Speakers of the Dead (A Walt Whitman Mystery)
By J. Aaron Sanders
Rating: 3.5/5 Stairs
Speakers of the Dead has an interesting premise centered around a young Walt Whitman, a journalist working in New York City in 1843. The story begins with the hanging of Lena Stowe, accused of killing her husband. Her husband is suspected of having murdered a young woman he was having an affair with. Walt unsuccessfully tries to stop Lena’s execution, and then vows to find the truth.
Throughout the book we are exposed to a fledgling women’s medical college, body snatchers, autopsies, angry mobs, and corrupt officials. There is a great debate between science and religion – if someone is autopsied to gain understanding of the human body, does that destroy their soul’s chance of redemption and afterlife?
I enjoyed the setting and the real-life figures brought in to this fictional mystery. The story started out great, and had me hooked. By the end though, it had lost something for me. I think there were just too many elements going on throughout the book, and then the ending felt a bit rushed and jumbled to make it to the finish line. I believe this is the first book in a series, and I’m interested to see what the next book has in store for Walt Whitman.
Thanks to First to Read for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.