Stanley’s follow-up to Nox Dormienda returns to ancient Roman times with another terrific noir. The flavor and setting shine, and Stanley has the knack for creating an atmosphere that feels as if she has transcribed actual historical events. Like the best fantasy and historical mysteries, this novel allows a look into our past and gives the reader a keen understanding of life at that time. Stanley is definitely one to watch.
84 A.D. Roman doctor Arcturus is traveling with his wife, Gwyna, to spend time patching up their marriage. Their visit to a city known for a spa with healing qualities turns out to be anything but relaxing when a dead man is found floating in the water. Arcturus reluctantly puts aside his wishes and investigates.
The deceased made his living writing curses for people gullible enough to believe in their power. As Arcturus starts prodding, he discovers hidden agendas and secrets that involve the top echelon of the city. (MINOTAUR, Feb., 320 pp., $24.99)