Title: The spirit engineer
Author: A.J. West
Published: October 7th, 2021 by Duckworth Books
Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery, Adult, Paranormal, Gothic
Goodreads rating: 4.17/5
My rating: 1/5
Trigger warning: death, blood, beating, mental illness
Belfast, 1914. Two years after the sinking of the Titanic, high society has become obsessed with spiritualism in the form of seances that attempt to contact the spirits of loved ones lost at sea.
William is a man of science and a skeptic, but one night with everyone sat around the circle something happens that places doubt in his heart and a seed of obsession in his mind. Could the spirits truly be communicating with him or is this one of Kathleen’s parlour tricks gone too far?
This early 20th century gothic set in Northern Ireland contains all the mystery and intrigue one might expect from a Sarah Waters novel. Deftly plotted with echoes of The Woman in Black, readers will be thrilled to discover West’s chilling prose.
Based on the true story of William Jackson Crawford and famed medium Kathleen Goligher, and with a cast of characters that include Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, The Spirit Engineer conjures a haunting tale that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
I had great expectations from The spirit Engineer, which combines a lot of my favorite genres/situations: ghosts, spiritism, historical fiction, seancè, the sinking of the Titanic, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a beautiful cover.
I ended up deeply regretting the time I spent reading it. The night I finished it, I had had problems to fell asleep, causing it by the terrible ending.
For the first 30% of the book nothing happens: is about boring arguments between the MC and his family, him talking bad about his colleagues, and no ghosts.
I want my books full of ghosts!! Real and terrifying ghosts!!
My main issue with this book is William Crawford: he’s totally unlikeable. He’s mean with his family, sarcastic and annoyed by his children, whiny and invidious, and most of the time just stupid. There’s nothing about him that I liked, even worse when he became involved in the seances.
A lot of the great revelations or plot twists were easily guessed if someone is familiar with this kind of gothic story.
The tragedy of the Titanic and the lives of those who have lost someone is barely mentioned, same for Sir Conan Doyle and Houdini: they appear only in a chapter, but I really liked them, they are portrayed well in my opinion. Such a shame it doesn’t elaborate on the Titanic, a book set in Ireland some years after the sinking can talk for hours about this, and I will gladly read it.
And I don’t want to talk about the ending, but I hate this kind of revelation in horror/gothic books.
In conclusion: I save nothing about this book, except the cover.