Book review: The Mystery of Nevermore

book-review-the-mystery-of-nevermore

The Mystery of Nevermore (Snow & Winter, #1)The Mystery of Nevermore by C.S. Poe
My rating (Goodreads): 3 of 5 stars

I received a free copy from Net Galley in exchange for honest review.

I was looking for a murder mystery and found this book in Net Galley. The touch of romance was a bonus.

C.S. Poe has done a decent job in introducing The Mystery of Nevermore as the first book in the series Snow and Winter.

Book cover

A tastefully done book cover shows a pencil sketch of one of the lead characters Sebastian Snow (I think so) surrounded by an air of mystery. You can see a Raven at his back (commendable work by the cover artist). I won’t say what it reminds me of :). Let’s see if the Mr. Poe fans can figure it out.

Book blurb

It’s Christmas, and all antique dealer Sebastian Snow wants is for his business to make money and to save his floundering relationship with closeted CSU detective, Neil Millett. When Snow’s Antique Emporium is broken into and a heart is found under the floorboards, Sebastian can’t let the mystery rest.

He soon finds himself caught up in murder investigations that echo the macabre stories of Edgar Allan Poe. To make matters worse, Sebastian’s sleuthing is causing his relationship with Neil to crumble, while at the same time he’s falling hard for the lead detective on the case, Calvin Winter. Sebastian and Calvin must work together to unravel the mystery behind the killings, despite the mounting danger and sexual tension, before Sebastian becomes the next victim.

In the end, Sebastian only wants to get out of this mess alive and live happily ever after with Calvin.

Book review

Characterization

Sebastian Snow, who has color blindness (disease: achromatopsia), runs a business with Snow’s Antique Emporium. I wonder why Sebastian doesn’t tell people he has color blindness instead of waiting for a reaction to an uncommonly used medical term.

His live-in boyfriend Neil is a douchebag.

Sebastian finds a dead body part, (umm, scratch that) a few parts and whole of dead bodies. Enters the freckly Detective Calvin Winters.

An interesting observation by detective Calvin Winters:

Do you give all of the men in your life a murder case for Christmas, or just the really special ones?

As a fan of the mystery maestro Edgar Allan Poe, Sebastian Snow starts seeing similarities of the murder elements from the ongoing case with several of Mr. Poe’s books. Meanwhile, his relationship with Neil deteriorates, as his attraction for the manly detective grows. How convenient!

The lead detective on the murder cases, Calvin Winters, has a history of his own. He adds more drama and confusion to Sebastian’s already complicated love life. Poor Seb.

Plot

As you have already read in the book blurb, Sebastian has been in a ‘floundering’ relationship with one closeted boyfriend CSU (crime scene unit) detective Neil Millett. He jumps ship, in the form of Calvin Winters, who turns out to be deeply closeted and equally afraid of acknowledging their relationship in public. Fortunately for the characters and the readers, there is a possibility of a happy ending as Winters is not tight-a**ed as Millett. The book clearly depicts the emotional conflict that Sebastian experiences, from a failing relationship, forming new alliances, while tied up intimately to a grim tale of murders and greed. The scenes of love and war between the lovers are touching. There are times when you can sympathize with and want to justify Sebastian’s quick shift of mind/love/attraction (not sure what would be the correct word, it was too soon) from one lover to another. As one of the other reviewers mentioned, the heart wants what the heart wants, right? Now, enough romance.

Let’s talk about the mystery.

Christmas as a backdrop for the romance/suspense/thriller was a good choice. The reader can relate better with the holiday moods providing a stark contrast to the dark atmosphere of murder and melancholy mood of unrequited love (that was a possibility). The narrative was fluid and descriptive. The background information (Edgar Allan Poe’s books) was elaborate (I am not sure if it was necessary) while the dialogues were often entertaining and crisp. I will be Goldilocks here and say, they were, “Just right.” The air of mystery continued for half the book, with red herrings keeping us busy throughout. However, more than half the story later (won’t tell you when you can find it yourself), I realized ‘whodunit.’ The suspense build up was good, but I was not very satisfied with the climax. It was more emotional than a thrilling unraveling of the mystery.

My rating

I have decided to try out a rating system of my own. Let me know how it feels.

My rating system:

*: I wish I had not read it
**: Average, potentially good, with room for improvements.
***: I like and recommend to other readers, look forward to more from the series/author.
****: I will actively promote for you, yes you are that good.

This book is ***.
Why three stars and not 4? Because the book provided me with a light and fast read, but not the nail biting, thigh gripping suspense or thrill I was looking for when I read this one.

My recommendation

If you are not a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, or you haven’t read much of his work, not to worry. The author had clearly explained the connections in the book so that you won’t fumble through wiki and google.

Any fan of Edgar Allan Poe will thoroughly enjoy the story. The author sharing her last name with the legendary Mr. Poe is not the only reason. This book works as a tribute to Mr. Poe.

If you like light mystery thrillers with heavy romance, this is your book.

The book revolves around Mr. Poe’s works and the obsession his fans share. I don’t want to let out spoilers and kill your anticipation. So I will recommend this book on a rainy or a chilly day when you can curl up on your comfy couch in a blanket with a mug of coffee, and get lost in Nevermore.

A heads up: The book describes a gay relationship, so not for underage reading.

A note: I found out from a review that the ‘Josh’ mentioned on the dedication page by the author was Josh Lanyon. I haven’t read any of his books so I can’t comment on any resemblance or influence. The reviewers did assure this book stands alone on its own merits.

Book details

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Crime, thriller and mystery
Recommended for: Adults strictly
Length: 216 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications (30 August 2016)
Available: Yes. Kindle, Paperback both versions can be found on Amazon.

The next in series The Mystery of the Curiosities (Snow & Winter #2) is due in February 2017.

So what say you?