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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Review - The Hanover Square Affair

I found a new historical Amateur Sleuth series set in Regency era.  This is my first novel from award-winning author Ashley Gardner also writes as New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley and national bestselling author, Allyson James. She has written more than fifty novels and novellas in mystery, romance, historical fiction, and urban fantasy.  Here is my review of the first book in the series that consists of twelve novels so far, with a thirteenth slated for 2018 release.

Author: Ashley Gardner

Copyright: June 2017 (Create Space) 272 pgs

Series: 1st in Captain Gabriel Lacey Regency Mystery series

Sensuality: Medium

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Cavalry Captain Gabriel Lacey, recently returned from Napoleonic wars injured and fighting depression and PTSD

Setting: Regency London

Obtained Through: Personal Purchase

From the cover: "Cavalry captain Gabriel Lacey returns to Regency London from the Napoleonic wars, burned out, fighting melancholia, his career ended. His interest is piqued when he learns of a missing girl, possibly kidnapped by a prominent member of Parliament. Lacey's search for the girl leads to the discovery of murder, corruption, and dealings with a leader of the underworld. Lacey faces his own disorientation upon transitioning from a soldier's life to the civilian world, redefining his role with his former commanding officer, and making new friends--from the top of society to the street girls of Covent Garden."

Captain Lacey is your anti-hero who needs a cause to fight for as much as the missing girls need somebody to be on the case to find them.  Gabriel Lacey is dark with his inner demons to fight, but he is also a good man who is struggling.  He is no saint, but tries to live honorably.  He is somewhat a Don Quixote type which will make for a good series.  The primary other significant character is Lucius Grenville who is in the upper crust of society and has befriended Captain Lacey. A shady character that will likely be in subsequent novels of the series is James Denis, smuggler, influential, and cut-throat.  Louisa Brandon, the wife of his former best friend, is his un-requited love and the person who can soften his rough edges.

Regency era England with its splendor and squalor, gentility and gutter-rats, populate the story in a cohesive panarama.  The plot is dark and perilous witout turning detailed on the horrific.  Just enough to understand the peril at stake.  There are times that the pacing slows where we learn more about Captain Lacey's past, but they are well worth the time.  

In this debut novel of the series, there is no tense confrontation with the killer.  The culprit is confronted and answers provided, but it isn't a daring scene with peril.  Although I love the really tense and suspenseful killer reveals, the way this was handled added a level of seriousness to the ending.  There are other moments in the story that provide good excitement though.

I like Captain Lacey and his character has potential and the writer's style is easy to follow.  I wasn't enamored with the book, but not turned off by it either.  I would like a bit more description for mood and setting, a few moments of joy for Captain Lacey so it doesn't feel so heavy.  And of course, I love a harrowing killer confrontation.  That said, there aren't as many Regency mysteries and I will probably read the next in the series.

Rating: Good - A solid read with minor flaws, good but not stellar. Maybe read an excerpt before buying. 

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