With Under a Veiled Moon, the second in her Inspector Corravan series, Karen Odden weaves together political unrest and societal flaws to craft a page-turning historical mystery.
On an evening in September of 1878, London is shaken to its core by a horrific maritime disaster upon the Thames. Was it an accident or a well-orchestrated assault by a fringe political group out of Ireland? The investigation into the incident places Inspector Michael Corravan right in the middle of a personal quandary. Between his Irish heritage and his loyalty to Scotland Yard, Corravan must find a way to navigate the personal, professional, and political ramifications without sacrificing his own integrity.
Centering the crime in the novel around the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IBS) was an inspired choice that allows Karen Odden to reveal more of Corravan’s past, including his special bond with the Irish Doyle family who adopted him as one of their own and the many choices – not all of them admirable – that he has made across the years. Once again, his “lady-friend,” Belinda Gale proves to be just as formidable as Corravan, further elevating their complex relationship in the eyes of the reader.
Fans of methodical police procedurals will be impressed with Odden’s careful and precise plotting. Couple that with the authentic period details that make the setting as interesting as the plot itself, not to mention the many believable characters readers will instantly feel attached to and you have all the ingredients for some damn fine historical crime fiction. The heart and humanity of all the players in this tale are presented on the page allowing the reader to feel as though they have been embraced by a comforting hug, despite the fact that murder and a real-life tragedy form the backbone of what Karen Odden presents in Under a Veiled Moon.
Historical fiction is at its best when readers can relate to the goings-on in personal ways. The prejudice and hateful rhetoric surrounding the Irish immigrants in the United Kingdom during this period feels all too relevant as the world witnesses the appalling treatment of refugees around the world – and around our corners – on the daily news. Books like Under a Veiled Moon can cause readers to reflect on modern societal ills without the heavy-handedness being hurled at them like grenades from all directions in the real world.
Due to the multiple strands of storytelling, Karen Odden is able to plant enough seeds for growth in future novels to ensure that the Inspector Corravan series continues for many years to come.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.