Monday, October 14, 2013

THE TRUTH OF ALL THINGS by Kieran Shields

First Sentence: At the sound of footsteps in the alley, Maggie Keene dimmed the gas lamp and sidled up to the room’s only window.

Deputy Marshal Archie Lean is summoned to a murder scene. The body of a prostitute is found, pinned to the earth with a pitchfork, her heads and limbs laid out to represent a pentagram, and her body parts removed—all in the traditional method of killing a witch. Also on the scene is Cyrus Grey, Indian and former Pinkerton who studied anatomy. In spite of their different approaches, the two men must join forces and stop a killer.

 

This had all the elements that would normally have appealed to me; historical, police procedural, Maine, witch trials, occult. Of course, the very small print did not help that, but that’s the fault of the publisher, not the author. Still, had I been engrossed in the story, I would have persevered. Instead, I found it just didn’t hold my interest. 

The main characters of Lean and Grey were too clearly fashioned after Watson and Holmes, almost to the point where they felt plagiarized, but with the names changes. The anachronisms were overwhelming, the speech had no reflection of the period; it seemed much too modern. As for setting, it is an area I know well. However, beyond a map-quest tour of the area, the sense of place was not evocative.

The Truth of All Things” was a slog to read with stereotypical characters and no strong sense of time or place. I abandoned it after the first 150 pages. I did try, but just couldn’t stay with it.

THE TRUTH OF ALL THINGS (Hist Mys/Pol Proc-Archie Lean/Perceval Grey-Maine-1892) – DNF
Shields, Kieran – 1st in series
Broadway Paperbacks, 2012

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