Book Review – The Half Killed by Quenby Olson


Goodreads Synopsis:

Dorothea Hawes has no wish to renew contact with what lies beyond the veil. After an attempt to take her own life, she has retired into seclusion, but as the wounds on her body heal, she is drawn back into a world she wants nothing more than to avoid.

She is sought out by Julian Chissick, a former man of God who wants her help in discovering who is behind the gruesome murder of a young woman. But the manner of death is all too familiar to Dorothea, and she begins to fear that something even more terrible is about to unleash itself on London. 

And so Dorothea risks her life and her sanity in order to save people who are oblivious to the threat that hovers over them. It is a task that forces her into a confrontation with her own lurid past, and tests her ability to shape events frighteningly beyond her control.


I started reading this months ago but put it down as I didn’t really get into it. I recently remembered about it so gave it another go and ended up really enjoying it. It’s a bit slow to start and I wasn’t sure if I enjoyed it at first as it’s a slow build up but once I got further in I was hooked and couldn’t put it down.

The plot revolves around finding the cause of a mysterious murder which is supernatural in origin. The main character, Thea, can hear the dead and so Chissick, a detective, has asked for her aid knowing that she can help more than anybody else. The pacing is quite slow which might not appeal to everybody, but it worked really well for this novel as the slow pace allowed the creepy factor and a general sense of unease to build while reading. We don’t know what the cause is, but we don’t like it and you start to dread to moment when we’ll face whatever entity is causing this.

The book is very well written and I love the interactions between the characters. The setting of Victorian London works really well and if I didn’t know better, I could easily believe this was a genuine Victorian novel.

I would recommend this book to anybody that is a fan of Victorian literature, and to anybody who enjoys the subgenre “Fantasy of Manners”. It’s also fantastic for those who want a nice slow and immersive read – this is definitely the kind of book I’d enjoy reading while curled up in front of a fire.


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