Floats the Dark Shadow : a book review

The poet Charles Baudelaire (photo by Étienne Carjat, ca. 1862, from Wikimedia commons)

The poet Charles Baudelaire (photo by Étienne Carjat, ca. 1862, from Wikimedia commons)

I took French for all four years of high school. Somewhere in our third or fourth year, a student teacher brought in photocopies of Baudelaire’s “Correspondances” and one of his Spleen poems (“Quand le ciel…”).

I was in love.

With the French language. With the French Symbolist poets. The moody verse of Baudelaire and his successors struck just the right note of tortured melancholy so dear to the teenage soul. Unlike some other teen passions, however, this one has stuck.

Thus you can only imagine my delight when I began Yves Fey‘s extraordinary historical mystery and found myself in the world of Baudelaire’s heirs, the later Symbolists and décadants. The book’s heroine, aspiring artist Theo Farraday, is drawn into the orbit of the décadent world through her cousin Averill, a young man with dark secrets with whom she finds herself falling in love. Averill is a poet, part of the Revenants, a group of young writers who welcome Theo into their circle.

But a killer is stalking the streets of Paris, a killer of children. When the Revenants fall under suspicion, Theo begins to investigate on her own, certain the murderer can’t be someone she knows.floats the dark shadow

Theo and her male counterpart, police detective Michel Devaux, are fully drawn, sympathetic protagonists, and each of the secondary characters is vividly portrayed as well. Yves Fey skillfully brings the world of fin-de-siècle Paris to life, incorporating real people and events into the fabric of her riveting tale to create a rich and unforgettable tapestry. The killings are sadistic and dark, and the more squeamish reader may want to skim in a couple of spots, but I would urge anyone who loves Paris and historical mysteries to put FLOATS THE DARK SHADOW on their must-read list.

FLOATS THE DARK SHADOW has already received justified acclaim, winning a Silver Medal for Best Mystery from the 2013 Independent Publishers Awards. It also placed in both the Mystery and Historical categories of the 2013 Next Generation Indie Awards, and was a finalist in the ForeWord Independent Publishers Awards. Give yourself a treat and read it today!

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