Mature-Content Rating: R (Graphic visual descriptions and overt sexuality)
There is a world deep seated in history. This world is filled with the flavour of a simpler time, but no problem free society is found. Psychotic killers have a full-time job hunting out their next victims and keeping them under the influence of dark torture until finally releasing them to the Reaper’s scythe. Inspecteur’s are equally busy follow the clues dropped by Grimm and his acolytes: drying fast as blood. Mystery and murder weigh hearts and minds heavier than a judges gavel giving courtesan’s a full-time job relieving such stresses through their secret seductive arts. This world is historical France, and you may have to quit your full-time job so that you can spend as much time as desired reading Floats the Dark Shadow by Yves Fey.
Being not a historian myself, I cannot speak to the true accuracy of the facts, locations, and honourable mentions by Yves Fey, but I can say–as a reader–that it feels authentic enough. To me, art is about being drawn into a world and feeling like a character in the story as it unfolds. This, Fey does well. The book is quite character driven, and as a result, the reader is more invested with those involved in the plot than what is actually happening. This is not, however, to say that the plot is flat. By no means! It is, however, over-shadowed by the great characterisation.
Fey uses real French word and phrases speckled throughout to enhance that sense of immersion and add great flavour. This is not to say that one must know French to read the book. Most words are translated or explained through humorous pros with give the great sense of an American living in France (as one of the characters is said import) while appealing to the English speakers who will be reading Float the Dark Shadow.
Said import works as a painter. Normally this character setting would not be worth mentioning in a review, however, watching the story unfold through her eyes is imbued with great colourful flavours, giving a real sense that it is a painter’s eyes the reader is seeing this world through while, at the same time, adding intense pop to the description. Words and worlds come alive when the whole colour pallet it on the tip of your descriptive brush strokes.
I cannot say there is any one thing that bothered me with Yves Fey’s writing in this work. I have not rated it 5 stars because that spot it reserved for those books which leave me in tears, tie my stomach in knots, or make me laugh until it hurts (or all three). I believe such books should have a special place in the review process. Floats the Dark Shadow did none of these for me. Because of this, I say that it lacks a certain amount of emotional attachment between reader and character(s).
My only complaint is that the plot was less developed than it could have been. As has been said, this is a character driven book. The plot does not fall apart, but it simply did not draw me in as a reader. There were very few mysteries in this mystery-focus plot except “who done it,” leaving everything more like one big question mark instead of multiple tiny ones coming to a great exclamatory head at the end.
Floats the Dark Shadow will draw you in; there is no doubt about that. The prose are flavourfully crafted and the characters are well balanced. Just watching them interact with each other and the world around them is a great treat. The plot is your standard “serial killer on the loose” motif. If you enjoy historical mysteries and like to be drawn into a book through some good word and crafting choices, this book is for you.
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