The Spectral City

Written by Leanna Renee Hieber
Review by Franca Pelaccia

It’s 1899 New York, and the NYPD has just opened up the Ghost Precinct. It is run by psychics and their ghost allies under the direction of nineteen-year-old Eve Whitby. Their job is to help solve challenging crimes through their psychic gifts. The novel starts when one of Eve’s most trusted ghost allies disappears into the “darkness” and is unreachable. While Eve and her crew try to locate and bring her back, they investigate the kidnapping of a girl only to find that certain houses have managed to ward off ghosts. When Eve’s grandmother, another psychic, is kidnapped, they discover that someone is doing scientific tests on them. The girl’s kidnapping is solved but the mystery of who is doing the scientific tests and how some houses can ward-off ghosts remains unresolved. The Spectral City is the first book of a series and sets the main mystery in motion.

The Spectral City is dense in psychic phenomena, which is interesting, but heavy in backstories and irrelevant description. The mediums are all women and culturally diverse, too, and the ghosts from all walks of life. This makes for interesting dynamics between them and the non-believing, all-male police force, especially when the author paints an alternative New York City but remains true to the social atmosphere of the Victorian time. The Spectral City will appeal to readers who enjoy dark psychic paranormal mysteries with lots of other-world phenomena thrown in.