Monday, September 24, 2012

Author Interview: Richard Long

Please enjoy this interview with Richard Long, author of the nail-biting supernatural thriller, The Book of Paul. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.

1. Tell us about the spark of inspiration that eventually grew into The Book of Paul. 
The initial inspiration for The Book of Paul came when I wrote the first line of the first chapter called Exercises: “He practiced smiling.” I wanted to explore a character who had been so damaged by childhood trauma that he could no longer feel compassion, joy, affection, and had, accordingly, committed all kinds of horrible acts. I wondered if such a person could ever regain his emotional capacity and be redeemed by love.

2. What was the research process like for this book (which can at times deal with some pretty heady and—frankly—grotesque goings-on)? Any horror stories to share?
There are many aspects to the story, so the research was really extensive. I love doing the research almost as much as the writing, so it’s a joy for me to read and learn so many new things. The creation mythology literally goes back to square one and builds from there, tracing the history of Hermetic and Gnostic philosophy, alchemy, druidism and pagan mythology--particularly Egyptian, Greek and Celtic traditions. There’s also a strong science fiction element involving quantum physics, artificial intelligence, life extension and what’s known as The Singularity. Other lines of exploration involved Irish genealogy and what I call the pain culture: tattoos, elaborate piercings and body modifications. I made some gruesome discoveries along the way. The most disturbing was the Extreme Body Modification website I stumbled upon, which is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen. I first saw it in the early days of the Internet, which is pretty amazing in itself. I checked recently and it’s still there, though I didn’t have the stomach to peek inside again. I’m actually as squeamish as some of my readers about certain things, which is probably why the horror comes across so vividly. If something scares the hell out of me, it’s easy for me to convey that fear and revulsion.

3. Tell us about Paul. Who is he and what is his book about?
The Book is a 4th century codex, the only one of it’s kind. How and why it was made and what it contains is one of the central mysteries of the series, so I’m not going to spill those beans. Paul is every bit as mysterious. When he is first introduced you might think he’s a serial killer involved with the occult in some way. As the story progresses you discover some really unexpected things about him. One thing is clear from the outset – he is one very nasty piece of work. I’ve always felt that any horror novel or thriller is only as good as the villain. I definitely aimed for the fences with Paul.

4. There is a strong tarot undercurrent to this novel. The protagonist even makes his living by reading the cards. Why did you decide to work it into The Book of Paul, and how does it surface throughout the course of the story?
I actually did tarot and numerology readings when I lived in the East Village many years ago. The tarot led me to a lot of dark occult explorations, which are mirrored in William’s journey. I was lucky enough to pull out of that nosedive and hop over to the Buddhist side of the fence. William is not so fortunate. The reader gets drawn into William’s world through his first person narration as he talks about becoming a collector of ancient occult manuscripts, which leads him to the tarot. Then he gradually reveals more through his journal entries, which contain the meat of the mythology and all the Hermetic and Gnostic lore. Finally, he discovers that the tarot is actually related to an apocalyptic prophecy, which Paul is determined to fulfill by any means necessary, which is very bad news for Billy.

5. At almost 500 pages, this is not a short novel. From start to finish, how long did it take you to write, revise, and ready for publication?
I’ve written over 2,000 pages for The Book of Paul and the series. The first draft of this volume was close to a thousand pages long. I cut out eight characters and their storylines in the second draft, which netted my first agent. She wanted a lower page count, so many of the narrator’s interior musings were cut. Those were actually some of my favorite sections. Then I moved to another agent and he wanted more of the mythology put back in, so it grew close to this size. After six months he hadn’t sold it, so I got sick of the whole process, wrote it the way I wanted, and published it.

6. The concept of synchronicity plays heavily in this novel. What attracts you to it, and has it proven a heavy influence in your own life? I’ve always been a spiritual seeker. I was raised as a Catholic, but the nuns effectively beat those beliefs out of me quickly. Even as a kid, I couldn’t accept the idea of God as the big guy in the sky with the white beard. Science and mythology and my own imagination showed me all kind of possibilities. I first noticed synchronicity when the number eleven kept showing up for me all over the place--addresses, hotel rooms, etc. Someone suggested I get a book on numerology and I discovered that eleven was my “name number” and also a power number. I started noticing all kinds of things after that, coincidences that were just too weird to brush away. Then I read some Jung, and when I got into quantum physics that sealed the deal. Synchronicity for me now is the manifestation of interconnectedness in the universe. There is nothing you can perceive that isn’t connected to you. As the Buddhists say, “no separate self.”

7. Paul is... scary (we’ll leave it at that). How were you able to effectively become this deranged character, and how did you hang on to your own humanity after the fact? 
I would imagine it’s much the same as when Anthony Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter. He was very disdainful of method actors who got all caught up in identifying with their characters. There’s a famous story about Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man. Hoffman was a method actor and he stayed up all night before their torture scene together and Olivier said something like, “Why don’t you try acting, dear boy?” That being said, I’m not immune to being disturbed by these things. When I wrote the traumatic scenes of him and Martin--well, I cried when I wrote them and they stayed with me for days. So maybe the method is working for me too. Paul is great to write because it’s like letting my Id out of a cage. I get to play out my most evil imaginings and nobody gets hurt. I also had to find Paul’s humanity to make him really interesting for me. I didn’t want him to be some cartoon monster. Paul is also in a lot of pain; he was traumatized as a boy and his life was changed forever. By the end of the story you get to see many other sides of him. And of course, there’s a lot more to come.

8. Irish mythology is woven into The Book of Paul, and at one point, Paul even makes a sarcastic quip about the luck of the Irish. Why Irish, and how all does its culture influence the story?
When I’m writing, I go into a daydream state where I imagine the character and what he or she looks like and where they are and what they’re doing. No outline usually. I sit back and watch and listen. If it’s great the way I imagine it, then writing the dialog is like taking dictation. When I wrote the first chapters with Paul, I was surprised because I kept hearing him speak with an Irish brogue, but his accent went in and out – sometimes really thick, sometimes a little lilt, sometimes no accent at all. So I’m thinking, what’s that about? I come from Irish American stock, but my parents told me absolutely nothing about their parents other than to say they were cruel. So that’s the starting point with Paul. He’s the ultimate bad dad. The more I explored Paul, the deeper it led me into Celtic mythology, Irish genealogy and history. I suppose I’m trying to find the missing links of my own heritage. My grandmother was born in Ireland, so I have dual citizenship, even though I haven’t been there yet. I’m thinking I’ll go next year when I’m writing the third sequel.

9. The Book of Paul is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and in that way, it can be difficult to classify. So tell us, who is your target audience for this novel? Given the fact that there are some rough episodes in the story, you might think that the so-called target audience would be men who are into horror, thrills and mayhem. But women actually seem to be my biggest, or at least, my most vocal fans. I’ve been getting some really enthusiastic reviews from men, but even more so from women, who surprisingly seem less squeamish than some of the male reviewers. The Book of Paul doesn’t fit into any neat, tidy genre. It’s very complex and like you say, unlike anything I’ve read before either. There’s a Pulp Fiction element to it, with quirky characters in a seedy environment. There’s a major religious/mythological mystery for the Dan Brown crowd. It’s very funny, but incredibly poignant. It’s very disturbing, but there are lots of fast-paced action scenes. There’s romance and kinky sex. Something for everybody.

10. Why did you decide to self-publish The Book of Paul, and how has the journey been so far? 
Read above. The traditional publishing industry in general is like a boxer on the ropes in the tenth round. For fiction it’s even worse. Add first-time novelist to the list and sprinkle on an unclassifiable genre for a little seasoning. I had two agents who were well known and successful, and very enthusiastic about the book. But the editors they reached wouldn’t take a chance on it. I could have kept trying, but frankly, I ran out of patience. How has it been so far? The book is out in the world and it’s just the way I wanted it. I have complete control over everything I do, including the cover art, which is also exactly how I want it. The marketing is a lot of hard work, particularly the social marketing, which I had never done before. But that’s turned out to be a lot of fun too. I’m meeting so many great people--other authors and readers--and getting such a strong response on the book that it feels like a vindication. See? I told you so. Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

 To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of The Book of Paul for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
About The Book of Paul: A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  

About the author: Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace. He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. Visit Richard on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Guest Post: Rob Kaufman

I am pleased to welcome Rob Kaufman, author of One Last Lie which released May 12th. A psychological thriller with many twists and turns, it is the story of a couple who decide to use an old friend as a surrogate mother, but old obsessions and anxieties come to surface and threaten the stability of everyone involved.  Take a look:

Philip and Jonathan have had the perfect life together for ten years - fulfilling every dream except that of having a child. Along comes Angela, Philip’s college friend who apparently conquered her old demons of obesity and manic-depression.

After reacquainting and becoming good friends, the three decide to have a child together through artificial insemination of Jonathan’s sperm.

From that point, Philip and Jonathan’s idyllic life begins to unravel. Angela’s mask of deceit gradually slips as her pregnancy awakens psychological and physical problems, leaving Philip and Jonathan regretting ever allowing her into their lives.

Told from an elderly Jonathan’s hospital bed, Angela’s tangled web unwinds into heartbreak, deception, legal battles, and finally murder – with a surprise ending no one could have ever imagined.

One Last Lie – A Novel
Where it came from and where it’s going…

“Can I have your sperm, please?”
Three years ago this question came out of my best friend’s mouth – a woman I’d known for many years and had never asked for anything more than a sip of my Caramel Machiatto. She talked about her motherly instincts and the ticking of her “biological clock”. It seemed she’d given it much thought, talked with many people and was now ready to proceed. Apparently, I was the last to know.
I was stunned and speechless, although quite flattered. I grabbed her hand and asked for a few days to think about it.
Coincidentally, I was having lunch with my lawyer the next day and I brought up my friend’s question – which was now my new problem.
She dropped her fork. “Absolutely not!” she snapped.
“Why not?” I snapped back.
“The law is too unclear. Even if she says that she doesn’t want money or support, she might change her mind. What if she’s really a nut and her pregnancy hormones put her over the edge? Seriously, what if she’s unstable?”
“She’s not,” I said adamantly.
“But what if she is?” she insisted.
“She’s not,” I insisted back.
“But what if…”
“She’s not.”
And that was the beginning of One Last Lie.
In the end, I didn’t give my friend the sperm she’d asked for. I decided our friendship was too important to jeopardize. After I told her I couldn’t help her out, she never spoke to me again, so I guess I made the right decision.
On the positive side, the experience was the start of my best book so far – One Last Lie – a novel that has made people mad, sad, happy and most importantly, it has made them think. 

Author Biography
One Last Lie is Rob Kaufman’s second novel. This book made it through to the quarterfinals of Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Awards and is currently receiving five-star reviews on websites like Amazon and GoodReads. Rob lives in Connecticut, writes whenever he can find the time and tries to “live in the moment” – though he admits, the older he gets, the more difficult that becomes.

You can visit Rob Kaufman’s website at
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or on Goodreads at:
Saturday, September 8, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Integration by Imogen Rose

by Imogen Rose
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
2012 Imogen Rose
Softcover Edition; 416 Pages
ISBN: 978-0985676605
Genre: Fiction / Young Adult / Paranormal
Source: Review Copy by Author (Bewitching Book Tours)

4 / 5 Stars

Second haiku warning:

A boyfriend missing
A lover must pay in blood
A princess must die

Welcome back to Bonfire Academy.

My Thoughts
Integration is the second novel in the Bonfire Academy series and I thought it was just as interesting and fascinating as the first novel, if for very different reasons.  Initiation began with a huge bang and was quite relentless in its action, with non-stop twists and turns leaving very little room for the reader to breathe.  While Integration was slower in its pacing and in its action, I found the character developments and the focus on the plot twists to be just as intriguing and found it was the little things that really made this novel.  Typical of a second novel in a series, it was more about the build-up and the set-up for novels yet to come, but that didn't make the plot any less interesting to read.

It was great to see Cordelia develop and grow both as a potential future leader and as a paranormal being.  I was glad to see her up to her usual tricks, and the trouble that ensued, even as an apprentice staff member, and although she often got into a lot of trouble, she is fiercely loyal to her friends and colleagues; it definitely made for some fun and unusual situations.  

Along with old faves, such as Faustine and Jagger, there were some new characters or previously mentioned characters who played a much larger role in this novel.  Perhaps I am dating myself but I am a serious fan of King Sebastien and just adore his character and his love of his children.  Perhaps it's the sense of power and authority that he seems to carry with him all of the time, or maybe it's the sense of secrets that's always alluded to by the author.  I was happy to see how well Cordelia and King Sebastien got along and am glad we will see a lot more of him in future novels.  I also like the friendship between Colton and Cordelia and seriously hope that as he's a shifter that relationship doesn't backfire on her one day considering the poor relationships she has with the shifter community. I would be so sad to know that Colton is actually her enemy.  When you read the novel and read the Prologue, you might understand what I am referring to as something serious is going to happen to Cordelia and I sort of feel like the Quinn / Cordelia thing is just a bit too trite and pat to fit the scenario.  Ms. Rose has shown in the past how easily she can deceive her readers and make us think one thing while in fact it's actually something else; and considering the line TRUST NO ONE keeps popping up all the time, I'm trying to keep an open mind as to who will actually betray her.

Integration is a worthy follow-up to Initiation, and while it did tend to slow down in some spots, it was still interesting in terms of character and plot development, if perhaps not in terms of the action that was like a roller coaster ride in Initiation.  While there were some characters I would have liked to have seen a bit more, or who could have been fleshed out a bit more, the main characters were nicely developed and showed some growth.  Naturally ending on a cliffhanger, it will be interesting to see what happens as the main characters head out into the working world in the next book in the series, and I am looking forward to more betrayals and more interesting and fun paranormal activities.  


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Friday, September 7, 2012

Author Interview & Giveaway: Jade Kerrion

I am pleased to welcome Jade Kerrion, author of Perfection Unleashed, the first book in a new series, Double Helix, which has also been the recipient of several awards.  Jade is here today to answer a few questions about her new novel as well as to share some interesting facts about her writing and what she has in store for us next.  Take a look:

Two men, one face. One man seeks to embrace destiny, the other to escape it.

Danyael Sabre spent sixteen years clawing out of the ruins of his childhood and finally has everything he wanted--a career, a home, and a trusted friend. To hold on to them, he keeps his head down and plays by the rules. An alpha empath, he is powerful in a world transformed by the Genetic Revolution, yet his experience has taught him to avoid attention.

When the perfect human being, Galahad, escapes from Pioneer Laboratories, the illusory peace between humans and their derivatives--the in vitros, clones, and mutants--collapses into social upheaval. The abominations, deformed and distorted mirrors of humanity, created unintentionally in Pioneer Lab's search for perfection, descend upon Washington D.C. The first era of the Genetic Revolution was peaceful. The second is headed for open war.

Although the genetic future of the human race pivots on Galahad, Danyael does not feel compelled to get involved and risk his cover of anonymity, until he finds out that the perfect human being looks just like him.

Interview with Jade Kerrion

1) To start off, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?  How did you become interested in writing science-fiction novels?
I’m Jade Kerrion, and I am, among many other things, an author of speculative fiction. I have an undergraduate degree in biology and philosophy, and a MBA (which allows me to hold down a day job in order to pay for my expensive writing hobby.) I had been writing since the age of thirteen and was finally convinced by my supportive husband to publish my work. After my debut novel, Perfection Unleashed, won three awards, I figured, “This might actually work…” and decided to release my novel for the enjoyment of my readers.

2) Can you tell us a little about your novel, Perfection Unleashed? What is it like to create your own world?
Perfection Unleashed is set in a world that isn’t too different from the world we know. The U.S. is still a super power, the cities are located where they usually are, and the technology is not that much different. This world, however, has been transformed by the genetic revolution, and human derivatives (mutants, in vitros, clones) live beside unaltered humans who are genetically inferior. Humans, however, retain political power, so life goes on—teetering on the brink of social collapse, but not quite falling apart—until the perfect human being, Galahad, escapes from his laboratory prison. Galahad is the catalyst for change, especially in the life of Danyael Sabre, the alpha empath who was, unknowingly, used as the physical template for the perfect human being.

3) What inspired you to write Perfection Unleashed?  How much research was involved in the writing? Do you have a background in science?
My background is in biology and philosophy, and you might say that Perfection Unleashed perfectly marries my interests. My inspiration for writing Perfection Unleashed was to unpack the social issues arising from advances in science, including genetic manipulation. These issues are a lot closer than many of us would believe. For example, the “live blood transfusion” (referenced in chapter three) is based on a real experience involving mice. The brain functions of old mice and young mice reached equilibrium when they shared a closed circulatory system. What are its implications on human aging? How would normal humans deal with humans who were genetically optimized to be more athletic, more beautiful, more intelligent? When does science infringe upon society, and at what point does it escalate into class warfare?

4) What was your greatest challenge while writing this novel?  And what is it exactly that you're exploring, what is the message?
My greatest challenge was how to incorporate the deeper philosophical questions without slowing down the novel with preachy paragraphs. In the end, I decided to let the characters speak for themselves and to allow the readers to draw what insights they will. I used “Ender’s Game” as a model. It was a story about a boy’s video game; only at the end did you realize that the game world they destroyed was real. A reviewer says of Perfection Unleashed, “The novel dances close to philosophical and social questions, such as on the privilege of birth and fairness in society, without getting high-brow or slowing down story development. The philosophy and the keenly observed human dynamics fit seamlessly into the fast-moving plot.” I think in the end, I succeeded at what I was trying to do.

5) Which character was the most fun to write about?  Which character presented the biggest challenge?
I enjoyed writing Zara Itani. She’s a Lebanese-Venezuelan mercenary, a human in a world of super-powered mutants. Unlike other heroines who fall in love with pointy-toothed vampires and eventually become one of them, Zara will never be more than she is—human. Her genes, however, do not prevent her from keeping up with, and frequently showing up, her genetically-superior companions. She’s temperamental, confident, and capable—an alpha female for the 21st century.

Danyael Sabre, the protagonist of the Double Helix series, was the biggest challenge. He is an alpha empath by birth and a doctor by training. His deadly empathic powers are fueled by emotional and physical pain, and walking the fine line (at least for him) between victim and hero was frequently challenging. He is private and reclusive, and a completely unsuitable partner for the brash and daring Zara. That’s why they’ll have to get together some day. Just because.

6) What advice would you give to an aspiring science-fiction writer?
The advice, from a relative novice such as myself, would be to keep it simple. Often, authors are tempted to create fantastical worlds and pack in every conceivable level of detail. It’s perfectly okay to create the world in all its detail; whether you share it, and how much of it you share with the readers is a matter of style. There’s a balance authors need to strike between detail and pacing, and unfortunately, they don’t always work hand in hand. (Hands up if you’ve ever glossed over the pages and pages of Tolkien’s work where hobbits are singing their songs—I adore Tolkien, and I’ve never read beyond the first line of a hobbit’s song…) My personal guideline: If it matters to the story, share it. If it doesn’t, ask yourself if it can be taken out without affecting the flow and immersion of the storyline.

7) Can you share with us any projects that you are currently working on or plans for the future? What can fans expect next from you?  Are there other genres in which you are interested but haven't yet explored?
If you enjoyed Perfection Unleashed, look out for books 2 and 3 in the series, Perfect Betrayal and Perfect Weapon, which will be released in December 2012. In 2013, I will release the 4th book in the series (as yet untitled); that novel will wrap up Danyael’s story arc. Galahad’s story will likely continue though, in a related series. In 2013, I’ll also release a YA spin-off, involving a pair of twins, Dee and Dum, that you will meet in Perfect Weapon. In addition to that, I’m thinking of several short stories that will further illuminate aspects of the world of the Double Helix. In short, I’ve lots to keep me busy!

8) Favourite authors? Role models?
Neil Gaiman is pure genius in his storytelling ability.

9) Do you have a pivotal point in your life, a point when you knew you would be a writer?  How did it develop?
At thirteen, I wrote a school essay about a sunset and a marriage proposal. It was so saccharine, you’d be tempted to break out the insulin, but my teacher liked it and had it read to the class. Being an impressionable teenager, I thought that if the teacher liked it, I obviously had to be a good writer. *rolls eyes* It’s only taken twenty-five years and tens of thousands of hours of work since then to publish material I’d be proud to stand behind and say, “Yes, I wrote that.” Dreaming is easy. Making dreams come true takes work.

10) What do you like to do when you are not writing? What is your ultimate luxury?
The ultimate luxury would be to do nothing! However, I’ve realized that I don’t have the right personality type to do nothing. For example, sunbathing on a lounge chair in front of a swimming pool is agony for me (and for the people watching me.) I twitch, I sit up, switch positions, twitch some more. That said, I would love to spend several hours at a spa, getting pampered from head to toe. Maybe, sometime during those few hours, I’d learn to relax for a few minutes.

11) Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
I love connecting with and hearing from my readers. Please feel free to reach out to me via Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, or my website. Thank you for hosting me on your wonderful blog!

Author Biography:
Jade Kerrion unites cutting-edge science and bioethics with fast-paced action in her novel, Perfection Unleashed. Drawing rave reviews for its originality and vision, and lauded as “a breakout piece of science fiction,” Perfection Unleashed is a Royal Palm Literary Award 2011 winner, a Next Generation Indie Book Award 2012 finalist and a Hollywood Book Festival Award finalist. Get your copy at


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Monday, September 3, 2012

Review: Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King

by Laurie R. King
Release Date: September 4th, 2012
2012 Bantam
Ebook Edition; 288 Pages
ISBN: 978-0553807998
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Mystery
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

4 / 5 Stars

In a strange room in Morocco, Mary Russell is trying to solve a pressing mystery: Who am I? She has awakened with shadows in her mind, blood on her hands, and soldiers pounding on the door. Out in the hivelike streets, she discovers herself strangely adept in the skills of the underworld, escaping through alleys and rooftops, picking pockets and locks. She is clothed like a man, and armed only with her wits and a scrap of paper containing a mysterious Arabic phrase. Overhead, warplanes pass ominously north.

Meanwhile, Holmes is pulled by two old friends and a distant relation into the growing war between France, Spain, and the Rif Revolt led by Emir Abd el-Krim—who may be a Robin Hood or a power mad tribesman. The shadows of war are drawing over the ancient city of Fez, and Holmes badly wants the wisdom and courage of his wife, whom he’s learned, to his horror, has gone missing. As Holmes searches for her, and Russell searches for herself, each tries to crack deadly parallel puzzles before it’s too late for them, for Africa, and for the peace of Europe.

My Thoughts
Garment of Shadows is the twelfth novel in the Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell series and like its predecessors, lives up to the author's amazing ability to provide great breadth and scope to her mystery stories.  While I do admit to being somewhat skeptical in the face of using amnesia as one of the 'tools' for this story, I should have known that Ms. King would use the concept well and it would not simply take another hit to the head and Mary would miraculously have all of her memories back.  Like her previous novels, the mystery was subtle and you really had to pay attention to every detail in order to grasp the full context of everything that was going on.

One of the things I have enjoyed over the years in these historical mysteries is learning about obscure historical points that don't always get touched upon a lot in other novels. In this case, Mary and Sherlock are in Morocco and are in placed in the midst of a growing war between France, Spain, and the Rif Revolters.  While it is a period of history I have heard about, it was not one with which I was overly familiar so it was a treat to learn about this time period in more detail and I took time to do some research of my own to learn more about the era.  Ms. King has a way of immersing the reader into the time period along with her characters and I felt like I was right there walking the streets of Fez along with Mary as she was trying to familiarize herself with who she was and what she was doing there.  

I am also a huge fan of Mary, more so than Sherlock Holmes, as she is a modern woman who can pick locks, change disguises, and do all sorts of things that a woman of that time probably could not do.  And I definitely enjoy the intellectual give-and-take between the characters - it's so much fun.  I have especially enjoyed her growth in these past few novels as she has evaded Mycroft's machinations and manipulations and yet she has managed so far to keep the same moral identity and fibre that she had right from the beginning: I have often wondered if she would cave in to the spy manipulations and manoeuverings that were happening around her and allow the deceptions to change her character, but so far she has kept true to herself.  It has been fun watching her deceive some of the brightest men in England so far though.

Garment of Shadows is an interesting and fascinating addition to the series and I enjoyed it tremendously.  The characters continue to grow and develop, and I learn new things about them continuously which I love.  I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series and I am curious as to where the author will send them next.