STARRED REVIEW
February 2017

Playing host to the other side

By Sara Flannery Murphy
Review by
Sara Flannery Murphy’s debut novel, The Possessions, is an addictive, slow-burning mystery that fuses classic noir with the intrigue of speculative fiction. Controversial and unregulated, the industry for “bodies”—willing hosts to spirits—is in high demand, and Edie is one of the best. She excels at the evacuation of her body, making room for other souls in carefully metered-out sessions with her clients. But Edie’s careful decorum dissolves upon the assignment of a new client, Patrick, who is desperate to spend time with his deceased wife, Sylvia.
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Sara Flannery Murphy’s debut novel, The Possessions, is an addictive, slow-burning mystery that fuses classic noir with the intrigue of speculative fiction. Controversial and unregulated, the industry for “bodies”—willing hosts to spirits—is in high demand, and Edie is one of the best. She excels at the evacuation of her body, making room for other souls in carefully metered-out sessions with her clients. But Edie’s careful decorum dissolves upon the assignment of a new client, Patrick, who is desperate to spend time with his deceased wife, Sylvia.

As Edie’s longing for Patrick grows, her desire to share more of her time and body with Sylvia reaches new heights. When Edie decides to investigate the supposedly volatile nature of Patrick and Sylvia’s marriage and her untimely death, major secrets are uncovered.

Inspired by Victorian spiritualism, The Possessions is recommended for lovers of speculative fiction, noir or gritty mysteries. With its focus on intriguing, beautiful women and the variety of tragedies that befall them, the novel also recalls Hitchcock. Murphy ensures compulsive page-turning until the past and future of each character is unveiled, and the crescendo of that reveal is heady and satisfying.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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The Possessions

The Possessions

By Sara Flannery Murphy
Harper
ISBN 9780062458322

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