Title: Arcane Adversaries
Series: The Simon Pearce Mysteries: Book Four
Author: Jess Faraday
Publisher: Blind Eye Books/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 114 Pages
Category: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: There is a bittersweet note to the final novella of the collection, one in which Simon must confront his feelings and discern the difference between loving someone and being in love with him. He does so with no small amount of regret for what might have been, and I’d be lying if I said my heart wasn’t touched by the resolving of his conflict.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Series Blurb: Constable Simon Pearce doesn’t believe in love. It’s a dangerous proposition for many people in 19th century London, but for an ambitious copper climbing Scotland Yard’s greasy career ladder, it’s out of the question.
He doesn’t believe in monsters, either, though there seem to be a lot of them about. Whether it’s a ghost haunting a London churchyard where men seek men’s companionship, a phantom hound in Edinburgh that’s hell-bent on revenge, or a murdered businessman on a cross-country train who just won’t stay dead — the mysterious has a way of finding Pearce, whether he wants it to or not.
But are these happenings truly supernatural? Or is something worse — something thoroughly human — to blame?
Pearce has his theories — about crime, about monsters, and about love. But life has a way of testing even the most carefully considered ideas. And as he chases mysteries from one end of Britain to the other, he may just have to reconsider his ideas about all three.
Review: Witches and a resurrection take center stage in Arcane Adversaries. Or, at least that’s how things appear on the surface for Detective Sergeant Simon Pearce as he embarks on the final adventures in this omnibus. A touch of the obscure has been the trademark of the mysteries, though the strange and unusual are not the resolution to the cases but merely the prelude to them. It’s up to Simon to give a name to the unknown and offer justice—in whatever form that takes—to victims of the misdeeds and the miscreants he pursues.
The village of Penbreigh has become, if not a home, precisely, at least a place where Simon feels a sense of belonging—something he had yet to find, and something we can all relate to on some level. Simon has established friendships, has been offered acceptance in unexpected ways, and has even found someone to love in Theo Penrose…until a letter from his erstwhile lover, Callum Webster, throws Simon into a tailspin, forcing him to make a decision that could once again require him to change course, not running away from something this time, but running towards it. I love the way Jess Faraday has brought Simon to life with the same care and caution Simon himself must observe, by virtue of the time and tide of the society he inhabits. There is a bittersweet note to the final novella of the collection, one in which Simon must confront his feelings and discern the difference between loving someone and being in love with him. He does so with no small amount of regret for what might have been, and I’d be lying if I said my heart wasn’t touched by the resolving of his conflict.
As has been the case with each…well…case Simon becomes embroiled in, there is an essence of the arcane involved. In The Natural Order, Simon must confront a grifter and the aftermath of her incendiary words, which prompt attacks against the wise women of Penbreigh and Bodmin when “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” is taken far too literally by some over-zealous followers, and Simon does what he does best—gets to the bottom of things and does so, in one instance, with no small amount of compassion, which happens to be one of the things that makes him so good at what he does.
In First Foot, Simon may cross into a new year full of promise, and it is in this story that we see him settling on a decision about his future. Or, at a minimum, he’s taking steps to further solidify his life plans, wherever that may lead. Simon might not have all the answers—not even our esteemed Detective Sergeant is so talented as to unravel a mystery before all the clues have been pursued—but there is plenty of evidence to suggest he will finally get his happy beginning. There is a case of an accidental encounter which uncovers an intentional poisoning that must be addressed first, though, and it elicits some unexpected aftereffects that left me hoping to see more of Simon Pearce even as this chapter of his story has been given the very best of resolutions.
You can buy Arcane Adversaries here:
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