The Truth of All Things starts out with a bang-or rather a stab-when a prostitute is found with a pitchfork stuck into her body, candles nearby, and an incantation in a Native American language written on the wall above her. Pressure is put on Archie Lean, the deputy marshal of Portland, Maine. Despite his initial distrust, he accepts the aid of Perceval Grey, whose father was of the same tribe who uses the language the killer did. Grey, a Pinkerton detective, uses budding forensic technique and his own perceptiveness of criminal behavior. When they realize the prostitute was killed in the same manner one would dispose of a witch, they enlist the aid of Helen Prescott, a historian specializing in the Salem witch trials. It appears the killer is not only using an ancient spell book that has been lost to the ages-but he plans to kill again and again until his ritual is complete.
This book was…good. Not bad. Not great. Just good. I feel like Shields had some great ideas on where to go, but didn’t follow through with them. We have a medium, who is able to prophesy on some things, but other than that there is no hint that this is nothing more than a Crazy Serial Killer and His Rituals book. I suppose part of my disappointment was that the book is listed as a fantasy novel, but nothing but the brief use of the medium really justifies that label. My other problem is that Shields tried to insert a romance, but it didn’t really work at all. The woman shows some interest, but there’s no more mention of it till the end when “suddenly they’re together”. The end felt slightly disjointed, and I don’t feel that Shields tied up his plotpoints very well. The novel had some great ideas, and was entertaining enough, but it could have been done better.