The Deadly Hours by Susanna Kearsley, C.S. Harris, Christine Trent, Anna Lee Huber
Historical Mystery/Historical Fiction/Anthology
September 1, 2020 by Poisoned Pen Press
I picked up this anthology mainly because of C.S. Harris and Susanna Kearsley, but I was more than happy to get an introduction to a couple of new to me authors.
This is one of the better anthologies I’ve read in the last several years. Each story flowed smoothly into the next and these author’s voices worked very well with each other. The common theme is of a cursed watch, La Sirene, which is introduced to readers in Susanna Kearsley’s Weapon of Choice in 1733, then next appears in Anna Lee Huber’s In a Fevered Hour in 1831 Edinburgh amidst a strange plague, then onto London in 1870 in Christine Trent’s A Pocketful of Death surrounded by dead bodies, and then finally the English countryside in June of 1944, during the Second World War, in C.S. Harris’s The Siren.
Each story was well written and I truly enjoyed each author’s voice and take on how La Sirene has wreaked havoc on its owners through time. I was a tad disappointed to find out the C.S. Harris story wouldn’t involve any of her characters from the very well known, and much loved, Sebastian St. Cyr series, but I was charmed none the less. I think readers of Historical Mystery will be familiar with quite a few of the characters from the other three stories.
The best part? I’ve now added Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby Mysteries and Christine Trent’s Lady of Ashes series to my library hold list. I can’t wait to dive in!
Final grade- B+
The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry
September 8, 2020 by Berkley
First let me get to the content warnings: Racism, violence, blood and gore, death, grief.
This fantasy horror novel is set in a small, sleepy little town in the 1980s, and let me tell you, it is very, very ’80s. Smith’s Hollow is set up to resemble small-town America in 1985, but as soon as the book opens you can feel the creepy undercurrent and that all is not quite right.
Then the bodies of two girls are discovered in the backyard of the town’s most bigoted resident and readers will slowly start to realize this isn’t the only body to be found torn apart in Smith’s Hollow over the years. But for some reason, the locals don’t remember, not even when it’s their own family member.
Menacing local folklore, curses, creepy children, strange happenings, and enough blood and gore to make readers wince, this horror novel kept me on my toes and turning pages. I couldn’t stop reading until I found out just who the bad guy was and how he was going to be stopped. The POV jumps between several protagonists, with shorter chapters, which kept the story moving along quite nicely.
This is a good read if you are in the mood for a suspenseful mystery but be prepared for the dark, menacing vibe.
Final grade- B