Review of Half Killed by Quenby Olson
Overview from www.barnesandnoble.com: Dorothea Hawes has no wish to renew contact with what lies beyond the veil. After an attempt to take her own life, she has retired into seclusion, but as the wounds on her body heal, she is drawn back into a world she wants nothing more than to avoid.She is sought out by Julian Chissick, a former man of God who wants her help in discovering who is behind the gruesome murder of a young woman. But the manner of death is all too familiar to Dorothea, and she begins to fear that something even more terrible is about to unleash itself on London. And so Dorothea risks her life and her sanity in order to save people who are oblivious to the threat that hovers over them. It is a task that forces her into a confrontation with her own lurid past, and tests her ability to shape events frighteningly beyond her control.
More apologies from me as I have to ask pardon for making you wait so long for this latest review. I think I might have to amend my review schedule to one review every other week instead of every week. This, as I mentioned before, is due to me going back to school. I will publish more often when I can but I apologize in advance for the times when it is not possible.
This week’s story was sent to me by a fellow author on Facebook months ago and I am just now getting around to reviewing it. I also have another story from a fellow Facebook member whose book I will be reviewing next time which just shows how far behind I am on keeping my promises.
The story centers on a young London woman whose name is Thea Hawes. Thea has a troubled past but not in the way that most of us do, she is troubled by the spirits of the dead rather than the confrontations with the living. Specifically those of her parents who were mysterious killed years ago.
One day she receives a visit from a Mr.Chissick who claims to know her yet she knows that she has never met him before. Soon enough she finds out the purpose for his visit and doesn’t like it one bit. Chissick brings her to the body of murder girl who has an unusual burn wound across her throat, the apparent cause of death. But who or what could have done this? This is what she must find out. And the most disturbing thing of all is that it is exactly the same way her parents were found on the night they died.
The story itself gets points for uniqueness. I can’t say that I have ever read anything quite like it before. I kept wanted to turn the page. First, I was trying to figure out the time period. I knew it was historical but I couldn’t tell in the beginning if it was the 1800’s or the early 1900’s. It was only the reference to the queen that gave me any idea at all. That and the fact that there were no cars mentioned.
Later, I was drawn in further by this unusual; I guess you could call it a supernatural mystery. It becomes apparent from the beginning that this is no ordinary crime and so the perpetrator must not be any ordinary person either.
The characters were also well-done and interesting. You can feel for both Thea and her Mr. Chissick and, to a lesser extent, some of the less minor characters.
The downsides for me were the Prologue and the description. The Prologue is set in second person and this bothered me. I didn’t want to read an entire story in second person and I didn’t know whether or not it would continue on that way. I kept thinking that if the author did it intending for the reader to identify with Thea, she would have done better to use first person, and beginning in the first chapter, that is exactly what she did.
Then there was the description. Don’t get me wrong it was beautiful. It just seemed like there was too much of it. I felt like a lot of it didn’t really need to be there, especially in the beginning.
I did like it in the end. I liked it quite a lot though I don’t think I would go so far as to say that I loved it. Still it was a great story without a lot of objectionable material so that counted for a lot and it got me through it. I hope you agree.