A Murder in Ashwood
A Murder in Ashwood by Robert Brighton is the ultimate turn-of-the-century murder mystery. When Mrs. Miller’s husband is found brutally killed in their home, everything turns upside down; as the coroner removes the body, an autopsy is conducted, and an investigation is initiated. The story quickly becomes an intriguing mystery about Mr. Miller’s murder, with everyone a potential suspect, leading to a compelling case.
From the beginning, the reader plunges into the heart of the action in this enthralling historical mystery novel, with strong, well-developed characters and raw, emotional dialogue. The author is descriptive, unveiling each scene and event so that readers can see it clearly in their minds, noting any possible clues that may be revealed. I enjoyed the details of each development throughout the book, from the family’s complicated relationship with each other to the funeral arrangements and suddenly becoming the center of media attention.
The author brings a unique writing style and characters to the traditional murder-mystery genre with page-turning excitement and the determination of Sarah of the Avenging Angel Detective Agency to solve the case. I enjoyed the modern twist of a woman detective and the blunt, strong language expressed by key players in the story. The narration style and lively characters piqued my interest in the book, and after completing the story, they exceeded my expectations.
A Murder in Ashwood by Robert Brighton is an entertaining, gritty, and exciting read that captivated me. I recommend this spectacular book for its original style and intriguing characters, which kept me reading from one chapter to the next. The story felt realistically portrayed as if I was reading a true crime novel set in the first years of the twentieth century. It’s an excellent read for fans of murder mysteries and suspense.
Pages: 448 | ASIN: B0C5Y1TYMZ
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
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The Slow Moral Collapse
The Unsealing follows two attorneys as they descend into the world of corruption in the upper class during the Gilded Age. What was the initial idea behind this story, and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
The Avenging Angel Detective Agency™ Mysteries are what I like to call ‘whydunits’ – not ‘whodunits’ as in the classic Agatha Christie type mystery. I like to explore what motivates people, sometimes very ordinary people, to do extraordinary things. (Many of which are criminal, immoral, or in shockingly poor judgment.) In The Unsealing, I explore the slow moral collapse of two initially high-minded attorneys and friends, who succumb to the temptations of wealth, power, and sex. It’s a very human story, but with the additional interest and complexity of being set in a very different time from our present day and one with very different attitudes toward just about everything.
I find that my characters reveal their stories to me gradually. There are times when something appears in my mind’s eye – a scene, a snippet of conversation, a sound or smell – without any apparent connection to the story I think I’m telling at the time. So I wait … and eventually the connections are revealed, and I write them down. I think of myself more as an observer than as a creator: I am emphatically opposed to making things up. If that all sounds a bit mystical, then I am guilty as charged, but it’s the way it happens to or for me. The title The Unsealing was (in part) inspired by this slow process of revelation, in which the characters themselves share with us more and more of their lives and innermost desires as the book progresses. I hope that readers will enjoy that unveiling of a story that my characters knew all along and which they chose me to write down.
Why choose this place and time for the setting of the story?
I grew up in Buffalo, and have always been fascinated by the place. In 1901, Buffalo and its neighbor, Niagara Falls – were the Silicon Valley of the day: a hive of innovation and bustling commerce across a number of industries. Buffalo was at the time the eighth-largest (and fastest growing) city in the United States, and it was in many ways ‘the place to be’ for the young and ambitious. Today, though, the city’s population is smaller than it was in 1890, while the United States’ population has expanded fivefold, and clearly the centers of innovation have gone elsewhere. How that happened and why – what seeds of decay were sown even in the city’s heyday – is a very intriguing and complex story, and one I like to tell. And that, too, is a human story – how it can take many years for bad decisions or bad karma to catch up to you. But they always do.
What were some of your inspirations as a writer?
I suppose that I’ve always been captivated by the written word’s mysterious ability (not unlike music) to conjure up thoughts and emotions in people I have never met, never will meet, or who may not yet be born. My greatest goal is to transport people to another place and time, show them things they can never see any other way, and then bring them safely back. If I think about artists who have inspired me, Emily Dickinson and Jim Morrison would be at the top of the list. Both of them were obsessed with the notion of peering beyond the boundaries of ordinary human experience and guiding us through those sometimes unusual psychological landscapes – and all at no risk to ourselves, other than a challenge to our settled ways of thinking.
Will this novel be the start of a series or are you working on a different story?
The Unsealing is the first in a series of books, the Avenging Angel Detective Agency™ Mysteries. Some of the characters from The Unsealing will continue on in future volumes, but many new ones will appear – and each book is a free-standing, independent story that does not require that one read the books in any order. That said, I think readers who follow along as the books appear will be rewarded with a deeper appreciation of the back-stories of their favorite characters. But it’s by no means a requirement. Thus far I’ve completed four Avenging Angel manuscripts, and they’ll be published over the next two years or so, and I’m working on the fifth now. If readers enjoy them, they’ll keep on coming.
Posted in Interviews
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The Unsealing: Love, Lust, and Murder in the Gilded Age
The Unsealing by Robert Brighton is a riveting story that takes place from the 1880s to the early 1900s, around the earliest part of the twentieth century, in northern New York. It’s a quickly evolving period that involves coal mining, labor unrest, widespread protests, and a significantly different legal system that includes the electric chair. It’s an intense era that centers around an attorney, Arthur R. Pendle, and Terry Penrose, a district attorney. Together, they face a mounting level of criminal activity, corruption, shady practices by wealthy individuals, and many other challenging cases in court.
I found the story to be exciting, quick-paced, intriguing, but not too complex. The characters are unique and well-developed, with strong personalities that I could relate to. The further Terry and Arthur delve into their surroundings and the wealthy, upper-class society, the more they encounter corruption and a stark contrast between various members of society. Despite the dreary state of legal work, the author brings the fascinating world of hidden gambling dens, brothels, and shady building developers into vivid reality.
I really enjoyed the plot development, society, and how the characters’ lives adapt to unexpected changes around the turn of the twentieth century. The narration and dialogue are impressive, realistic, and colorful. It felt like I was present, in the room or scene with the characters, experiencing the intensity and stress of a situation. The author’s ambitious writing style captivated me, and I found the book easy to read and follow.
The Unsealing is a thrilling story that will keep you turning one page after the other from start to finish. I highly recommend this excellent book for the historical legal drama that weaves a bit of film noir into the theme. With a fantastic atmosphere and strong characters, this is a sensational story that fans of thrillers and well-drawn mysteries will surely enjoy.
Pages: 416 | ASIN: B0BQP4K93G
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, historical fiction, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, robert brighton, story, suspense, the unsealing, thriller, writer, writing