“A Yellow Moon Watches” review

Review by Alexander Kreitner.

A YELLOW MOON WATCHES (print, Kindle) is the debut novel by author Jacqueline Ciolli. It’s a weird tale starring Acquisitions Clerk Edward Sinclair and his lively cousin, Anne Lanning, set in – what the blurb on the back calls – a “Victorianized” New England town. I was glad to read that on the back cover after getting a ways into the book and starting to doubt my own weak knowledge on the authentic mannerisms of actual historic New England. Miss Ciolli, however, manages to turn Lovecraft’s New England into a Holmesian-Victorian version that HPL himself would have given up his favorite antiques to live in.

The novel itself is a charming piece filled with interesting, fleshed-out characters that not only avoid much of the excessive violence, gore, and sex that most of today’s media is over-saturated with, but all display a sharp, fool-me-not intelligence that also seems to be lacking in modern characters. Both sides of the conflict seem to constantly think ahead of the other, doing away with the idiot characters that fall for every trap and excuse away patently ridiculous plans that we also see nowadays, yet of course one side must come out on top in the end.

The plot does contain many weird elements that are obviously inspired by Lovecraft, but there is not a single Lovecraft pastiche or code word bandied about. Instead, the weirdness is grandiose and threatening in some ways, and particularly subtle and subversive in many others. Without giving away too much, multiple sources of otherworldly influence come in to play during the story, but are treated in such a realistic, psychological way that makes it so much more interesting than the usual “see it and go mad” bit that everyone is surely tired of.

Setting the intriguing characters and readable plot aside, one of the best parts about this book is the little touches that show up repeatedly that give it such a quaint, friendly feeling so like Sir Conan Doyle’s Holmes pieces. While reading it I could not stop mentally drooling over the repeated descriptions of cousin Anne’s baking and appreciating the frequent examples of Mister Sinclair’s gentlemanly habits and accoutrements. It creates a pleasing atmosphere that gives one the wistful desire to live in what is perceived to have been a more simple and polite time with characters of such upright stature and charming eccentricities.

I would highly recommend the book to anyone who enjoys Victorian adventure stories similar to Sherlock Holmes as well as pulp horror in the vein of H. P. Lovecraft, especially those who appreciate both at once. This novel is a great first work by a new author and I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

Purchase A YELLOW MOON WATCHES (print, Kindle).

Review by Alexander Kreitner.

One response to ““A Yellow Moon Watches” review

  1. thanks MIke … sounds delicious … on my way to buy the kindle version! will read this weekend for sure (big smile)

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