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Things Half in Shadow

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  787 ratings  ·  193 reviews
Postbellum America makes for a haunting backdrop in this historical and supernatural tale of moonlit cemeteries, masked balls, cunning mediums, and terrifying secrets waiting to be unearthed by an intrepid crime reporter.

The year is 1869, and the Civil War haunts the city of Philadelphia like a stubborn ghost. Mothers in black continue to mourn their lost sons. Photograph
Paperback, 448 pages
Published December 30th 2014 by Gallery Books
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Alan Finn As the author, I'm probably the wrong person to answer this, but I can say that my intention wasn't to terrify but to provide a slight, spooky chill. …moreAs the author, I'm probably the wrong person to answer this, but I can say that my intention wasn't to terrify but to provide a slight, spooky chill. So I'd definitely put this in the "little unnerving" category.(less)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  787 ratings  ·  193 reviews

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Sorry sorry sorry NetGally...I lost track of this book- not the books fault- just one of those times when life gets in the way of reading- and much to my surprise after 90+ days- THINGS HALF IN SHADOW was still there....YAY!!! I think ghosts were working behind the scenes- to make my reading it (waaaaaay after the deadline) possible. True story...(what other explanation could there be?). :D

 photo 5126aa44-5c41-4b68-9b82-dfe27c3cf5bc_zpsxlowyofh.jpg

1869 Philadelphia

Columbus Holmes was ten years old when he witnessed the death of his mother at the hand
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: To everyone! Just read the darn book!
Shelves: read-2014
Edward Clark has a secret; he was once Columbus Holmes, son of The Amazing Magellan Holmes a famous magician. But then, his father committed a crime, when Columbus was ten, so horrible that Columbus swore he never see him again. He became Edward Clark, crime reporter, and he tried his very best to leave his past behind him. But everything is about to change when he is asked to investigate mediums and cross path with the lovely, but strong-willed Mrs. Lucy Collins.

This book was fabulous, from the
*NetGalley book review*

What an excellent fabulous read! This books starts out right away with grabbing your attention and not letting go until the last page. Packed with mediums, spirits and plenty of other stuff, this book is a winner. I very much enjoyed this story of a reporter trying to figure out if all the mediums are real or fake and then meeting a certain one and that's when the story gets great.
La Crosse County Library
The reason why I first picked up this book by Alan Finn is because I learned the author is another pen name of Riley Sager. The feel of this book though is different from those written under the Riley Sager pseudonym where it seems each of the author’s pen names tackles a different book genre. Things Half in Shadows is historical fiction mixed with supernatural elements that has a big mystery to top it off. There are some similarities in the writing style to his later books, but otherwise this b ...more
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...

What an engaging read!

It is 1869 in Philadelphia. Families are mourning the many dead from the Civil War and Spiritualism is on the rise. There are many "mediums" who are exploiting those trying to contact their loved ones who have died.


The main character Edward Clark is a crime journalist. He has his own hidden family history that he's been trying to keep secretly locked away behind his new life.

When he's pulled into an assignment to debunk the mediums in the city, he ends up mee
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Hauntings, crystal ball gazing and mysteries abound in postbellum America. Sounds intriguing right? And the first few chapters are. Edward Clark is a young crime reporter whose editor has assigned him to investigate fraudulent mediums throughout the city.

What follows is a series of plot one-upmanships that the author can't possibly deliver on. The more engaging story lines fall by the wayside as we are made to slog through action sequences that are both implausible and unnecessary. Throw in a r
Charline Ratcliff
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When I decided to read Things Half In Shadow by Alan Finn, I wasn’t sure what I should expect. Was this book a Historical Fiction? Murder/Mystery? Paranormal Thriller? Something in between? Or would it encompass all of the above? Needless to say, this title’s ‘about’ blurb had intrigued me – and my only real concern was whether this 436 page book was going to be an interesting read or a ‘snoozer.’

I needn't have worried because Things Half In Shadow was completely captivating. For starters, I was
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this (it comes out January 15, 2015) and I feel sorry for those of you who have to wait. Set in the 1800s in Philadelphia, it's the gripping story of a Mr. Edward Clark, a rather ordinary chap who gets pulled into the world of ghosts and seances - and a murder investigation. You'll come to care about the characters (well, most of them) and you'll appreciate the well-researched details. You won't want to put it down! ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Things in Half Shadow is an entertaining mystery thriller with a paranormal twist, set in postbellum Philadelphia, in which author Alan Finn (the pen name of Todd Ritter) introduces an unusual crime solving duo - independently wealthy crime reporter, Edward Clark and brazen confidence trickster, Lucy Collins, who become unlikely allies when they are present at the death of Lenora Grimes Pastor, the city's most highly regarded medium.

Edward tells the tale of Things Half in Shadow as an old man sh
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
An entertaining historical tale with a fascinating focus: Spiritualism in post-Civil War Philadelphia, as narrated in first-person by a skeptical newspaper reporter, a Union Army veteran, as he lives these events. Readers of historical fiction will delight in the period detail, and those who like a Supernatural flavor will be quite riveted too.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
More like 4.5 stars. Excellent, spooky, fun! Grabbed my attention at the beginning and didn't let go till the very end. I'm hoping there will be a sequel, it was that good! ...more
**I received this book for free from Gallery Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Genre* Historical Fiction, Mystery
*Rating* 4.0

*My Thoughts*

Things Half in Shadow is a mystery blended with the supernatural. Set in Postbellum America (1869 Philadelphia), Shadow is told in the first person narrative by Edward Clark. Shadow enters the world of Spiritualism, Mediums, and a secret society bent on r
I don't know if I would normally have given this four instead of three stars, but I read it at just the right time. Normally such a slow-paced mystery would've bored me, but I was looking for a little peace and this book about murder and ghosts was actually surprisingly not that violent or bleak.

The author overdid it just a little on trying to bring the city to life, I thought it felt forced at points. Other than that I think he had a good grip on the time period compared to some other historic
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Things Half in Shadow by Alan Finn is an impeccably written historical novel that is highly entertaining and quite riveting. Written in first person in the form of a memoir, this compelling story is the perfect blend of humor, supernatural elements and mystery. Plenty of twists and turns, misdirects and closely guarded secrets make it impossible to guess the killer's identity until the novel's dramatic and pulse pounding conclusion.

Edward Clark is less than thrilled with his latest assignment fr
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A brilliantly crafted adventure.
I was really pulled into this story. This time period in America makes supernatural occurrences seem completely rational and acceptable.
Mysticism, magic, mystery and chicanery combine to create a story full of action and excitement. I didn't want to put this one down.
What I loved most of all where the main plot points that coalesced into the final conclusion. So many arcs, in fact, that there could be any number of spin off storylines. The main ending itself is s
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Séances. Murder mystery. Mediums, real and otherwise. Magic. 19th century Philadelphia. This was certainly an easy choice. And it lived up to my expectations quite nicely. This wasn't the first book I've read on the topic, but definitely the lightest one (in tone, not heft). Almost bestsellery in its language, it did offer up some nice surprises and the rapid fire pacing kept the pages turning, even though a perceptive reader was able to easily ascertain where things were going quite often. Stil ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
This is a terrible book, and yet still somehow readable. The characters are barely sketched. The main character has no personality, other than being haunted by a tragic past. He is torn between two loves, both of whom are also personality free cliches. Much, much time is dedicated to the colorless hero telling us how much he hates the pretty woman he won't stop hanging out with to the point that in your head you're screaming at him DO HER OR JUST SHUT UP ABOUT IT. PT Barnum is in the book, to ad ...more
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is a whole lot of fun to read!

For those looking for a good account of history as well as some things that go bump in the night, this book would be a perfect choice. I loved the way the author combined reality with fantasy and gave us a main character that we want to see succeed even in the most impossible of situations.

I was surprised by how quickly this book captivated my attention and I refused to put it down until the very end. I'm hoping to see more from this author very soon.

Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent book! I normally don't read books that deal with the paranormal but this was so tastefully done that I quite enjoyed it. 1869 Philadelphia and Edward Clark, who is a reporter for The Bulletin, has been given a job of debunking the city's mediums. Mediums have flourished since the end of the Civil War due to the many losses people have experienced and wanting to reconnect with their dead. Edward is also dealing with his own losses but he's never been one to accept the mediums, however, ...more
Gena DeBardelaben
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
ARC: Netgalley

New talent alert! In a plethora of mediocre books it's so rewarding to come across an author who can spin such a web of intrigue and mystery. I look forward to more from Mr. Finn!
Feb 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, kobo
Review originally posted at

I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Anyone who knows my reading tastes knows that I am a sucker for anything to do with mediums and séances or ghosts and mysticism from around the turn of the century. I have always loved a good ghost story, although they terrify me, which is weird, since I don’t believe in ghosts in the slightest, so I am not completely sure where the terror or the obsession comes
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
My Review: A sign of a good book is when you're engaged right from the beginning. This happened for me with the debut novel, Things Half in Shadow. I loved how the book opens with the foreword written by Edward 'at the behest' of his granddaughter who has quite the macabre disposition and love of ghost stories. In order to please his granddaughter Edward writes down the ghost stories that he knows. It's one of these ghost stories that makes up Things Half In Shadow which was a very atmospheric h ...more
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, netgalley
It's 1869 and Edward Clark lives a comfortable life as a reporter for the Evening Bulletin in Philadelphia. He's happily engaged to a pretty, delicate girl named Violet Willoughby and has pretty much moved on from the tragedy that struck his young life at only 10 years of age. But when Edward's editor assigns him the task of writing a series of articles exposing the many fraudulent mediums overrunning the city, Edward is set on a downward spiral that has him not only witness to a murder, but als ...more
Jan 25, 2015 rated it liked it
I give this 3.5 stars really. I found it a most enjoyable read. There were times I really did not want to put it down. I enjoyed the time period it was put in, a few years after the American Civil War and it had a good grasp on the "fad" of Spiritualism that was all the rage. (I suspect it still might be) I will confess to visiting a psychic counselor (as they are called now) from time to time in the I understand the appeal. The writing perhaps might have been a bit basic, but that is ...more
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this has all the things I enjoy...ghosts, spookiness, a spunky heroine and a very good mystery...or two. Edward is a fabulous character - funny, smart, sensitive - and I say "yes please" to more adventures for him and Lucy. "My mother once told me that bees are nothing to be afraid of. In fact, she said they're a sign of good luck, because they create sweetness wherever they go." Everyone in this book has a secret, and it's fun to find out what! Oh, and don't even get me starte ...more
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really excellent historical mystery with unique, complex characters and a great storyline. And this story involves mediums, so you get to know a little of the methods used by some mediums to fake ghostly occurrences. I really enjoyed reading this and hope there will be further stories with these characters. Recommended to anyone who likes historical mysteries.
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book more than expected. I liked the unique subject matter, wrapped in mystery, and set in historical Philadelphia. It reminded me somewhat of the Pendergrast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, of which I am a big fan. I would recommend this book to those fans of suspense and historical mystery. I was provided a digital copy of this book by Netgalley.
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Maybe it's because of my interest in Victorian spiritualism, but this is an excellent book. Perfectly unsettling, perfectly written, perfectly paced. I couldn't wait to see how it unfolded, and it kept me guessing with twists and turns. I could see this being a great movie. ...more
Jo Besser
Sep 23, 2020 rated it liked it
I went back and forth on how to rate this book, to be completely honest. I thought it was okay, and then I thought this was a cool concept. I just don't know how it was executed.

What didn't I like: I sort of hate how a book introduces something in the beginning, and then doesn't address it till two hundred pages later. My thought is, if this is the opening of your book it should be addressed first. I also hate how there were two different story lines going on at the same time, neither of them we
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Things Half in Shadow is a very good thriller. It takes place in the 1800s in Philadelphia. It is the story told by Edward Clark who has a secret past. The characters he meets along the way are very interesting, to say the least. I liked how spiritualism was portrayed in this book. There are many mediums in Philadelphia, but there are also many charlatans. Edward is given an assignment by his editor to see which mediums are real and which are not. There starts the adventure.
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Alan Finn is the pen name of Todd Ritter, an acclaimed author of mysteries. He has worked as a writer, editor, journalist and ghost writer. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey, where he is hard at work on his next novel.

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