The Half Killed – Quensby Olson

A rare novel of such beauty and contrast, words that caresses over skin, halting in your throat, waiting on the next word and the next word..darkness creeping ever closer through cracks of a dying London…

If ever there was a book that is nothing like it’s cover, this must be it. I went into the review a bit tentative, even a lover of all things magical has boundaries. I was in for the surprise of my life…what an amazing experience this turned out to be…

Thea, or properly known as Dorothea Hawes, grows up a rare prize, a true physic with abilities beyond understanding in London during the early 1900’s. She is pushed to perform at private séances by her Mother and Aunt, unleashing an evil beyond understanding causing the loss of her parents in a brutal, unexplained way. She ends up on the stage as a physic, the very thing that she is trying to hide from, haunting her every moment. The voices calling out, the nights where she sinks into nothingness becomes too much for her frail body and she unsuccessfully tries to kill herself. She lives, scarred physically and emotionally, retiring into seclusion, trying to be invisible as London crumbles in the rising heat and draught and deaths around her. Trying to not see what the future holds as people leave in ever bigger numbers, trying to outrun the cloud of darkness seeping through cracks and people all around, moving ever closer and closer to Thea.

She is sought out by Julian Chissick and is drawn back into this world of feelings and death that she wants nothing more than to avoid. Being drawn in by the killings of a group of young women of reputable employment, Thea finds the border between her mind and the monster she is trying to keep out thinning with every twist and turn until she is finally confronted by her truth and the truth of family secrets gone horribly wrong. Will she find the courage to do what must be done…will Julian Chissick, the former man of God, be able to do what Thea asks to stop the evil…

It is rare today to find an author who uses language almost like a caress, the contrast between the twists and turns and evil of the story in such contrast to the words that caresses like soft butterfly wings. The words conjure up the exact image of every hesitant movement made, word uttered, leaving you almost breathless as it moves as fluid as liquid over the feelings, movements and thoughts of not only Thea but all of the characters.

A rare novel of such beauty and intrigue, I found myself drawn in by the characters from the first page, holding on, wondering, expecting and horrified at every corner with them. A brutal evil held back by a frail Thea. The age old fight between good and evil, the play between class, honesty and accepted ignorance in a world where nothing is as it seems and everybody has something to hide…

An absolute gem of a novel.

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