cover image Ghost Song

Ghost Song

Sarah Rayne. Felony & Mayhem (, $14.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-937384-10-4

Powerful atmospherics compensate for plot contrivances in Rayne's period thriller, which centers on a London music hall whose story unfolds as the narrative toggles between 1914 and "the present." When Robert Fallon is hired to inspect the Tarleton Music Hall on behalf of a group of investors, he encounters an odd additional wall in the basement, an anomaly that piques his curiosity and prompts him to delve further into the building's past. With the help of Hilary Bryant, an employee of the management company responsible for the property, Fallon sneaks into the theater. Once inside, the pair fears that a shadowy figure is watching them from the balcony, but they persuade each other that their overwrought nerves are to blame. Nevertheless, they nurse suspicions that whatever secrets lie behind the ominous wall may be connected to the sudden closing of the Tarleton in 1914.Their probe into the hall's mysteries mirror reminiscences from Bryant's boss, Shona Seymour, who at a young age witnessed her mother and grandfather burying a woman's body in the basement of their home. Rayne (Property of a Lady) maintains the spookiness throughout and adds some nicely ghoulish touches, although some readers may feel cheated her use of a major instance of deus ex machina to tidy up the story line. (June)