Friday, February 26, 2016

The Hanged Man by P.N. Elrod (Her Majesty's Psychic Service, #1)

Title: The Hanged Man
Author: P.N. Elrod

Genre: Victorian Fantasy Alternate History Mystery (with a hint of Steampunk)
On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromised murder and not a suicide, as the police had assumed, after the shocking revelation contained by the body in question, Alex must put her personal loss aside to uncover the deeper issues at stake, before more bodies turn up.

Turning to some choice allies—the handsome, prescient Lieutenant Brooks, the brilliant, enigmatic Lord Desmond, and her rapscallion cousin James—Alex will have to marshal all of her magical and mental acumen to save Queen and Country from a shadowy threat. Our singular heroine is caught up in this rousing gaslamp adventure of cloaked assassins, meddlesome family, and dark magic.


I don't think there's anything more enjoyable than a well-thought out Victorian mystery with just a touch of the supernatural. 

The characters were absolutely magnificent, very well fleshed-out and had lovely banter. I couldn't get enough of their witty repartee. 

Besides the characters, the most interesting part of this book was the writing. It fit the atmosphere to a degree but their were certain turns of phrase that didn't click in meaning for me. I had to rely heavily on context clues for some parts. The execution however, was a different story from the writing style. I greatly appreciated the fact that the author built the world and characters up as the plot went along. There's no heavy exposition to bog down the beginning of the novel and stump the reader. 

The murder mystery plot was done fantastically well and the dissemination of the investigation was thrilling and compelling to read about. The combination of her majesty's Psychic Serivce working with Scotland Yard made for a hilarious pairing for solving crimes. 

This novel ended with 'no she didn't!' and 'haha wait, are you serious? Haha excellent!' moments that perfectly wrapped up the all the loose threads. I can't say more or I will end up spoiling something but suffice to say that this book set up a potential series quite nicely.

I would no doubt want to read more about this world and Alex's position in it but I'm not sure if there will be more books to come. In any case, this was an amazing romp of a book and just what I needed.