraphs.

The historical London and environs are perfectly drawn.  The environments are well described (smells, sights, good and bad all together) along with historically accurate representations of sexual mores and attitudes in different strata of society.

A caveat, however.  The narrative is quite gritty and graphic in places.  There's a fair bit of sex (not in a nice way) and murder and historically awful stuff included.  If you're looking for a nice tea shop cozy mystery, this is not it.

I'm going to put this author (M.J. Tjia) on my perma-update list on Amazon/Goodreads.

Five huge stars with glitter on top.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

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