Wow. Lost in the afterglow of this book, sneaking up on you with its originality and quiet brilliance, until all of a sudden, whoosh, you’re basking in it so deeply there’s no escape till you’ve sucked in every last glimmer and ray.
The fifth in the Chastity Riley series – although this book worked beautifully stand-alone for this reader, some additional background would have changed the reading experience early in the book.
Chastity Riley is one of the most unusual characters you will meet between the pages.
Painfully thin, darkly humorous, almost (and if so, unabashedly) scary in her seething energy, – Chastity is deeply tortured, resolute, sardonic, brash, unmovable and of course, terribly, terribly broken.
Recovering from a recent horror, Chastity, a public prosecutor in a suburb of Hamburg, Germany, has looked death and destruction in the eye so closely that it is all she can see, or fear, or experience. As Chastity and her police colleagues (most notably, the weary and quietly lovelorn Ivo Stepanovic) attempt to come to terms with their devastation and grief following a terror-fueled explosion that claimed the life of a colleague, a strange and eerily compelling letter from Glasgow lands on Chastity’s desk.
As Chastity pursues a somewhat mysterious new avenue in Scotland, her colleagues drifting back on staggered timetables (to work on new crimes or their own continued healing), the author quietly props up in place a highly-charged atmosphere – rickety, radical and definitely unstable, this tone is quite literally mesmerizing.
“The witch – her eyes are dark-edged, on a grand scale, an eyeshadow massacre, her lips quiver a dark red.”
A welcoming rhododendron bush, ghostly apparitions, a river steeping with burbling (benevolent?) intent, ice mermaids, philosophical conversations with red deer in a cemetery, psychological collapse, PG Wodehouse-style battles of wit and honor, endless Scottish pubs (with haggis), – and everywhere, souls falling, crumbling and clumping together, ungainly in their single-minded attempts to find solace, healing and the will to go on.
I loved this book, blown away by this author’s skill in building a word so highly charged and eclectic that it manages to simultaneously captivate with the beauty of its language, chill in its exploration of human evil, raise a chuckle with the absurdity of it all, and most tellingly of all, bedazzle with the poignancy, promise and possibility of help from beyond, and the power of love to mend and restore.
A great big thank you to @OrendaBooks for an ARC of this wonderful book. All thoughts presented are my own.