Morrow, Feb 2008, $23.95
In Victorian England, conjurer Edward Moon turned to detecting to earn a living as his stage performances are not in demand. With his enigmatic weird associate the eight foot mute Somnambulist, Moon has solved some of London’s most infamous homicides. Although very successful and obtaining fame and more important clients, he still would prefer to perform his act in a theatre not at a crime scene and considers retiring from the sleuthing stage.
However, he and the Somnambulist are investigating the murders of two wealthy nonentities who made fortunes in business. Clues lead to a religious group that apparently wants to take over secular London by eradicating the affluent upper middle class whose crass worldly ways are an abomination to God and humanity.
THE SOMNAMBULIST is a strange nineteenth century thriller that will have the audience debating whether it is paranormal horror, mystery, or both. The story line is not linear as Jonathan Barnes refuses to allow his fans to just comfortably go along for the ride. The support cast starting with the hero’s assistant and running the gamut of eeriness add to the feel that more twists will follow especially the final one. Mr. Barnes proves to be a worth conjurer from his opening critique to the final stunner.