Monday, 11 July 2016

New Readers Start Here!

The Kingdom of Bones, Stephen Gallagher, Shaye Areheart Books, New York, 368 pp, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-307-38280-1.

Set primarily in the England of the 1880s but also in 1903 Philadelphia and New Orleans, Stephen Gallagher’s The Kingdom of Bones is part murder mystery, part occult thriller, and part loving re-creation of a bygone era.  Someone has been killing poor children, and Detective Inspector Sebastian Becker believes ex-boxing champion Tom Sayers has something to do with the slayings.  After an understated opening, the novel kicks into high gear when Sayers escapes arrest and tries to clear his name by finding the real killer. In a move by Gallagher that will delight genre fans, Sayers enlists the help of Bram Stoker. This leads Sayers into a world of possible occult influence and secrets that will change his life forever.  Throughout the novel, Gallagher’s careful, restrained writing creates great tension and surprise.  Sebastian as the pursuing detective is convincing, but Gallagher’s careful, often brilliant characterization of Sayers is The Kingdom of Bones’ main touchstone.

(Review, Realms of Fantasy magazine)