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The Spectral City

(Spectral City #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  206 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Solving crime isn’t only for the living.
In turn-of-the century New York City, the police have an off-the-books spiritual go-to when it comes to solving puzzling corporeal crimes . . .
Her name is Eve Whitby, gifted medium and spearhead of The Ghost Precinct. When most women are traveling in a gilded society that promises only well-appointed marriage, the confident nin
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published November 27th 2018 by Rebel Base Books
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Spectral City by Leanna Renee Hieber is the first book in the new series by the same name. This one is perhaps one of those books that may be easier to tell what it is than what it isn’t being a bit of book soup. First you take a bit of historical fiction, set in 1899, and mix it with the paranormal, ghosts, bringing fantasy to the story then let those ghosts help solve some mysteries and perhaps even add a dash of romance.

What we also have with The Spectral City is this is sort of a spin of
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
How I read this: Free ebook copy received from publisher

It looks as if I’m in love with a new urban mystery series!!! I tend to be quite picky about my urban mysteries, but this series checks off so many things on my list. Some of these things are:

- it’s set in 1899 (swoon)
- it focuses on strong women
- there is a ghost precinct
- seances, ghosts, readings – not the kind of thing I believe in too much in real life, but I’ll have ALL the fiction about this stuff, please
- there is super cute fake da

For all instances, a good mystery set in late 19th century New York and featuring a supernatural police department staffed by women. What’s not to like? Well, in theory I should have loved this, but I didn’t. I enjoyed it but had to fight with the narration at certain times, especially at the beginning. Still, feisty women characters, alive and dead, kept me interested :O)

N.B. This felt like the first part of a longer story. The more pressing element is dealt with but not the rest.
Lauren Stoolfire
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Spectral City is a promising series opener. Leanna Renee Hieber does a brilliant job of bringing the historical fantasy paranormal world of early 1900s NYC to life. I love the level of real life historical detail that she's inserted into the story. I also particularly enjoyed the paranormal elements with the ghosts, mediums, physics, and of course the mystery element of The Ghost Precinct. Basically, Eve and her team solve cri
3-3.5 stars. I liked the story and the all-female team of legit spiritualists (and ghosts) with varying abilities who are a working precinct of the police. Appointed by Teddy Roosevelt (when he was still involved with things in New York City) after he could see the value of what Eve Whitby and her grandmother Evelyn were doing using their abilities in helping solve the occasional cold case.
The team encounter the usual anger and misogyny from most of the police force, though one detective, Jacob
Leanna Hieber
Nov 20, 2018 is currently reading it  ·  (Review from the author)
Dear Readers, I'm not reviewing my own book here but instead offering a bit of insight into THE SPECTRAL CITY. This is not your average ghost story. As many of you know, my worlds are parallel and characters cross over from one series to the next. (Don't worry, new readers, you can start with this fresh!) But I am thrilled to return to several of my most beloved friends. Eve Whitby stars as a 19th year old medium who, alongside her favorite friendly ghosts, helps solve weird crime in 1899 NYC. S ...more
Darrell Grizzle
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love everything about this novel: the setting (1890's New York); the main character, Eve Whitby; the idea of a Ghost Precinct where mediums (media?) and ghosts work together to solve mysteries; and the way this gifted author tells the story of strong female characters (both alive and ghostly). Leanna Renee Hieber, in addition to being an author, is an actress who leads ghost tours in New York City, and her knowledge of ghosts and the city itself shine through in this novel that is charming as ...more
The Lit Bitch
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Leanna Renee Hieber way back in 2011 when I read one of her early books. I saw it in a local used book store and randomly picked it up. When I got home I started reading and couldn’t put it down.

I loved the romance and the paranormal and her overall storytelling and because of that first book in the Strangely Beautiful series, I fell in love with this author. She writes a spicy romance with great brooding heroes so I was thrilled to read this new book.

Ok so this book is a strong sta
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Eve Whitby is a medium. She can see and talk to ghosts. She has been chosen to be in charge of the Ghost Precinct. Her unit will assist the police when only a ghost can lead them in the right direction. Not only is the Ghost Precinct unusual because of it's supernatural ties, but this is back when women couldn't hold those types of jobs. It was unseemly.
I really wanted to like this book, but I was bored from the start. I didn't connect with the characters, and I didn't really care what happened.
I happened to see the blurb on this one and it checked off so many boxes for me: Gilded Age NYC, spiritualists and ghosts, detecting, disappearances, and something ominous happening. But, let's not forget a favorite narrator was doing the storytelling. It was sure to delight me.

The Spectral City opens with a prologue that had me riveted right from the opening sentences. A ghost heeds calls for help and finds herself trapped in a horrific way. Next, the scene shifts to a young woman, who as a pow
Anna Szabó
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I think about ghost stories what comes to mind are horror stories with ghosts haunting people or houses. But The spectral City by Leanna Renee Hieber is not that kind of ghost story. It’s something else. I LOVED it!

There is this sentence that caught my attention. “ There are protocols, paperwork, one can’t just barge in and begin levitating family belongings.” I just knew this is going to be fun and totally different from any other ghost related books I’ve ever read.

Eve Whitby is a medium,
Anne Monteith
Jun 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Review coming soon.
Catherine Siemann
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've been following Leanna Renee Hieber's books since her Strangely Beautiful series, and when she launched this new paranormal mystery series set in 1899 NYC, I knew it would be right up my alley. Eve Whitby is the leader of the newly-launched Ghost Precinct, an all-female division of the NYPD where mediums use their gifts to solve crimes which ordinary methods can't crack. The book starts with a really dramatic hook -- a ghost, one of Eve's favorite contacts, disappears under mysterious circum ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Eve Whitby comes from a family of psychics, even though her parents are not comfortable with this at all (Her grandmother, however, is and is both a powerful psychic and Eve's mentor). It opens with Eve being put in charge of a supernatural squad within the NYPD by Teddy Roosevelt himself and Detective Horowitz is set up as her liaison.

Something strange happens immediately. One of the ghosts Eve usually speaks to, who helps her with her investigations, has gone missing. Eve and her other psychi
Franca Pelaccia
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
It’s 1899 New York and the NYPD has just opened up the Ghost Precinct. It is run by psychics and their ghost allies under the direction of nineteen-year-old Eve Whitby. Their job is to help solve challenging crimes through their psychic gifts. The novel starts when one of Eve’s most trusted ghost allies, disappears into the “darkness” and is unreachable. While Eve and her crew try to locate and bring her back, they investigate the kidnapping of a girl only to find that certain houses have manage ...more
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I enjoyed this book very much. The story of a young woman named Eve, in New York around the turn of the 20th century, who is able to speak to ghosts who help her solve crimes. She has a benefactor in Teddy Roosevelt, who actually forms a division of the NYPD based around her ability to solves crimes. The book has a nice level of historical detail, with a main character who feels very contemporary in her thinking-something which normally feels jarring to me, but worked well in this book.

I was a
Anna Szabó
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I think about ghost stories what comes to mind are horror stories with ghosts haunting people or houses. But The spectral City by Leanna Renee Hieber is not that kind of ghost story. It’s something else. I LOVED it!

Eve Whitby is a medium, an especially gifted one. She talks to ghosts. And she uses this gift to help the police solve crimes or try and prevent them. And she cares about said ghosts very much. So when one of them disappears she is desperate to find out what happened. What could
Carly O'Connell
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse-books
Short but sweet, an introduction to Eve Whitby and her ghost precinct. Eve is the daughter of Natalie and Jonathan Whitby, the protagonist and love interest of the first Hieber book I ever read, and granddaughter of the formidable Evelyn Northe-Stewart, who played a role in the Eterna Files series as well. It was interesting to see these familiar characters from a fresh perspective.
While Eve's parents are traumatized from their own brush with the supernatural in their youth, Eve can't live with
Em B
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it
The Spectral City is a really interesting concept - historical urban fantasy with ghosts and female detectives in a time when prejudice is rife but attitudes are changing. There are some pretty badass characters in this story and I was intrigued right from the start as to what the mystery was and how it would be solved.

I would say it perhaps needed a firmer hand in the editing process - the pacing is off and at times dragged, in part because it feels like every single character is introduced wit
Julia O'Connell
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For Eve Whitby, a connection to the supernatural seems to run in the family. A talented medium like her grandmother Evelyn, Eve has decided to turn her ghost-related abilities into a career. With the support of New York City governor Teddy Roosevelt, she quietly forms a Ghost Precinct within the NYPD to solve cold cases via otherworldly means. Their specialty is finding missing children, but when one of their own ghost operatives goes missing, Eve realizes that they may be dealing with something ...more
Rachel | Barely Bookish
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclosure: I bought this book because I received the second book as an ARC. As always, my opinions about this book are my own.

Let me just say, these books are fantastic for Halloween. They’ve got everything you could possibly want, ghosts, girls with almost magical powers, and those same girls fight for what’s right. What’s not to love?

Honestly, I really liked it. I am not usually one to seek out historical fiction, but the second I heard ghosts, I was excited. I love ghosts in books, especiall
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Precinct of spirit detectives

I enjoyed this book. The setting in the late 1800’s with famous historical figures dropping in was unique and interesting. I enjoyed reading about the charlatans selling tinctures and the robber barons who were bent on making money at the expense of others. Mainly I enjoyed the detectives and their relationship with the spirits who assist them in solving crimes. I also liked the growing relationship between Eve and Jacob. I have only two criticisms. One is that this
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
First off, this book breaks the genre promises and DOES NOT SOLVE THE MYSTERY. In most mysteries, the event happens, in this case, the disappearance of Maggie, and the book should move toward finding out what happened, who did it, and getting Maggie back. Well, the what and how are never answered, I assume to set up for the next book but HELLO... Not okay.

I also didn't love the laborious pacing of this book or the "name dropping" of famous people in history as if to add credence to the story, ye
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
The Spectral City by Leanna Renee Hieber is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late November.

Post-victorian New York detective work (usually having to do with murder or kidnapping) with Eve, other mediums, spirit guides, and the Ghost Precinct. It's all kind of like a third-person-narrated Ghostbusters with a perspective from the ghosts themselves during a post-Alienist timeframe and the spooky concept that ghosts/spirits can be lost even further into the afterlife than where the Ghost Precin
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, ghosts
I love the banter and chemistry between Horowitz and Eve, I just wish there was more of it in this book!

It was also interesting to see a former Hieberverse protagonist, Natalie from Magic Most Foul, cast in an antagonistic role in this book – usually all of Hieber’s protagonists dearly love each other and get along splendidly, but it made for a refreshing change of pace to see some conflict among characters we like.

In fact, I wish there was more conflict all around, because Eve and her friends
chey (lofi book café!)
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, ebook
A dazzling story with an incredibly inclusive cast for a historical fiction (four psychic women, including one who is Black, one who is trans, and a young girl who signs) and a delicious slow-burn romance. There are a lot of loose ends remaining, but the last few chapters heavily hinted that these would be addressed in the sequel.

This is my first work by this author, and the book is set in the same universe as another series by her. Quite a few references flew over my head that I might have enj
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's nothing inherently wrong with the story, but it was incredibly boring. The second half was a little better than the first, but the second half also had a million errors. If I had to guess, I'd say they tried to save money by not hiring a copy editor. The book really needs one, though. It was a little like reading a first or second draft--very annoying.

The cast was very diverse, and the large number of characters didn't feel overwhelming. But overall I'm very disappointed both in the boo
Deborah Gill
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful book by Leanna! I was introduced to some new characters, human and ghost while at the same time catching up with some characters from previous works. The team work of law enforcement and spiritualism is wonderful to see, even if it is a bit limited. The work that Eve and her team do is amazing, helping find lost souls and solve crimes. The team that Eve has put together works well as they combine their skills to locate missing bodies and help families come to terms with what ha ...more
Marianne K. Benvenuti
Ghostly tale

I'm not sure that I wholeheartedly believe in ghosts, but I am open to the possibility. This story is set in the late 1890's when mediums and seances were all the rage. Eve, the heroine is a talented sensitive who works with others on her team for the New York Police Department. One of her ghostly assets--a dead cousin--has disappeared. Eve takes on cases that seem to have no connection at first, but then out to be related and very dangerous. Not all is solved at the end, so the stor
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really loved the supernatural premise of this book and all the detailed historical elements. This series is tied to another series by the same author--which I didn't know when I started reading--but I didn't feel lost in any way. These books definitely stand on their own. That said, I'll have to check out the other books set in the world when I finish this trilogy. (Sidebar: I also appreciated the love this book shows for Manhattan, which I miss terribly right now.) ...more
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Author, actress, artist and playwright, Leanna received a BFA in Theatre, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. She adapted 19th Century literature for the stage and her one-act plays have been produced around the country. She is a 4 time Prism Award winner for excellence in Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance. Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Mi ...more

Other books in the series

Spectral City (3 books)
  • A Sanctuary of Spirits (Spectral City, #2)
  • A Summoning of Souls (Spectral City, #3)

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