Sarah Painter

Books: Fantasy | Mystery

Crow Investigations: The Night Raven (2018), The Silver Mark (2019)

Crow Investigations

The Night Raven (2018)

The Night RavenLydia Crow has returned to London for a bit, after a case she was investigating turned uglier than expected.

But she liked being on her own, and doesn't want drawn back into the family, yet she turns to Uncle Charlie for a place to stay, which draws her back in all the same.

No matter how far away she wants to stay.

Daisy cut across her. 'What job? Playing at detective? You should be at home looking after your poor father.'

'You may not speak about Henry Crow,' Lydia said flatly.

On the positive side, she does get to spend more time with her best friend.

Emma sunk onto the squashy leatherette seating and immediately slipped off her heels. 'These things are fucking torture. How the hell did I used to wear them?'

Lydia put her Dr Marten's onto the low table in front of the sofa and said 'no idea'.

There was a lot I liked about this story. I liked the conflict between Emma and Lydia, as well as how that was resolved. (Yay! Words!)

I also liked that Uncle Charlie remained enigmatic throughout the story, and you really are never sure which side of right and wrong he lives.

And I also really liked the ghost.

(the ghost) stopped crying. 'What are you doing?' His voice was thin and impatient.

'I'm listening,' Lydia said. 'I'm being a sympathetic ear.'

(The ghost) tilted his head to one side. 'Is that right? You look constipated.'

The weak spots were Lydia's awareness of the magical systems of the world, and I was unsettled by her interactions with DCI Fleet.

Publisher: Siskin Press Limited

Rating: 7/10

The Silver Mark (2019)

The Silver MarkThis is the second book in the Crow Investigations series.

Lydia is still trying to make a living as a private investigator, but right now is still only doing so because her uncle (head of the Crow family) lets her use the space above one of his businesses as her apartment / office. Jason, the ghost in her apartment, is continuing to get stronger and move more objects, and her father's health seems to deteriorate when she spends time with him.

Also, the only cases she is getting are cheating spouse investigations, and she's trying to pull back on her relationship with DCI Fleet, but wanting to know more about a murder has them spending more time together.

I read the first book almost two years ago and it was… fine. I put the second book on my wishlist and there it sat. I finally decided to get and read the second book, and, although it didn't pull me in immediately it wasn't bad.

Then I got the cliffhanger ending and decided I'm done.

There were bits that I liked, but most of them were tangential to the main story.

Lydia searched Yas's friends on Facebook and sent a few friend requests. It only took one of them to let Lydia in and she would have access to Yas's full timeline.

'I would apologise,' Alejandro said. And then he didn't. 

Well, that was honest, at least.

So, of all the different plot points I mentioned above, the only one that is solved is the murder–that she wasn't even hired to investigate. All the other mysteries were ramped up and then left unfinished, and then a new element is dumped in the final pages.

So, I'm bowing out.

Publisher: Siskin Press Ltd

Rating: 6/10