Living Spectres by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Smoke and Shadows Books

2nd November 2016

This was a free copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Philadelphia, 1924.

It’s been three months since crime reporter Poppy Thornton was left to die in an abandoned warehouse by her cousin Stacy, chief suspect in a high society murder. Rescued by the quick thinking of Chesterton Holte—her “gentleman haunt”—and Police Inspector J.B. Loring, Poppy is determined to get the real story and see justice done. But Stacy has fled Philadelphia with the widow of the man he is accused of murdering, and now an international manhunt is on for the suspected conspirators.
As that search continues, Poppy, Holte, and Loring have a new mystery: the disappearance of GAD Pearce, 18 year-old heir to the Pearce fortune, who has vanished while travelling through Eastern Europe. The suspects range from the young man’s jealous siblings to a mysterious cult of Armenian refugees. Once again Holte uses his ghostly powers to uncover answers and pass on what he learns to Poppy — who must then alert Loring without revealing her otherworldly source. Is GAD still alive? Can Poppy keep her job despite social convention, the disdain of her male colleagues, and the dangerous attraction she feels to Loring? Will the authorities succeed in tracking Stacy down? What’s really going on behind the closed doors of the politicians and bankers who run the city and the state?
And as the search for truth takes Poppy and Holte deeper into a forest of dark secrets and official corruption, who will die next?


My thoughts

This book starts off slow and is quite hard to get into, and I really felt that the book was going on forever.

Although the characters are beautifully written, sometimes there was too much description, every item of clothing the main character wore was described right down to the buttons, as if the author was saying ‘See I really researched the era!’ And the descriptions are okay once or twice, but not every single time the character changes (which is a lot). Same goes for when Poppy loads her typewriter, telling us once how a typewriter would have been loaded in the 1920s would have been sufficient but the author needs to tell us multiple times. This is a shame because the story itself is really good and the character of poppy is well defined and likable.

There are several plot lines in this book, which is confusing, there is the plot regarding her cousin which is carried over from the first book and the plot regarding the Living Spectres and the disappearance of GAD Pearce, which is interesting on its own, however I felt that the plot regarding her cousin is still ongoing and nothing was really resolved with that story (meaning there will be another book in the series) and the GAD plot ended extremely abruptly with no real resolution, I would have liked that part of the novel to have been explored further.

As this is an ARC there were some formatting problems with the book, which I am sure will be resolved by the time it is released. So based upon the writing along I would give this book 3 out of 5*


About Andrea Pryke

I have been collecting Marilyn Monroe items since 1990 and the collection includes around 400 books, as well as films, documentaries, dolls, records and all sorts of other items
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