Title: The Reanimator’s Soul
Series: The Reanimator Mysteries: Book Two
Author: Kara Jorgensen
Length: 340 Pages
Category: Historical Romance, Fantasy, Mystery
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: I love everything about what Jorgensen communicates in this story and through these characters, up to and including the fact that relationships can be tested from within and without and be strengthened by those challenges. The Reanimator Mysteries series has quickly become a favorite.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: An autistic necromancer, his undead lover, and the case that could destroy everything.
When a necromancer turns up dead, Oliver and Felipe think it will be the perfect, straightforward case for their new partnership. That is, until it leads them to a clinic promising a cure for magic, but they aren’t the only ones investigating the Institute for the Betterment of the Soul. Oliver’s ex, Ansley, is in town, and he’s certain the clinic isn’t the paragon of righteousness it claims to be.
Forced to help Ansley infiltrate the institute, Oliver fears he is out of his depth in his work and in love as old wounds and bad habits resurface. But Oliver isn’t the only one struggling. Pulled between his cases, Oliver, and his daughter returning home for the summer, Felipe is drowning. Just when he thinks he finally has everything under control, a new reminder of his untimely demise threatens to throw his life into a tailspin once more.
Between festering wounds and secrets, Oliver and Felipe’s lives stand upon a knife’s edge. To face the evil lurking behind the clinic’s genteel smiles, they must stand together or face the destruction of the place they call home.
Review: Dr. Oliver Barlow is such a beautifully rendered character. He is autistic in a time when there was no diagnosis or term for his need for routine, loathing of crowds and the noise that comes with them, and the exactitude that others see as inflexible and irritating. Oliver deals with these things in the best way he knows how—up to and including trying to accommodate others over his own needs and comfort. There were more than a few touching moments in The Reanimator’s Soul in which we watch Oliver struggle. Those moments serve to enrich the emotional connection to him and let readers in on the connection between him and Felipe Galvan in ways that give their romance a different sort of substance.
Kara Jorgensen not only serves up a story rich with character connection but a deeply effective mystery too. The applied pseudo-science at the Institute for the Betterment of the Soul is gut-wrenching and terrifying as Oliver, Felipe, and Oliver’s intolerable ex, Christopher Ansley, work at odds to uncover a killer and unbury the secrets hidden within the institute’s walls. The action, suspense and tension are elaborated so exquisitely that I felt every moment. The investigation also serves to give readers a deeper emotional connection with Felipe, who is quite literally tethered to the living world through Oliver. Felipe’s fears and failings and his love for Oliver as well as his family—his daughter, Teresa, in particular—shows a vulnerability that also gives Felipe the courage to let his family into his new life.
The magic that exists in this early 20th century world contrasts with and complements the setting. It can be a spot of perfection in an imperfect world. It can also be a deadly imperfection in the hands of those who see harm as help. I love everything about what Jorgensen communicates in this story and through these characters, up to and including the fact that relationships can be tested from within and without and be strengthened by those challenges. The trust that continues to grow between Oliver and Felipe leads to some lovely confessions and gentle confrontations in the midst of the hell they confront. The Reanimator Mysteries series has quickly become a favorite.
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