This review is spoiler free.
“The truth is, the harder we are, the easier we shatter. It takes some softness to absorb life’s blows.”
Published: 2022, by Lake Union Publishing
Format: eBook/Kindle Edition
Genre: Historical, Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery, Fiction, Thriller
Contains: Death, Violence, Murder, Blood, Gore
‘The Unknown Beloved’ follows Dani Flanagan, who at the age of ten returns home to find police swarming around the house, her parents dead. Michael Malone, the young patrolman assigned to the case, discovers there’s more to the situation than the authorities care to explore. Fifteen years later, Michael Malone is summoned to Cleveland to investigate a series of murders that have everyone stumped, including his friend and famed Prohibition agent Eliot Ness. There, in the city caught in the grip of a serial killer, Malone’s and Dani’s paths cross once again.
I initially picked up this book for research during my Masters Degree, researching into historical crime fiction, and this has been the best one I’ve read by far. I enjoyed it so much that I paced myself to savour every second.
Dani is a wonderful character, being determined and optimistic throughout the novel. She knows what she wants and doesn’t slow down until she manages it, and for that I absolutely adored her. With fantastical elements sprinkled in, this protagonist really captures the reader’s hearts and makes you want the best for her. With her unique appearance and mind, Dani gradually solves the case herself, striving to help Malone in his career aspirations.
Malone is another great protagonist, following Dani’s lead a lot of the time and gradually falling in love with her in the process. It was an elegant romance, one that I absolutely adored reading and one that tugged on my heart-strings at multiple intervals.
The writing itself is very atmospheric and effortless in describing its period. You believed the story, you believed the characters, and you believed the world. Harmon does a brilliant job of keeping the reader within the time period, and this book is one I’d return to again and again. As someone who hasn’t explored Historical Crime fiction much, this was a brilliant one to get me into the flow of wanting to discover more and more from the genre.
Overall, I deeply enjoyed this book, loving the world and its characters. I’ll definitely be finding more of Amy Harmon’s work to read in the future.