TBR Challenge, What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris

May 20, 2011

There are enough red herrings in this book to feed the multitude!

I bought this book in 2005 because I love Candice Proctor's romance books, especially the ones taking place in the South Pacific. And, then I put it in my pile. There are so many times when an author changes genres and their work just isn't as good, so, I put off reading this until the challenge showed up knocking on my door. And, now that I've read it I am of course going to have to read the others in the St. Cyr series!

Because I am such a big fan of Candice Proctor, it is inevitable that I compare her previous writing with her camouflage of C.S. Harris. I have to say, I prefer her Candice Proctor writing; however, that didn't stop me from appreciating this book. As I read it, I realized that there were tons of unanswered questions being thrown in my path that I'm sure in future books will get answered. What Angels Fear is a great introduction into another mysterious world and all those wonderful characters which are going to inhabit it.

Ms. Harris also displayed some of the trademark descriptive language which made her romance novels so convincing. When she talks about the yellow fog, you can actually see it, feel it. And the world Sebastian St. Cyr plunges into is downright gritty; I could almost smell the sewage. Now, I don't read mysteries, at least not anymore, but I have read Agatha Christie, Elizabeth Peters, and Ellis Peters and I would have to say that What Angels Fear has that same feel about it. It's a fast, light, suspenseful read, even with all of the gruesome death details, grave robbers and old-fashioned autopsies. Even when occasional modern verbiage reared its head, I had no problem envisioning 1811 London. I do have to say that even though I liked the character of Sebastian St. Cyr, he's no Hercule Poirot. He took so many wrong turns into red herring land, I was surprised when the light bulb finally went off. I guessed almost right away who the killer was, for no particular reason. I'm not going to tell you what gave that person away, except to say it was more of a writer thing than any clues pointing to the character.

There is a little bit of a romance, but not overpowering. It's mostly Sebastian running around like Jason Bourne, just one step ahead of the people who are chasing him, trying to prove that he's not the murderer. He does the same things that most action guys do - jumps out of buildings, off of roofs, dives through windows, and doesn't get hurt. So this has a bit of mystery, intrigue, action, romance, to say nothing of all the character development going on. Busy, busy, busy book!

There are some characters in the story who are pretty strong: Sebastian's father, Amanda, the grave diggers, the doctor, Kat Boleyn (his paramour, who I didn't care for), Jarvis (his antagonist), Lovejoy (the good cop), Tom the pickpocket turned sidekick, and Jarvis's daughter, all of whom I'm looking forward to seeing again. While Sebastian may not be the most brilliant detective ever, he is a great character and Ms. Harris has created a wonderful world for future whodunits. In the end, I did like this book and glad I finally dusted it off.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Warm

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