I've been meaning to check out Lisa Tuttle's work for what seems ages but for some peculiar reason never did. I think it was all those American covers which just didn't appeal to me so I've unconsciously committed the biggest faux-pas in the book world. Luckily, this latest edition from Jo Fletcher doesn't suffer from the same issue. It looks absolutely gorgeous (incidentally, how good last few publications from Jo Fletcher look? Stunning stuff!) so I had no excuse but give it at go. The easiest way to explain Lisa's style of writing is to relate to the people who blurbed her. Both Neil Gaiman and Dean Koontz occupy the same dream space as her tales so suitably The Mysteries deals with an ordinary story enriched by elements of mythology and familiar folk tales.
Ian Kennedy is a private investigator with a panache for solving cases involving missing people. His fascination (if you want to call it like that) started when he was only nine years old and his father disappeared. However after string of successes his latest case is looking like it could be a step too far. Laura Lensky has employs him to find her twenty-year-old daughter Peri who has been missing for over two years. The more Ian learns about case background the more is he fascinated by what he finds. Peri's disappearance increasingly looks like a deliberate act. By going through her journal he soon discovers parallels with an obscure Celtic myth and the myth of sidhe, Celtic fairy folk to whose realm people sometime disappear. His case will lead him across world to Scotland and to different realms. Ian is a driven man. He certainly takes his cases very seriously and he's growing obsessed with the solution as his life has been marked with unsolved disappearances (his father and girlfriend to name a few) potential of failure increasingly fills him with dread.
"The Mysteries" was such a great little read and I can only conclude that Tuttle delivered exactly what I hoped she'll deliver - a poetic dark fantasy worthy of kings and queens. She reminded me a lot of Freda Warrington and her latest Tor trilogy but Lisa is vastly superior when it comes to authenticity of her myths. I've also loved the way she slowly involves folk elements into her story, catching unwary reader completely off guard. For most of its parts “The Mysteries” could be a real life tale but then supernatural elements just creep in. This is, for example, evident in the case of Peri's boyfriend Hugh Bell-Rivers who believes Peri ran off with a man called Mider - a name shared by the sidhe king. Having said that the ending itself is very ambiguous which might will definitely grate heavily against some readers but then again you might say that it's just another of its many mysteries. Despite being written almost ten years ago, “The Mysteries” is one of those books that share a lot with fairy tales from whom it takes its inspiration. It is a tale that feels timeless and calls for a quick re-read.
Review copy provided by Jo Fletcher Books.
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