Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved it. Completely enraptured by and in awe of Ms. Roberts’ writing. Her characters! Her sense of history, knowledge and insights into the aftermath of the American Revolution in Great Britain. I grew so wrapped up in this book that I wanted to commit multiple phrases to memory due to the beauty of her prose. However, I couldn’t bear to pause and do it because I needed to keep turning the pages. There were several satisfyingly complicated plot threads and the author wove them together into a satisfying resolution. I’ll be on to the next one in the series as soon as it’s available from the library.
Unlikely heroes enchant me and these two are no exception: an 18th century anatomist and the restless wife of an absent sea captain. Throw in an eccentric scientist who employs “resurrection men” when he’s in need of fresh corpses for dissection and who keeps exotic and deadly pets on his estate. This strange crew joins forces to solve a series of murders using their own version of pioneer forensic science, by necessity making things up as they go along. The answers to many questions raised by several violent deaths are revealed as the plot progresses, not at the end. So, if you’re looking for a traditional who-done-it, this book might not be your cup of tea. The relationships between several of the characters are part of the mystery and all of these loose ends are tied up during an edge-of-your-seat climax. Who will live? Who will die? Who’s innocent? Who’s guilty? Read it and find out. Instruments of Darkness
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One of those books! I finished it last night, right before I fell asleep and I miss Joe already. Although his is not a voice you want to have in your head, I enjoyed the experience humonstrously. Why? He loves a girl who reads and his love is epic. When I was in high school, I read The Catcher in the Rye multiple times and all of Salinger’s books (the rest only once each). I recognized the Holden Caulfield influence early, before Joe even uttered the word “phony”. Eventually, the author makes the connection super obvious, right down to the red hunting hat and a character named “Salinger”. Joe, however, escalates Holden’s unreliable narration to psychopathic heights Salinger might have dreamed of, but never revealed in his writing. For those of you who read (current popular literature and the classics), this novel is a literary scavenger hunt of the highest calibration (A Moveable Feast of hints, clues and allusions).
One tiny caveat: The first person voice is male and the author’s female and I completely bought into it except for one tiny bump. Joe refers to his girlfriend as twisting her hair into a high bun. To me, he slipped out of character for one heartbeat there. He didn’t seem like a guy who’d use girly-talk words. Most of his personal language was action-packed, witty, intensely intelligent and smutty (to the point where I cringed but enjoyed cringing). Otherwise, he stayed masculine and in character.
If you enjoy a darkly twisted read and a gargantuan page turner, treat yo-self ASAP to this one.
One more scary thought: When I was single, I so would have dated him.