Set in pre–World War II Europe and seamlessly blending together elements of paranormal fantasy and historical mystery, the second installment in Kenyon’s Dark Talents saga featuring British Secret Intelligence Service agent Kim Tavistock (At the Table of Wolves, 2017) pits the intrepid journalist-turned-operative against a serial killer with ties to Hitler’s Nazi regime.
Charged with tracking down the person (or persons) who is ritualistically murdering young people with psychic talents all over Britain, Tavistock—posing as a writer for the London Register—investigates a possible connection between the brutal killings and a Nazi-supporting baroness and her adult son living in a seaside castle in Wales. The sickly baroness, named Dorothea Coslett—who heads an esoteric group called Ancient Light—welcomes Tavistock, who is allegedly researching an article on spiritualism, to the remote Sulcliffe Castle, perched high on a cliff overlooking an ancient sea henge visible only at low tide. Tavistock finds a possible suspect in the baroness’s son, who is attempting to come into his own (nonexistent) psychic powers. As Tavistock closes in on the killer, her father, Julian, who works as a case officer at SIS, pursues his own investigation into a similar killing in Poland by attempting to identify a mysterious Dutchman with “a crooked light in his eyes” and a penchant for restoring antique dolls. Both plot threads eventually intertwine with unforeseen results. The power of this narrative is in Kenyon’s meticulously described portrayal of 1936 Europe and her deep character development—even peripheral characters like Martin Lister, a boy with psychic abilities, and Lloyd Nichols , a failed beat writer, are three-dimensional and fully realized. Brisk pacing, nonstop action, dark atmospherics, and an undeniably endearing heroine make this effortlessly readable.
Paranormal fantasy and historical fiction fans alike should find Kenyon’s saga featuring assassins, spies, and secret agents to be supremely entertaining. A unique concept that is superbly executed.