The First Big Challenge of a First-Rate Detective

By Jim Musgrave

CreateSpace, $9.95, 137 pages

Most historians uphold that literary legend Edgar Allan Poe died from complications to his crippling alcoholism. But private detective Pat O’Malley believes otherwise. He believes that Poe was actually a victim of murder. In Forevermore, O’Malley sets forth on a mission of danger and romance to uncover the truth behind the demise of his old friend and one of America’s most important authors. ||In most mystery novels, the quality of the story as a whole is largely dependent on the quality of the character telling it. Luckily, Forevermore has a great narrator and protagonist in the form of Pat O’Malley. O’Malley is a truly developed and surprisingly complex character. He is likeable, and not a generic womanizer. In fact, many of his tragic life experiences have left him with a sort of phobia of women. Surmounting this phobia becomes a paramount plot point which makes solving the case of Poe’s murder seem not just like a job, but also a journey of critical personal importance.

“This case was supposed to be closed, but now, with my new bit of evidence, I was going to attempt to bring truth to light.”

O’Malley is not the only character to enjoy in this novel, though. Author Jim Musgrave has concocted an excellent cast of supporting characters including some great interpretations of historical figures like William Wallace and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Becky Charming, the prostitute and closest confidante of O’Malley, is perhaps the most interesting of them all as a woman who perfectly balances sensuality with motherly wisdom and an almost aristocratic refinement. If there is any character that comes off as a bit underdeveloped, it is the villain who, unfortunately, suffers from the Saturday morning cartoon show villain syndrome of wasting several perfect opportunities to kill the protagonist by choosing to monologue.

Generic villain aside, though, this book is still recommended to fans of both mystery and historical fiction. It is a quick and entertaining read with some very good characters and very good attention to historical details. Here’s hoping that it’s only the first of many Pat O’Malley mysteries.

Reviewed by Michael Albani

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