The Barataria Key by J.M. Richardson

The Barataria Key by J.M. Richardson

It lurks in the shadowy recesses of the French Quarter, among the flickering gas lanterns and Creole courtyards. In the humid, teeming swamps of Barataria. A dark secret. An ancient force. The will to remake one’s history. James Beauregard finds himself at the centre of an insidious conspiracy, two hundred years in the making. From the backstreets of New Orleans to the once pirate-infested waters of the Gulf Coast, the race begins to unravel the mystery of The Barataria Key.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

J.M. Richardson is back with his latest book. On December 21st 2016, Dr James Beauregard returns in a new adventure, The Barataria Key. As I mentioned in my previous review, this was the book Richardson contacted me to review. I purchased the first book in this series, The Apocalypse Mechanism, to get the complete story, and loved this book. You can read more about it here. In my view, that set the bar pretty high, so I had high hopes and even higher expectations for The Barataria Key. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to visit New Orleans, though it is on my bucket list, though I felt I was there such was the description and clear love the author has for the area.
baratariakey_flatforebooks The subject matter this time really caught my attention. Richardson has focussed in on a local legend in the area of New Orleans, namely the French privateer Jean Laffite. Local lore has him as a privateer working out of the bayous of the Mississippi River. He became involved in the War of 1812, approached by both the British and the American sides. Reading this book, I became intrigued in Laffite and read up a bit more about him. Definitely an interesting character who made his home in an interesting city.

But that story only gets better with the creative license and embellishments that Richardson introduces to The Barataria Key. Mixing in elements of Mayan history and mythology, the story holds mystery and intrigue. This book is where J.M. Richardson, for my money really distances himself from any comparisons to Dan Brown. As with the previous book, there is the element of a university professor investigating centuries-old mysteries. But the thing I found with the Dan Brown series was the fact that they were always seeking to save the world from a plot to destroy it. This book does centre around a plot, but it is not a world ending, cataclysmic plot. It’s a plot to undo the wars of independence in America, and bring the North American continent back under British rule.

This time around, Richardson doesn’t have his characters running all over the world in pursuit of answers, rather keeps them in and around the Gulf of Mexico and the sites of ancient Mayan civilisations. This allowed the story to really grow and develop as things moved at a great pace. Nothing felt rushed, unnecessary or over the top, and by keeping things in a smaller part of the world allowed space for the story and characters to build. As with The Apocalypse Mechanism, Beauregard and the other core characters unfold further, and we get to feel the depth of their personalities, their ups and downs, and the little human elements that we all deal with.

Once again, Richardson has hit the ball out of the park with The Barataria Key. I have grown to love James Beauregard and his cohorts even more, faults and all. Having talked with J.M. Richardson in my recent interview, I have learned he is working on a third book in this series, set in London. If it turns out anywhere close to as good as the first two books, I cannot wait for it.

My rating:
goodread

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An Interview with J.M. Richardson

An Interview with J.M. Richardson

Today it is my pleasure to bring you an interview with a talented author, and all round nice-guy, only too happy to work with me in reviewing his books and being accommodating enough to take part in this interview. Please be upstanding and welcoming to J.M. Richardson! Richardson is the author of The Twenty-Nine, A Line in the Sand, The Apocalypse Mechanism and his upcoming release, The Barataria Key – out on December 21st 2016.

Richardson and I crossed paths when he stopped by Books and Beyond Reviews, and asked if I would review The Barataria Key. Having read the blurb, I jumped at the chance, and when I discovered it was book two of a series, I had to buy the first part. You’ll find my review of The Barataria Key on the blog soon, but in the meantime you can check out my review of The Apocalypse Mechanism. Now, lets meet the man behind the books!

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Books and Beyond Reviews: Welcome to Books and Beyond Reviews, and thank you for joining us for this interview. We would love to start out by getting to know you a bit better, so first up – who is your favourite author?

J.M. Richardson: I always have a hard time picking a favourite anything—colours, songs, movies, books. I have a handful of favourites. I’ve always liked John Steinbeck and Stephen King. I enjoy the imagination of Michael Crichton. I’m currently reading George R. R. Martin and loving it. But I think one of my all-time favourite writers is Anne Rice. It doesn’t hurt that she also uses New Orleans as the backdrop for much of her storytelling. She’s so imaginative and writes beautifully. She seduces you into her world like the vampires she creates.

BaBR: E-readers seem to be on the rise, allowing hundreds of books to be carried in a small, portable device. They seem to be loved and hated in equal measure. Do you see them as a positive step in the evolution of books?

JMR: I think they’re convenient. I’ve never really gotten into it. I’m one of those people who likes the page and binding. I like lugging around a bulky book to read in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, and I know I’m not alone. But I can see the benefit of having a hundred books in one lightweight device. I think paper and print will always exist, so I don’t know that I’d call this evolution. I think the invention of the e-reader has done more to evolve the industry. Big publishing houses with literary agents as the gatekeepers…that was the standard. As soon as Amazon and Barnes and Noble launched their ebook self-publishing projects, it was off to the races. Every aspiring writer in the world uploaded and were finally able to call themselves authors. Is this a good step? I don’t know. I think there are pros and cons. We have gotten to see some great work from some undiscovered authors, and frankly, they might never have been discovered. It’s damn near impossible to woo a literary agent. Sometimes it’s not even about the quality of your writing. It’s about your pitch. Then again, without any vetting from agents and publishers, unfortunately, there have been a lot of bad ebooks to come out. Bad writing with no editing. I’m not sure if there has been any detriment to the publishing/writing world from this. Perhaps the bad ebooks detract from the good ones. I could see a great ebook author getting less respect because of the rubbish that gets uploaded alongside it. I could see people making false assumptions that being self-published means that you’re not good enough for Random House to pick you up. Fortunately for me and many of my contemporaries, the ebook wave has sparked a publishing revolution where small publishing houses like mine have popped up all over to challenge the industry giants. There’s no need for an agent anymore. And these are traditional publishers operating with less capital, but with professional editors and smart business plans, they’re really challenging the big houses and offering an opportunity to people like me who have found it impossible to find an agent.

BaBR: When the spark of an idea for a new book pops up in your mind how do you approach it?

JMR: When I suddenly have a cool new idea for a book, it’s exciting. So I can’t wait to get it onto the page. But of course it’s more complicated than that. Honestly, I’ve found that the best thing to do is to just jump right into it. I write a first chapter or prologue to set the stage. I want it to be intriguing and to spark the imagination, not just for some future reader. It’s for me, as well. I’m trying to inspire myself. I’ll usually get two or three chapters into the book before I sit down and plan anything. And even then, it’s very bare-bones planning. I know where the story starts, where it ends, and usually a few milestones in between to give it backbone. But as I plan chapters, I’m just jotting down goals in the development of the story. The action is the product of spontaneity. All dialogue is spur-of-the-moment. Emotions are too. The actions of the characters are impulsive so the plot is driven by in-the-moment decision making. I choose their paths as if I were there making those decisions. To me, I feel that all of this gives the characters a realistic quality. This is how we all operate—organisms navigating life as we respond to our environment. So I approach my story and my characters this way with some structure to the plot along the way.

BaBR: And just before we talk about your books, tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

JMR: Normally, my answer to that question anywhere else is that I’m an author. I have a lot of interests. I’ve played guitar most of my life—my other passion. But probably the thing that people might find most interesting is that I like to brew beer. I have a small craft brewing operation set up in my garage. I’ve made everything from oatmeal blonde ales to my most recent pumpkin porter. I have a couple of beer enthusiast friends that come over and help me. We sit around, brew, and sample whatever obscure craft beers we all contribute to the table, and enjoy one another’s company. A few weeks later, I keg it, tap it, and enjoy with friends and family. (As a lover of a good craft beer, and American beers in particular, this answer is a winner! – BaBR)

BaBR: Now, on to your books – The Apocalypse Mechanism, and The Barataria Key which I am half-way through. In both The Apocalypse Mechanism and The Barataria Key, you deal with historic events. Although I felt both books were in some ways reminiscent of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series of books, the historic events are more obscure. Was that intentional?

JMR: To a degree. I’ll write about anything that intrigues me. It could be that later on, I’ll take on some bigger, more known events. My goal is to tell a unique story. In one way, I do like to tell some obscure, little known story. That was the case with The Apocalypse Mechanism. But The Barataria Key deals with Jean Lafitte, who isn’t very well known outside of Louisiana, but having grown up near New Orleans, Lafitte was always something of a folk hero. He was our very own local pirate, and even more, he helped General Jackson win the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Since I was a kid, I had always been fascinated with him. When I was about thirteen I wrote a short story that involved him. So I had a lot of fun writing The Barataria Key. For me, and for Louisiana natives, it’s not so obscure. I guess I just wanted to share Lafitte with the world. Whether I write about little known history or something well known, the fun of it is playing with those events. I like to toy with the narrative; change things up a bit. I like to reimagine how people or places really were. I want to fabricate connections and ask, “what if?” I try to create an alternative history. That’s easy. Who knows if what we know about history is accurate? It’s fun to create your own version. Don’t politicians do this all the time?

BaBR: There is a clear and deep historic seam running through both The Apocalypse Mechanism and The Barataria Key. Would you consider yourself a history buff, or was there a lot of research needed for the history elements in both books?

JMR: Both. I’m an educator by trade, and my original focus was history. I have always been fascinated with history and archaeology; to imagine how people of old might have lived. So you might imagine that I’ve compiled a lot of knowledge. This often becomes the inspiration for a story, but I always have to dig deeper if I want the story to be any good. I hate being inaccurate. You can’t speculate and toy with the historical narrative until you’ve gotten the facts right. For example, in The Barataria Key, I had to do an immense amount of research on Mayan history and culture, from their gods to their architecture and language patterns. I already knew a lot of this, but I don’t want to get things wrong. And I want it to be detailed. It would drive me nuts to get something wrong. And I have a vested interest in not appearing to be a fool. I try my best to get it right, and then I can have my fun. (I can confirm just how factual Richardson’s work is here. History is a love of mine, so I googled the pirate Jean Laffite early on in my read of The Barataria Key, and was ecstatic to find so much of the fact presented in the book is spot on! – BaBR)

BaBR: The Barataria Key is largely set in and around the Gulf of Mexico. As a Louisiana-native yourself was this intended, or a coincidence brought about by making Jean Laffite the historic focus of this book?

JMR: As you know, I introduced James Beauregard as a New Orleans native and descendent of a well-known American Civil War general. New Orleans history is something of a speciality of mine, and the city itself is probably my favourite place on earth. Nowhere on earth is quite like it. There is a blend of French and Spanish charm with Caribbean flavor that manifests itself in the food, the aromas, and even the way people talk in New Orleans. You always hear people say that you should write what you know. I know New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf South. I would say that my urge to write about my home gave rise to my decision to write about Lafitte.

BaBR: Would you consider these two books to be at all influenced by the work of Dan Brown, and like his books, will this be a Dr James Beauregard trilogy?

JMR: I don’t think so. I’ve read Dan Brown’s earlier Robert Langdon books, and really liked them, but I didn’t set out to emulate him or his stories. Rather, I had been drawn to his books because I already held interest in that kind of fiction. Really, Brown is one in a long line of artists to have used similar plots and archetypes. I always loved Indiana Jones, which was based on adventure serials of the 1930s. I loved those movies because they dealt with history and archaeology. When I write, I’m cognisant of the similarities between my books and Dan Brown or Indiana Jones. Even James Rollins or Brad Meltzer. I don’t want to be just like them, but I enjoy that kind of storytelling, so I would say that I fall into the genre, rather than being directly inspired.

I actually plan to write many more Beauregard books.

BaBR: Is Dr James Beauregard based on yourself or anyone you have come across?

JMR: James is part me, but he takes from several different people I know. He’s such a mess! Emotionally, he definitely has issues, and I wanted him to. My publisher was worried he was so messed up that no one would like him. He actually had to be tamed down. I fought like hell to retain as many of those imperfections as I could. I included in him some of my darker demons, and some lent to me by others I know. Writing is therapy for me.

BaBR: Are you currently working on a book, and if so, can you tell us anything about it?

JMR: I am currently working on the third James Beauregard book. I have an idea for a change in the story line that would completely alter what we know about James. It would also open the door for as many books I want to write about him. For now, I’m calling the new book The Keepers. Look for murder, mystery, and terrorism, all set in merry old London.

Thanks for taking the time to share some of your thoughts with us here at Books and Beyond. As an Englishman living just a 40-minute train ride from London, I will look forward to The Keepers and hope to snag myself a review copy!

You can connect and keep up to date with what J.M. Richardson is up to on his website, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter.

 

The Apocalypse Mechanism by J.M. Richardson

The Apocalypse Mechanism by J.M. Richardson

Brilliant New Orleans Professor James Beauregard’s life is spiralling into complete despair when a startling discovery is made halfway across the globe that requires his expertise. Is there really an ancient machine that could push civilisation into the throes of oblivion? As he attempts to unlock the secrets of this waiting apocalypse, Professor Beauregard is hunted by an archaic fundamentalist cult determined to bring about humanity’s end-of-days. Will he find the key to stopping the world’s oldest weapon of mass destruction, or will the Cult’s wish to purge all evil be the Earth’s demise?

A short while ago J.M. Richardson contacted me through the blog, asking if I would like to read and review his latest book, The Barataria Key which is published on December 21st. In chatting with him, I discovered it was the second book of a series featuring the main character. And while the books are to some extent stand alone, I had to purchase and read the first in the series.
apocalypsemechanism I am so happy that I was contacted, as The Apocalypse Mechanism did not disappoint. I would say this book felt very much like Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon work, which I enjoyed very much. But I think I preferred this book! I found the lead, Dr James Beauregard was more real – a man with a personality, plagued with his own demons that we get to know throughout the book. Robert Langdon in Brown’s works feels a little wooden.

Early on Richardson introduces the mystery that unravels throughout the book. It’s a complex, but not unnecessarily complicated mystery that couples with it plenty of suspense and tension as the story, and the main characters travel the world to uncover a sinister, centuries old plot and ultimately bring it to an end.

The core characters are introduced and built upon cleverly, slowly layering up their subtle intricacies allowing the reader the chance to feel like they really get to know the characters. This really hit home when I found myself rooting for them when things really went against them. The mystery that they unravel was made more plausible because it is rooted in history, and the author went to good length to explain the history well enough to build a good level of context to things. However accurate or embellished the history may be, Richardson presented it witch such confidence as to imply a great amount of research had been done in the writing of the book.

The action was intense without being overly gratuitous, the characters were engaging and human, and the the “villains” were believable. As an overly devout religious cult, they weren’t portrayed as they so often are in Western media, Rather, they seemed deeply pious, courteous even and most importantly, it was clear they truly believed in what they were doing. This, in some respects, made them even more unnerving.

The book is well paced, and although it involves a bit of globetrotting, nothing feels forced or rushed making for a fun, action-packed book that while initially feeling like a Dan Brown novel, in my opinion The Apocalypse Mechanism actually outdoes them!

My rating:
goodread

The Sacrifice by Indrajit Garai

The Sacrifice by Indrajit Garai

In this collection, meet:
Guillaume, who gives up everything to protect his child; young Mathew, who stakes his life to save his home; and François, who makes the biggest sacrifice to rescue his grandson.

The Sacrifice is a collection of three short stories all with a running theme of sacrifice. More specifically, personal sacrifice. All three are set in France, but the sense of necessary sacrifice is something I think many people can relate to.
the-sacrifice_indrajit-garaiIn the first story, we learn of the sacrifices that a lifelong farmer is prepared to make for his son. A single father, Guillaume is doing everything to look after his son, and desperately trying to keep his ailing farm that once belonged to his father from going under. Financial hardship, death and emotional trauma lead to a dad making the hardest choice he has ever had to make.

The second tale follows Matthew, a school boy. Coming from a single home, Matthew struggles with his home life, especially the fact that his mother is dating one of his teachers. His only escape is to a tree he calls home, in a wooded area. When that gets threatened with being cut down, he does whatever he must to save it, no matter the cost.

The final story follows Francois, a man close to retirement who has all but adopted his grandson, as his daughter struggles with attempted suicide. At the age of 60, Francois struggles to find work, and after a highly successful book, and two not so successful books, he struggles to get his latest book published. All the while, he tries to keep his grandson clothed and fed and at school. Between seeking a publisher for his book, and looking for any paying work, Francois starts doing anything to make money, eventually making the ultimate sacrifice for the wellbeing of his grandson.

As a collection, The Sacrifice is a great set of stories. The first and last in the series for my preference as the best two tales in this book. I felt the second story was a little unusual, and didn’t make as much sense as the others, but overall, The Sacrifice is a solid collection of stories.

My rating:
okaybook

What Remains of Me – A.L. Gaylin

What Remains of Me – A.L. Gaylin

People don’t need to know you’re a murderer.

They just have to think you could be…

June 1980: 17-year-old Kelly Lund is jailed for killing Hollywood film director, John McFadden

Thirty years later, Kelly is a free woman. Yet speculation still swirls over what really happened that night.

And when her father-in law, and close friend of McFadden is found dead – shot through the head at point-blank range – there can only be one suspect.

But this time Kelly has some high-profile friends who believe she’s innocent of both crimes.

But is she?

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say I was a little disappointed with What Remains of Me. I know it isn’t reasonable to expect to like everything I read, but this sounded like it had a decent amount of potential. A tasty little whodunit murder mystery sounded like just the sort of book I needed. And there were certainly a number of twists and turns throughout the story. But there were also a number of cliches that just couldn’t lift the book to higher levels.
Thirty years after her imprisonment, Kelly Lund is trying to put her life back together in her home in the desert of California, with her husband. The story is a double header in that it details the events leading up to and including the murder of John McFadden, while also telling the story of the murder of her father-in law. Both murders are eerily similar – two shots to the chest and one between the eyes. So unsurprisingly, Kelly is suspect number one.
whatremainsofme And this is where some issues arose with the book. Two crimes, two victims, thirty years apart. And there was a possible suspect that had links to both victims, and as the story tells, a possible motive. What circumstantial evidence the police do have against her doesn’t fully tie Kelly to the new crime. Having a few celebrity friends publicly claiming she is innocent, not only of the murder of her father-in-law but also of the killing of John McFadden begins to cast doubt on her guilt.

In an almost Poirot-esque style What Remains of Me trots out a line of possible suspects, and shifts between them all, trying to paint each one as a possible killer. The story also does this for the earlier murder. Between the jumping around between suspects, and trying to tell the two stories side by side, the book felt a little muddled. It is by no means a bad book, but I just felt that the story tried too hard at times with trying to make you believe in the guilt of one suspect, before moving on to the next possible suspect. This is a good book, with some interesting twists and turns, and a good pace to it. I just felt it was let down by the slightly forced manner used in jumping from one suspect to the next.

My rating:
okaybook

Once Lost Lords (Royal Scales Book 1) – Stephan Morse

Once Lost Lords (Royal Scales Book 1) – Stephan Morse

Humanity hasn’t been alone for almost two thousand years. Elves, wolves, vampires, all joined together with mankind to eradicate the ‘darker’ races and maintained a tentative peace until modern times. Society adapted, everyone has rules that help keep the peace in this modern era. Yet, absolute genocide is impossible when talking about creatures beyond the pale. Some hid, some buried, other were re-purposed.

Some, like Jay Fields, pass for human with a little bit extra. His abilities didn’t belong to one of the major races, but any information was buried along with the long dead boogie men. All Jay cared about was those closest to him and a job that let him hit people. He used to be a bouncer at a bar, a part-time enforcer for a loan shark, and even a fight club champion. That was four years ago, before betrayal by someone close sent him packing.

Now he’s back and trying to recover a life he left behind. Questions of origin aren’t his only problems. His ex-girlfriend is a vampire. His part-time boss doesn’t think he’s up to snuff anymore. There’s a missing elf who might have some answers, and Jay’s best friend is caught up in something dangerous…

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Stephan Morse contacted me here at Books and Beyond Reviews to review his book. I read the information and description with a small sense of trepidation. Not so much because of the description per se, but because it was a fantasy book. Some of you will remember my review of the fantasy-based steampunk horror, Skyships Over Innsmouth that I read, reviewed, and hated due to a somewhat inaccurate description. Given that was only my second foray into the world of fantasy proper after Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, I was disappointed. But I thought I would give this one a chance.
oll2One of the first things that hit me was the setting. Once Lost Lords is a fantasy story set in what appears to be a close approximation of Continental USA, not a fictional realm. Coupled with that is that rather than being set in a pseudo-Medieval era, this seems to be relatively modern; the population of Morse’s world have mobile phones, cars, all the sorts of simple tech we take for granted but would never see in a typical fantasy story. Already I’m intrigued. The book continued to clamour for my attention in taking a simpler approach and not overwhelming with as many fantasy creatures as possible, keeping mostly to humans, elves, vampires and wolves. This meant for a greater chance to really get to know the subtleties of each character type.

The lead character, Jay Fields, is not your typical fantasy hero or villain either. He’s just a semi-human trying to make a living using what assets he has. In his case, his size and strength, and his ability to track people, casting his mind out over the land while holding something that belongs to them. This makes roles in finding lost people and debt collection fantastic lines of work for him. Beyond this, he collects all manner of trinkets, eats, and drinks a little more than he should. Very different from the usual fantasy leading man.

He gets caught up in something a bit darker when his friend, a law enforcement agent, needs to find someone. Things become strange when Jay can’t get any answers from his friend about what has him so worked up, what is so important about this case. All he is told is there is a massive quarter of a million dollar reward. One someone who might be able to shed some light on things, an elf named Evan, calls him Lord things get crazier. Jay finds himself in a race against time and his friend to find the answers to this whole mystery, along with answers about himself. Throw in an obsessive (sort of) ex-girlfriend who is also a partial vampire, and a short-tempered werewolf employer and Jay has plenty to contend with.

Stephan Morse has put together a wonderful fantasy story in Once Lost Lords. I was uncertain given my love of the works of Sir Terry Pratchett, and that I really didn’t take well to supposed-fantasy horror Skyships Over Innsmouth. But this book restored my faith in the genre, and having discovered there are more books in this series means there are more to enjoy. I found this book to be dark, yet humorous in a sarcastic way. The action elements were fast paced and well-placed, and the fantasy elements were well used making for the beginning of what could be a great series.

My rating:
goodread

The Book of Mirrors – E.O. Chirovici

The Book of Mirrors – E.O. Chirovici

ONE MAN’S TRUTH IS ANOTHER MAN’S LIE.

When big-shot literary agent Peter Katz receives an unfinished manuscript entitled The Book of Mirrors, he is intrigued.

The author, Richard Flynn is writing a memoir about his time at Princeton in the late 80s, documenting his relationship with the famous Professor Joseph Wieder.

One night in 1987, Wieder was brutally murdered in his home and the case was never solved.

Peter Katz is hell-bent on getting to the bottom of what happened that night twenty-five years ago and is convinced the full manuscript will reveal who committed the violent crime.

But other people’s recollections are dangerous weapons to play with, and this might be one memory that is best kept buried.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

As soon as I saw this book come up on NetGalley, I requested the opportunity to read and review it, and eagerly awaited what I hoped would be an acceptance email. Luckily for me, it pinged into my inbox, and I downloaded the eBook to my Kindle ready to go as soon as I finished the book I was already on. And I have to say, I was not disappointed.
bookofmirrors I love a well-written, interesting crime mystery. But too many seem to stick to a cliched approach that feels a little like flogging a dead donkey. Okay, I get it, sometimes authors want to play it safe to get the sales, but come on people, think outside the box! Thankfully, Chirovici has done just that with The Book of Mirrors.

Literary agent Peter Katz receives part of a manuscript for a book, a memoir so it seems, of the author, Richard Flynn, and his time at Princeton. It follows his relationships and his intimate knowledge and experience surrounding the murder of big-shot psychiatric professor Joseph Wieder. Katz reads the partial book, which frustratingly ends before every truly revealing who committed such a heinous act.

The first part of the book starts off with Katz reading the manuscript, which we are almost reading over his shoulder. Once he reaches the end of the teaser, he tries to contact Richard Flynn, who sadly passed away before sending the rest of the manuscript. This leads into the second part of the book, told from the perspective of journalist John Keller.

Katz contacts John Keller with a proposition; to track down the rest of the manuscript, solve a decades-old crime and help bring what could become a bestselling true-crime novel in the process. Leveraging all his contacts and nous, Keller embarks on a manhunt through time to uncover the truth. But the task seems a loss, as this tale of the fragility of human recollection throws up many more questions, but no answers at all. On his search, we encounter retired police officer Roy Freeman who investigated the murder.

And this is where we enter part three. After meeting with John Keller and answering his questions, Roy Freeman cannot shake the unsolved crime from his mind. It consumes him, pushing him to find an answer, even after Keller has given up. Freeman digs deeper, following hunches until he finally uncovers the mystery and solves the murder of Professor Joseph Wieder.

I loved the mystery woven into this book, and the three perspectives added something I haven’t come across before. The three key characters of Katz, Keller and Freeman are well developed and likeable, flaws and all. The differing accounts given in Richard Flynn’s manuscript and from the core suspects in the murder add to the overriding theme of the book – that memory isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Time and perception can change and distort how we recall things, making memory inherently unreliable. The Book of Mirrors is, to use a cliche, a book I couldn’t put down, a multi-layered and complex crime thriller made all the more impressive as this is the Romanian author’s first book written in English.

The Book of Mirrors will be published on 12th January 2017

My rating:
goodread