Book Review: Paradox Forged In Blood by Mary Frances Fisher

Publisher: Cambron Press 

From NetGalley:


From Mary Frances Fisher comes her debut novel, PARADOX FORGED IN BLOOD, a compelling work of historical fiction based on true events and stories passed down from the author’s family.

A murder on Millionaire’s Row. A killer’s chilling words, “Shh. I know where you live.” A woman tormented by her guilt-ridden past.

A historical murder mystery, Paradox Forged in Blood is set in Cleveland, Ohio, during the late 1930s. Four decades after the murder of socialite Louis Sheridan, the cold case is resurrected with receipt of new evidence that transports detectives back to Nazi Germany. The only living witness, Ellen O’Malley, must confront a haunting secret and her complicit actions.

Review:  Despite the fact the novel is well proofread and the plot moves along quickly, I’m really turned away by the abundance of clichés and over-used descriptions. A historical mystery based on true events and apparently the family legend—it reads too much at times like fiction and not enough like true crime. The fictional narrative is bumped around by the true crime narrative and visa versa, meaning it’s hard to get a grip on what’s happening. Too many characters have brief point of views, though I think the author is trying for an omniscient view. I found the whole thing hard to wrap my head around.

Conversations abound whose only purpose is to give the reader an info-dump and much of what’s reported is told through the hazy lens of nostalgia.

 I’m sure there are readers out there who appreciate this type of family history storytelling, but it’s not for me.  I’m an avid reader of both fictional historical and contemporary mysteries and true crime, but this fell short of the mark with the unexciting prose style and dull, stolid characters.  I think the story would have been better served as one or the other, but as it is, it’s neither fish nor fowl and left me cold.