Saturday, October 2, 2021

Review: Strange Tricks by Syd Moore

Sometimes series can be jumped into at point without a reader feeling as if they are missing vital information and other times series really need to be read in order to have any chance of understanding the ongoing, larger arc of the tale. I have not read the first five of Syd Moore's Essex Witch Museum series and it is one of those series where not having any knowledge from prior books is a real handicap so it's unfortunate that I jumped in at Strange Tricks, the sixth in the series.

Rosie Strange owns the Essex Witch Museum and she is still discovering things about it and about her biological family. She and her curator, Sam, who might or might not be heading for a relationship, leave the museum in order to investigate reports of a medium who has frequent Near Death Experiences and needs to share the information she's receiving there. It turns out that Rosie and Sam have been sent there by their superior Monty, who appears to be the head of a governmental agency that investigates supernatural things. (Maybe, but this is where knowledge of prior books would be a plus.) Instead of being a random case, it turns out this one is very personal, tied as it is to Sam's younger brother Jazz's unsolved disappearance so many years ago. Poor, young teenage boys who are not likely to be missed by those around them and whose disappearances police have been shrugging off, have been going missing for decades. Rosie must learn to trust her gut instincts as she tries to uncover what happened to the abducted boys.

The main story line is interrupted at intervals with parts of Rosie's birth mother's journal and her hand drawn tarot cards. These pieces serve to remind the reader that there is an unsolved mystery in Rosie's past that she very much wants to solve, just as Sam desperately wants to solve his brother's disappearance. The interaction between Rosie and Sam clearly has much more to it than is presented in this book. In fact, diving into this book as the first, the reader questions why Rosie has any softer feelings towards Sam at all. He is so wrapped up in his own desires that he is thoughtless and dismissive to Rosie, including when her life is in imminent danger. The main mystery, that centered on the abducted boys, is wrapped up but so many other plot lines are left dangling, from Rosie's mother's death to someone called Big Ig to some mysterious and attractive man coming around the museum, that this felt incomplete in many ways. And the story went from mildly ominous to dark and deeply disturbing in the blink of an eye, giving the reader a bit of whiplash. Moore brings an important social concern into the light here but it is still best read in context of the rest of the series rather than as a stand alone mystery.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book for review.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have had to disable the anonymous comment option to cut down on the spam and I apologize to those of you for whom this makes commenting a chore. I hope you'll still opt to leave me your thoughts. I love to hear what you think, especially so I know I'm not just whistling into the wind here at my computer.

Popular Posts