THINGS HALF IN SHADOW - Alan Finn
Paranormal Historical Fiction
Edward Clark is a crime reporter for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin . William Barclay, Edward's fellow Civil War veteran and friend now with the police department, gives Edward access to crime scenes for his articles.
Edward's boss wants him to investigate and expose the charlatans who are cheating and deceiving those still grieving for their lost ones. During his investigation, Edward encounters Lucy Collins, a medium trickster whose séances are first class fakes. Before he can publicly expose her, Lucy blackmails him into taking down all other mediums in Philadelphia so she will have a larger market. Edward is surprised, dismayed, and fearful to discover Mrs. Collins has learned he is not who he claims to be, giving her the power to destroy him. He is actually the son of an infamous magician, the amazing Magellan Holmes, who remains imprisoned for the murder of his wife during a magic performance long before the Civil War ever started. Edward has thought that everyone believed Columbus Holmes, Magellan Holmes's son, died during the war. Lucy's strategy enmeshes Edward reluctantly with Philadelphia's mediums and the city's ghostly activities, all of which leads to murder.
Lucy Collins takes care of her younger brother who is very protective of his sister and deeply entrenched in her shenanigans. Edward and Barclay discover her troubling past, but Lucy has done and continues to do whatever it takes to survive. What Lucy does not foresee is her actions leading to the murder of famous Philadelphia medium Lenora Grimes Pastor during a séance that she and Edward attend.
With Lucy's help, Edward investigates the crime for which they are suspects, leading to situations involving an unwilling attraction and danger. This is difficult, for Edward is engaged to Violet Willoughby, the daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia family. As Lucy's brother Jasper also attended Lenora's séance, it makes him a suspect, too. To find the truth means Edward must face his past, his father, his own fraud, a deadly group of conspirators, the possibility of the influence of spirits, and hordes of honeybees.
Edward's first person viewpoint tells the story of THINGS HALF IN SHADOW. Although the life Edward leads is a lie, readers are encouraged to believe he tells his story honestly. However, they might find warming up to Edward and Lucy difficult as each has many foibles. Edward does not believe in spirits, and he knows magic is a complete hoax. Events will challenge his preconceptions about his past, his present, and his future, and imperil his life. His voice and observations throughout the story will transport readers to 19th century Philadelphia, and the paranormal events he encounters will entrance readers, guiding them to an unforeseen ending.