***This book was reviewed via Chapter by Chapter Book Tours
Will Winchester has a gift, or curse depending on how you look at it. He can see the dead, whom he calls the Missing. A chance encounter with a group of ghost hunters opens his eyes to a whole new way of working. The Black Cross hunt down spirits and lay them to rest. Offered a place working with the Black Cross may lead to answer’s about his mother’s disappearance, but Will has secrets of his own. How will his new ‘family’ react if they learn the truth? And how will his father react to his new job as Scouting Inspector for a supposed Spiritualist charlatan group?
Willow ‘Will’ Winchester has had the misfortune to be born during an age when ‘transgender’ is an unknown concept, and those who would be called so today lack support and understanding. The reason behind Will’s gender fluidity was rather unexpected, and I’m thankful that he adjusted well, finding it to feel natural. I love seeing these concepts added to stories and handled so it’s just another facet of being. I never felt like it as a political agenda as I have with some books that incorporate transgender/gender fluidity/homosexuality. Let it be a personality trait, and that’s it.
The Black Cross Spectral Department really reminded me of the Men of Letters in the show Supernatural, especially in how they lay the Missing to rest. And Will’s last name is Winchester. Perhaps an ancestor of Sam and Dean 😛 In the first full investigation Will does with the Black Cross, they rule out any other mundane contamination. Aside from using more old-fashioned tech such as dowsing rods, the investigation could have come straight from one of our modern day ghost investigation reality shows. They handled things in a very scientific manner.
Parts of the beginning felt a little stuttered, with odd phrasing. It really wasn’t enough jar me from the story. I love all things Victorian, and fell into this story straightaway. Indeed, this was one of those stories I got so drawn into, I was cranky when shaken away from it by people wanting something.
I found the characters well-drawn, and easy to conjure mentally. Added from Will, who is a most intriguing character, my favourite was O’Brien, the tech guy. He just had this infectious excitement in the middle of investigating. And for some reason… Quinn kept mentally manifesting as Greg Lestrade from BBC’S Sherlock 😂. All I can say is ‘more, please!’
📚📚📚📚📚 Recommended if you enjoy Stroud’s Lockwood & Co novels, or shows like Supernatural.