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The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James

The Other Side of Midnight is the fourth novel by Simone St. James.  Her previous novels, The Haunting of Maddy Clare, Silence For The Dead, and An Inquiry Into Love And Death were all reviewed here on the blog.  You can click the links to read those reviews.  Simone St. James is an excellent writer, and I've enjoyed all of her books.  They are English period supernatural thriller/historical fiction.  Each has been a page turning, suspenseful, atmospheric, creepy, supernatural read.  Her next novel is due in April 2016.

1925.  London.  The death and terror of the war has sparked an obsession with the occult and so-called psychics who claim the ability to contact the dead.  Frauds prey on the survivors left behind who are desperate to speak with their lost loved ones one last time.  In all of England, the sole proven true psychic is Gloria Sutter, a flashy, manipulative, competitive woman, who contacts the dead for a price--she's out for herself and only herself.

One night Ellie Winter is called on by a mysterious man named George Sutter, who enlists Ellie's reluctant help in solving the murder of his estranged sister, the famous psychic, Gloria.  Ellie too is a true psychic who chose anonymity over proving her powers in the wake of a brutal betrayal by her former friend, Gloria.  The two women had not seen each other in years.  Ellie knows the business--it's how she makes a living after all--and she knows the players.  She can go where the authorities cannot and glean information from people who won't share what they know with the police.

The mystery also brings James Hawley, the psychical investigator and the man who ruined her mother's career, back into Ellie's life.  He is also looking into Gloria's murder, and so Ellie forms a reluctant and uneasy alliance with a man she doesn't like and doesn't trust.  But the investigation draws Ellie and James closer, and despite both their better judgement sparks fly.

As Ellie reaches out to her former circle of psychics and hangers on, interviewing former acquaintances and amassing information, she realizes she cannot trust anyone, not Davies, Gloria's right hand woman and business assistant; not George, Gloria's own brother who remains a shadowy figure on the periphery of the investigation; not James, who wonders why both Ellie and her mother failed their psychic tests; and not Gloria, who wasn't above omitting certain details from her clients' readings, manipulating a power play against her best friend whom she also saw as competition in the business, and breaking her own rules and endangering herself because she was desperate for money.

The deeper Ellie is drawn into this world that she has avoided these past three years, the more she is caught up in it and in the murder case.  But as she uses her powers in ways she'd vowed never to use them again, the more they grow both stronger and unpredictable and the more she learns about the nature of her gifts.  Then Ellie realizes that Gloria's last days don't make sense.  Why did she travel to a strange house in the countryside for a seance?  Who orchestrated the seance party and why?  And how are they connected to her murder?

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


Comments

Carmen said…
I finally bought The Haunting of Maddy Clare and it's on my list waiting to be read at some point. The other books I am waiting for them to be on sale.

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