In this charming, witty, and weird fantasy novel, Alexis Hall pays homage to Sherlock Holmes with a new twist on those renowned characters. Upon returning to the city of Khelathra-Ven after five years fighting a war in another universe, Captain John Wyndham finds himself looking for somewhere to live, and expediency forces him to take lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk. His new housemate is Ms. Shaharazad Haas, a consulting sorceress of mercurial temperament and dark reputation. When Ms. Haas is enlisted to solve a case of blackmail against one of her former lovers, Miss Eirene Viola, Captain Wyndham is drawn into a mystery that leads him from the salons of the literary set to the drowned back-alleys of Ven and even to a prison cell in lost Carcosa. Along the way he is beset by criminals, menaced by pirates, molested by vampires, almost devoured by mad gods, and called upon to punch a shark. But the further the companions go in pursuit of the elusive blackmailer, the more impossible the case appears. Then again, in Khelathra-Ven reality is flexible, and the impossible is Ms. Haas' stock-in-trade.
- ISBN-13: 9780440001331
- ISBN-10: 0440001331
- Publisher: Ace Books
- Publish Date: June 2019
- Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.6 pounds
- Page Count: 352
Mysteries with a fantastical twist
A nontraditional take on Holmes and Watson and a sci-fi thriller overflowing with attitude will hook any reader.
In Khelathra-Ven, a city surrounded by portals to other universes, the only limit to the types of people one might meet is the imagination. Alexis Hall’s The Affair of the Mysterious Letter finds Captain John Wyndham, a war veteran with few options left, returning to Khelathra-Ven and moving into an apartment at 221B Martyrs Walk. However, his new roommate is different from any other he’s had, because Miss Shaharazad Haas is a sorceress. A consulting sorceress, to be precise. Unpredictable and strong-willed, Haas immediately pulls Wyndham into solving the case of who’s blackmailing one of Haas’ former lovers. Traveling across the multiverse and getting into more than a little bit of trouble, Wyndham and Haas must discover the identity of the blackmailer before the ever-
changing reality of Khelathra--Ven obscures it forever.
A Sherlock Holmes story through and through, The Affair of the Mysterious Letter takes the idea of homage to a completely different level. The genius of it is how closely Hall sticks to the voice of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. The book is written as though Wyndham is writing a retro-spective serial for a future publication, so his words are straight out of Victorian England. He even eschews any foul language and inserts his own editorial filters for the sake of sparing his audience. Of course, ghoulish apparitions, necromancers with low self-esteem and other interdimensional nightmares contrast completely with his tone, leading to some absolutely hilarious juxtapositions. Wyndham is just as prudish as Watson, and reading his reactions to some of Haas’ theatrics will have readers in stitches. This book is simply magic from cover to cover.
Equally unique in tone is Jackson Ford’s surprising The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind. Teagan Frost, a young woman with telekinetic powers and a sarcastic streak, is part of a clandestine operation run by the government. As she’s considered to be one of a kind, Teagan is the star of the show until a man is murdered in a way only a telekinetic could achieve. With the government assuming her guilt, Teagan has just one day to discover who the murderer is and clear her name. But at the same time, she secretly hopes she will find something else—someone like her.
Teagan has such a strong identity, complete with the typical slang and profanity of any 20-something living in Los Angeles, that the reader is totally immersed even as the action charges forward. Ford’s breakneck pace keeps the tension high, and the thrills coming the whole way through. Every decision or mistake feels incredibly impactful as Teagan and her team avoid the cops while searching for the answers they desperately need. Teagan’s jokes, internal monologue and pop culture references are sure to please those looking for an adventure with a digestible amount of sci-fi thrown in.