The Civil War has been over for five years, but half a decade is not enough time to rid America of the demons the war left behind. Postbellum Philadelphia is populated by families mourning their lost sons, and streets full of men with missing limbs serves as a reminder that time does not heal all wounds. Such is the backdrop for Alan Finn’s Things Half in Shadow, full of spellbinding tales of the supernatural.
The novel is told from the point of view of Edward Clark, now a reporter for one of the city’s largest papers. He is still haunted by the things he saw while fighting in the war, by nightmares of friends whose lives he saw fade amidst cannon fire and smoke. The years have also not brought reprieve from a tragedy he witnessed as a child: The murder of his mother at the hands of his father, famed magician Magellan Holmes.
Because of Edward’s experience with illusion and deceit, thanks to his childhood with Magellan, he is asked by his editor to work on a story exposing the many mediums seeking to make money by reconnecting families with their lost loved ones on the other side. When the city’s most prominent (and perhaps legitimate) medium, Lenora Grimes Pastor, dies mid-seance, Edward must join forces with fake medium, the widowed Lucy Collins, to find her murderer.
Alan Finn is a pseudonym for an acclaimed author of mystery and crime fiction. He resides in Pennsylvania, the state in which his debut novel is set. Things Half in Shadow couples historical detail with imagination and fantasy. The author’s writing style is simplistic but not simple, allowing readers to fill in the blanks as they remain thrilled, intrigued and captivated with every turn of the page.