Rose Gallagher always dreamed of finding adventure, so her new life as a freshly-minted Pinkerton agent ought to be everything she ever wanted. Only a few months ago, she was just another poor Irish housemaid from Five Points; now, she’s learning to shoot a gun and dance the waltz and throw a grown man over her shoulder. Better still, she’s been recruited to the special branch, an elite unit dedicated to cases of a paranormal nature, and that means spending her days alongside the dashing Thomas Wiltshire.
But being a Pinkerton isn’t quite what Rose imagined, and not everyone welcomes her into the fold. Meanwhile, her old friends aren’t sure what to make of the new Rose, and even Thomas seems to be having second thoughts about his junior partner. So when a chilling new case arrives on Rose’s doorstep, she jumps at the chance to prove herself – only to realize that the stakes are higher than she could have imagined. Six delegates have been murdered at a local political convention, and the police have no idea who–or what–is responsible. One thing seems clear: The killer’s next target is a candidate for New York City mayor, one Theodore Roosevelt.
Convinced that something supernatural is afoot, Rose and Thomas must track down the murderer before Roosevelt is taken out of the race–permanently. But this killer is unlike any they’ve faced before, and hunting him down will take them from brownstones to ballrooms to Bowery saloons. Not quite comfortable anywhere, Rose must come to terms with her own changed place in society–and the fact that some would do anything to see her gone from it entirely.
Obviously, I loved A Golden Grave – hello, four stars – and the good definitely outweighed the bad, but I’m going to get the annoying bits out of the way first.
The romance between Rose and Thomas is starting to feel forced, unnecessary, and unbelievable. You either like someone and act on it, or you move on. Considering how far outside the norm these people act in their day-to-day life, it seems highly unlikely that social status/norms/constructs would get in the way of a relationship. Sure, I can understand Rose being hesitant when others think she only became Thomas’ partner because of their relationship. Still, it’s not enough to create the level of drama being spun out over this stupid plot point. And I’m guessing it won’t be resolved quickly in The Silver Shooter, either.
A severe failing in Rose and Thomas’ characters is the natural inclination to use others around them as needed. It is not an attractive quality. Mr Wang and Mei were critical to their success in Murder on Millionaires’ Row and were all but forgotten until needed again. Rose has Pietro taking care of her own mother, and whenever he might be in danger, her first thought is her own needs. She wants everyone in her life to trust her without question and to never hold her to the same standards she holds them. Both Rose and Thomas are so keen to get Clara to help them, with no regard to her fear for her fiancé’s safety. They use Burrows for his luck – usually against his will – and push Chapman to keep them informed and involved despite the risk to his job (and likely, his life, considering how corrupt his boss is). Rose and Thomas always put on a good act of being concerned for others’ safety but forget them as soon as they are no longer needed. Considering how often Rose complains about Thomas’ entitled ways, she is remarkably similar – maybe they are perfect for each other.
Okay, now that’s out of the way – on to the good stuff.
I loved the actual historical figures woven into the story – especially Tesla. He’s precisely the eccentric, genius inventor you want him to be. Adding paranormal elements and special abilities to several real people makes them and the story even more interesting. I’m excited that it looks like some of them may be back in The Silver Shooter – there was not enough Roosevelt in this one for my liking. Lindsey did a lot of research into New York City in the Gilded Age, and I found it fascinating. It kept this crazy paranormal story grounded in reality and made it believable when it really shouldn’t be.
A Golden Grave was exciting and interesting in so many ways – with the detective training, the actual case, the politics, and even the social events, I couldn’t put it down. So many new characters were introduced, and they each added a new dimension to the narrative. Of course, you can always expect realistic, complex characters from Lindsey; even those who are only around for a chapter feel important. I’m a huge fan of Lindsey’s Bloodbound Trilogy (they’re the first books I ever reviewed), and her Rose Gallagher Mystery series is proving to be just as wonderful.
The Rose Gallagher Mystery series is an intriguing combination of new and old that I find strangely thrilling. Still, I will admit that this second book started to bother me – primarily due to the addition of annoying romantic complications. I’ve never been a fan of two characters pining for each other and refusing to act for inconsequential reasons. Unfortunately, I have little reason to believe this will be resolved in The Silver Shooter, but I’m hoping I can go back to just enjoying the craziness that is this historical paranormal detective series.