About This Blog

This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Deep, Dark, Mystery

Among the Mad
by Jacqueline Winspear
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (February 17, 2009)
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible.

Among the Mad is like reading three books in one. First, it's an intriguing mystery that begins with an investigation into a mad-bomber/suicide which occurs on Christmas eve, 1931. That investigation ultimately leads to a related investigation - into the threatening letters recieved by Britian's Prime Minister over the Christmas holiday. When clues begin pointing to a potential suspect, the investigation takes on a new and more dangerous dimension.

While some readers may think that reading the perpetrator's diary entries - and thus his point of view - detracts from the mystery a bit, I don't believe that information detracts very much from the story; indeed it adds another, deeper dimension to the tale which more than makes up for any detraction from the mystery.

Secondly, Among the Mad delves into the reaction of men and women suffering from shell-shock, which occurred during their war-time military service. This is what we describe today as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. In this examination of an often over-looked psycological disturbance, one can see a relationship to the author's carefully chosen title.  These parts of the tale provide an insight to the psychological and emotional abyss  into which the collateral victims of war often fall.

Last, but certainly not least, Among the Mad gives us a marvelous picture of London and the surrounding countryside between the big wars.  Kudos to Ms. Winspear for a wonderful, if somewhat darkly themed novel that I can recommend to mystery fans ages 14 and up with a single caviat. The violence described in some portions of the novel is slightly graphic and may not be suitable for some readers.

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