Ah Oscar De Muriel. A new author in my life whose writing I think is absolutely spiffing. For real though, absolutely great and detailed. I can blame my boyfriend for that (along with SJM and Brandon Sanderson)
A Fever of the Blood isn’t that an awesome name?? I love it! And the first book (which I haven’t reviewed as I read it sometime last year and a lot has happened since then) The Strings of Murder – I love his titles. But anyway to the synopsis!
New Year’s Day, 1889. In Edinburgh’s lunatic asylum, a patient escapes as a nurse lays dying. Leading the manhunt are legendary local Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray and Londoner-in-exile Inspector Ian Frey. Before the murder, the suspect was heard in whispered conversation with a fellow patient – a girl who had been mute for years. What made her suddenly break her silence? And why won’t she talk again? Could the rumours about black magic be more than superstition? McGray and Frey track a devious psychopath far beyond their jurisdiction, through the worst blizzard in living memory, into the shadow of Pendle Hill – home of the Lancashire witches – where unimaginable danger awaits…
Now doesn’t that sound strange? To me it does and reading this – its a story of murder and mayhem! These two are, in my estimation, the mayhem-iest of mayhem twins. Wherever they go mayhem seems to follow. Of course that might just because they investigate supernatural murder-y things… and because Nine-Nails is a teensy bit manic…
Nine-Nails and Ian are on a manhunt and nothing makes Nine-Nails more manic than mention of his sister. Especially when it somehow turns out his sister is in some strange way involved in what seems to be a cruel and nauseatingly unnecessary murder… and then the murderer flees to Lancashire with proclamations he will kill the “witches” of Pendle Hill. The reason for his sudden murderous rage is unclear until a shocking revelation makes his murderous rage, not understandable per se, but it makes sense to one as unhinged as he. It all climaxes with an awesome fight and help from unlikely places with death and injury… but to whom?
I loved this. This story was great, it started off straight in with a prologue that just reeked creepy and then went pretty much straight in with the murder being committed and then off they went, first to the (very) rich family who were adamant that this investigation be handled quietly (ha!), then to somewhere in South-West Edinburgh then to a farmhouse on the outskirts then back to central Edinbirgh (almost where this all started) then to Lancaster where it all ends in mayhem, shooting, fire, intense blizzards and murder! This series should be called Mayhem & Murder, not Frey & McGray if I’m honest!
The story was so great and so interesting but what I loved were the characters and how they dealt with things and the unusual situations they found themselves in. They are all so varied and a little bit unhinged in some way, and I love it. I see reality in them, maybe in some cases their characteristics are a little exaggerated (see: Nine-Nails, then again I’m sure there are people like him that exist) but still actually quite real. I do find Ian a little annoying, but thats definitely how de Muriel created him, fussy, judgmental, British. Where Nine-Nails is all bluster and movement with no thought of consequences or risks Ian is all (attempted) calm and logic. Putting them together I think makes the perfect, yet (very) volatile, mix.
Oscar de Muriel has a chemistry background and I feel like you can see that in his characters. I wish I knew what chemicals they all were, or could be (now wouldn’t that be an interesting question to tweet him?). I feel like Nine-Nails would be a chemical that if you add just a drop of just about anything would explode in one powerful explosion where as Ian Frey would be one of those chemicals that is slow burning and constant until eventually it just explodes just as violently if not more than McGray!
Basically I love this and you should read it if you are looking for a Murder Mystery with the absolute barest hint of the Supernatural that you see splattered everywhere at the mo (which I love. I am in absolute heaven with magic-y books).
5 out of 5 for a fun read and making magic out of reality!
Comment below to tell me your thoughts?