Ghosts in the Snow

Book reviews always seem to get away from me. I have a pile of several hardcovers, a few trades and quite lot of paperbacks that I’ve read and said nothing about here. Every once in a while, I get determined to do something about that…. like now…. Even though it feels a bit silly to be reviewing something that my notes say I read back at the end of January.

Ghosts in the Snow [4/5]
by Tamara Siler Jones
Bantam/Spectra (November 2004)

A blend of mystery and fantasy, this is the first tale of Dubric Bryerly, the head of security of a castle, and a man who can see the ghosts of those killed by the serial killer at large in the domain he is called to protect. With the political backdrop of the unlikely relationship between an eccentric nobleman (and prime suspect) and a linen maid to frame his struggle, the castellan uses a blend of forensics and sorcery to pursue justice.

An enjoyable read. The writing is smooth, and the characters well-drawn, and it was interesting to read something in which many of the players were the “common” people and not all nobility and the like. Dubric’s conflicts, both external and internal, made him a credible protagonist. There are several clever scenes (though I won’t spoiler them here) that were carried off quite well. The use of forensics without our contemporary advantages proved quite intriguing. As a mystery, my only quarrel with the story lies in the rigid structure of the unfolding investigation, leaving the reader little opportunity to outsmart the detective (which I must admit is an attraction to me in the genre) and not really establishing enough red herrings to raise the suspense as much as I would have liked. This also tended to slow the pacing in some sections. As a fantasy, I must say that I was impressed with the consistency of the world-building and the impression that there was more to be explored in future books. There’s a second volume – Threads of Malice – coming out this October. I’ll be adding that to my to-be-read pile, too.

Leave a Reply