Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2020
Cora Drummond is a member of the Special Paranormal Research Branch- created to protect Queen and country from foul, inhuman forces. Alongside her entirely female team, Cora investigates a series of grisly murders in Whitechapel. The victims, all female, bear strange arcane sigils on their tattered skin, suggesting a dark, unnatural force is at work. Together, the group races to find and stop the killer before more victims meet the same fate. And meanwhile, a mysterious demon observes the recent happenings in Whitechapel, unbeknownst to the Research Branch.
I think my favorite part of this book was the characters. They make for an interesting, colorful cast, and I genuinely enjoyed learning about each character. Out of those characters, Flan really resonated with me. I love that she puts on a tough facade, but clearly has a softer side. This is evidenced through her relationship with Cora, which I adored. I loved the dynamics of their relationship, and I'd definitely like to see more of these two.
Forneus, the demon lord, was another fun character. I'm a sucker for mysterious, charismatic characters, and Forneus ticked all those boxes for me. I immensely enjoyed his interactions with the other characters, especially Cora.
In addition, this cast of characters contains a lot of representation and diversity. It includes many strong female characters, along with LGBT+ representation. I always love seeing these aspects in books.
The story was intriguing and kept me wholly engaged throughout. There wasn't a moment my attention veered from the narrators spinning this tale. Plus, the supernatural factors were great and well-integrated. They helped to build up the tension and suspense, while also enhancing the overall book.
Additionally, the narrators of Craven Street do a fantastic job of bringing this story to life. Their performances add extra layers to the characters, setting, and story. The narrators ensured each character has a distinct tone and style of speaking, something that's quite difficult to do with just two voices. But, they still managed it, and shone in these roles. Melanie A. Mason and Anthony Bowling both did amazing work here.
Although I liked the story and progression of the mystery, there were a few issues with pacing. Namely, I felt the ending was quite rushed. There was a lot of buildup to it, so I was expecting more from the ending. I believe the final battle could've been expanded and fleshed out with more detail. It was fairly anticlimactic for how much the story ramped up in the second half.
Furthermore, there were a couple plot threads that left me confused and wondering. It almost seemed like there was meant to be a book before this one. Certain characters and events were referenced to, but the story didn't tell me much about them. Those points were glossed over, and I feel Craven Street would have benefited from more explanation over them.
Even though it has a few issues with pacing and details, I still believe that Craven Street is a fun, engrossing supernatural tale. Most readers, especially fans of fantasy, would probably enjoy this book quite a bit. I'd definitely recommend it!
*I received a copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.*