***Note: I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.***The Half Killed by Quenby Olson
Genres: fantasy, historical fiction
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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.
The Half Killed begins in an interesting way. It kicks off with a prologue, which in and of itself isn’t unusual, but this one is written in a second person point of view. It’s almost as if an older version of the character was looking back on the past and talking to her younger self. “It wasn’t your fault. Mama forced you to do it,…” It actually lends a fairly spooky feel to the very beginning of the book.
In Chapter One, the book switches to a first person point of view and we’re introduced to Miss Dorothea Hawes. However, we don’t learn her first name until further on in the book. Dorothea comes across as a haunted young woman. One who doesn’t enjoy the best of health. Throughout the narrative, I was surprised she could keep moving considering sleep was her mortal enemy.
The book was written in what I consider to be a languid manner. It matches well with the weather in old London; hot and sweltering. At times, Mr. Olson managed to get this through so well, I actually felt hot and miserable. However, after a time it felt like an inordinate amount of effort was placed in constantly telling the reader the weather was hot.
Eventually, we’re introduced to a Mr. Chissick. He seeks out Dorothea because of her skills as a psychic. Unlike many during that time, she was the real deal. Mr. Chissick comes across as a man who’s not quite sure what to make of things. His language and mannerisms are halting and made me feel as if he was embarrassed, or upset, or something along those lines the entire time. It was like he was never sure how to comport himself around a woman.
The idea of a man searching out a young psychic to help solve the mystery of a murdered woman is a fascinating one. The fact the way the woman was murdered links up to Dorothea’s past is also interesting. Unfortunately, the manner in which it was written seemed almost draining. Dorothea always being quiet and meek. Mr. Chissick always speaking so haltingly and constantly apologizing. I couldn’t help but wish one of them was a stronger character.
The Half Killed is written in the distant past. As far as I can tell, the mannerisms, dress, and items of interest all match an older time period. There is a great fire in the book, so I am guessing the book takes place back around 1667 if one goes from true events in history. Unfortunately, the reader is never given a time frame for the book. But the spellings and use of words coincides with London. It’s also written in a subtle manner, the words slowly winding and spinning the story. There very well could be many people out there who enjoy a slow build up as this book contains. Perhaps it was meant to lend a hint of mystery and a whisper of the unknown into the pages. However it was meant to be, it missed the mark for me. The climb was too slow and the climax too short and not high enough.
I have no doubt there is an audience out there for this book. It is well-written and can evoke emotion and feelings from a reader. It would just appear I’m not that audience.