Near the Bone by Christina Henry
Well, this was a page turner, although or despite not being as bone chilling as I had expected. Mattie lives in the woods, with her husband William. When checking the rabbit snares she finds strange bear-like tracks. There's a beast hiding on the mountain. William is much older than Mattie, very brutal and the reader soon understands that something is not right here. Mattie remembers impossible bits from her past. Three college students are in the woods tracking the creature. William bought bear traps and grenades to kill the beast. Any idea how this will end? The sinister part reminded me of Neville's The Ritual. I was rooting for Mattie, but there were moments when I despised her for being such a wuss, nevertheless I kept turning the pages because I wanted to know whether my prediction of the outcome was right.
3/5 Harpy Eagles
Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman
Review based on an ARC provided by the publishers. Pandora "Dora" Blake's parents were killed in an accident twelve years ago. Her uncle took charge of Dora and of the antiquarian shop Dora's parents built and has nearly run it to the ground. Dora knows her uncle is hiding something and eventually finds Greek antiquities in the cellar. She enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a book binder and antiquarian scholar, to find out whether the items are genuine. Soon they discover that the large vase Dora found has more in store than helping Edward to achieve an academic future and Dora to restore her parents' shop to its former glory. Pandora is a historical novel set in Georgian time. It's a mystery novel as much as a historical novel. The writing is good. The descriptions of London and the characters are vivid. The three POV give each of the three characters their own voice. At times, though, the use of anachronistic words took me out of the story, but that might have been rectified before publishing.
3,5/5 Harpy Eagles
Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge, translated by Jeremy Tiang
In Yo'ang humans and "strange beasts", human-like mythical creatures, live together. Each of the nine interconnecting chapters of the book is dedicated to a different species of "strange beasts". The nameless narrator tells us about the origins, appearances and habits of the different beasts. It was interesting, but the repetitive nature of the stories soon got boring. It's surrealism, or magical realism.
3/5 Harpy Eagles
Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood
It's the late 1940s. Willowjean Parker ran away with the circus years ago. In New York she comes across the famous detective Lilian Pentecost, who hires her as an assistant. Fast forward to three years later, Mrs P and Parker are hired to solve a locked room mystery. The widow of a rich industrial magnate was killed after a seance at the family's Halloween party. The murder could be anyone from the husband's business partner, to the children, the medium present at the seance, to the ghosts of the past. I liked how Pentecost and Parker faced the usual trials and prejudices of women in that time. It was done well, I never had the impression that the women behaved anachronistically. Pentecost further has to deal with a chronic illness that makes her job very hard at times; from personal experience, I can say that the author depicted Mrs P's problems very accurately.
4/5 Harpy Eagles