Review & Brew: The Half Killed by Quenby Olson

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this from the author in exchange for heartfelt bacon poetry.
One of the first things that stands out about The Half Killed is the sense of atmosphere. And I don’t mean physical atmosphere, though the vivid descriptions of a deadly heat wave tearing through Victorian London paint an ominous picture of the story’s setting.
Olson is a skilled wordsmith, using language to instill an ever-present sense of dread as the story unfolds. We don’t just see the underlying horror; we feel it along with the characters.
The story is told through the eyes of Dorothea Hawes, one of the few actual psychics in London. When we first meet her, she’s a bit of a recluse, still recovering from a tragic accident during her youth. She’s sworn off using her abilities as a psychic, as well as the society of fake psychics who’d love to take advantage of her. That is, until she meets Chissick, a charming gentleman who enlists Dorothea’s assistance in solving a string of grisly murders.
All of this is filtered through a stylized prose that enriches the story. Things kick off with a jarring, second-person prologue that intentionally leaves you reeling, wondering what the hell just happened. From there, the first-person narration roots you in Dorothea’s struggle, while still withholding just enough information to keep you guessing.

Target Audience
People who enjoy:

  • Gaslamp Fantasy
  • Gothic horror
  • Murder mysteries
  • Descriptive and poetic prose

Recommended Beverage Pairing
The Half Caff
Ingredients:

  • 12g regular (dark roast) grounds
  • 12g decaffeinated grounds
  • 500g water
  • Half & Half (to taste)

Recipe:

  • Using your brewing method of choice, add 12g of regular dark roast coffee and 12g of decaffeinated coffee to your brewer (alternatively, you can use half-caffeine coffee)
  • Add 500g water ~ 30 seconds off the boil
  • Pour into mug when brew finishes
  • Add Half & Half to taste

This mildly-caffeinated hot beverage is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the London heat wave that occurs in the book. Embrace your inner darkness with this delicious brew.

Bingo Squares

  • Reviewed on r/Fantasy
  • Novel Set in One City
  • Self-Published
  • Less Than 500 Goodreads Ratings (Hard Mode)
  • Novel Written Under a Pseudonym
  • RRAWR Book of the Month

You can find The Half Killed online at Amazon.

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