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The Nightshade Cabal

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All Isaac Barrow wants is to be left alone to pursue his supernatural research and tinker with his inventions. But when you’re the only technomancer openly practicing the craft in 1880s Halifax, trouble has a way of finding you. When a routine mechanical service call reveals the grisly handiwork of the Nightshade Cabal – an underground cult of necromancers – Barrow finds himself in a race against time to put a stop to the Cabal’s depredations before they can kill anyone else and turn them into... office machinery?

Then there’s the mystery of Emily Skye, a missing teenager with strange abilities of her own. Believing her disappearance to be connected to the Nightshade Cabal, Barrow agrees to help track down the missing girl. But even if he can find her, will Miss Skye aid him in his struggle against the Cabal? Or might she turn out to be the deadliest threat of all?

Paperback

First published February 25, 2020

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About the author

Chris Patrick Carolan

12 books25 followers
Chris Patrick Carolan is an author, editor, and hovercraft enthusiast, originally from Glasgow but now based in Calgary, Alberta. He writes steampunk, fantasy (urban and epic), and science fiction, though he has also been known to turn to crime to make ends meet. Crime fiction, that is. His short stories have appeared in various award-nominated anthologies, and his first novel, THE NIGHTSHADE CABAL, was published by Parliament House Press in 2020.

He can be found on Twitter as @cpcwrites but consider this fair warning… it’s mostly wisecracks about McNuggets and Simpsons memes.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 39 reviews
Profile Image for Sheila G.
506 reviews97 followers
February 27, 2020
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, The Parliament House, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.

description

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

Content Warning: Abduction, Gore, Death, Murder, Overall morbid theme
The inspector always says there are two main motivations for murder, love or money.

Halifax, Nova Scotia is an atmospheric place in the 1880’s, especially when steampunk machines rumble down the streets of the Victorian city. The Nightshade Cabal is an urban fantasy with solid world building set in this intriguing era.

Isaac Barrow is one of the last technomancers by trade, but transitions into a detective reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, when his path unwillingly crosses the devious Nightshade Cabal on one of his routine jobs. Magic is very real, and good, when used for such means. The Nightshade Cabal, however, prove that their fiendish work with necromancy only leads down a path of disaster. Two missing persons, a mysterious malfunctioning contraption, and a plea from a distraught sister thrusts Isaac into a fast-paced chase through the streets of Halifax to track down Emily Skye.

Barrow’s tinkering will appease any steampunk lover, as it’s rather advanced gadgets are consistently present in daily living. I found it easy to dive into this well-written story and remained on the edge of my seat for the entire duration. I appreciated Barrow’s inquisitive nature, and how he shared his ruminations throughout the entire case. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more by this author, as his unique voice is inquisitive, descriptive, and unique.

Vulgarity: Minimal.
Sexual content: Minimal.
Violence: Moderate - the overall theme encompasses some gruesome details and investigating them further.

My Rating: ★★★★

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Profile Image for Randy Schroeder.
Author 1 book14 followers
February 12, 2020
This is a delicious debut. Its ingredients are drawn from a wide range: the aesthetic of steampunk; the imagery of magical realism; the detail of the historical novel; the the charm of the 19th-Century Detective Novel; even, at times, the repartee of the buddy flick. However, it would be wrong to characterize The Nightshade Cabal as a simple mashup or genre-bender, since its variety of narrative details are integrated to such a degree that it coheres as a unique and seamless reading experience. Carolan has cooked up something here that is somehow both literary treat and guilty pleasure: The Nightshade Cabal could sit on any number of bookstore shelves and not disappoint the curious reader.

Did I mention that it takes place in an alternate Halifax? Yeah. So cool. I do hope that this is the beginning of a remarkable series.
Profile Image for Justine.
191 reviews55 followers
February 26, 2020
See this review and others at Whispers & Wonder

The lure of the forbidden is a powerful thing.

The Nightshade Cabal is a thrilling and highly inventive debut from author Chris Patrick Carolan. An adventure laced in mystery and menace, we follow breadcrumbs leading from one grisly discovery to the next, keeping readers on their toes until the very end. At its heart, it's a tale of the lengths one is willing to go in order to protect those they love, and also of the consequences of attempting to play God in any capacity. It also highlights the power of companionship, and the importance of placing your trust in others when all seems lost. This was an impressive debut that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I'm excited to see where Carolan takes us next.

This is an exceptionally immersive story set in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the year of 1881, which personally played out as a movie as I thumbed through the pages. With a seamless blend of steampunk, magical realism, and Victorian gothic flavors, the world Carolan crafts around us is one that feels incredibly real, yet imbued with the unexpected fantastical – I'm talking necromancers, fairies, and demons, oh my! His ability to create this alternate history, yet keep it relatable is just astounding. Replete with time-accurate vocabulary and salutations, innovative technology, and mystery that feels as if it has been plucked from yesteryear makes for one engrossing tale.

In addition to the rich worldbuilding, the characters that take center stage are also amazingly developed. Isaac Barrow, a technomancer with a hunger for the unknown, and a seeker of truth and equality. While he claims he wants to be left to his own devices, he works awfully hard to rid the world of those who have the capacity for magic and use it for harmful purposes. Miss Emily Sky, a young woman wanting to right the wrongs she's witnessed, hoping to find herself and her intended path in the process. Simply put, she's a badass. Inspector Jonathan Eddings, commanding officer of the Halifax Constabulary, willing to accept aid and guidance from the strangest of sources, laws be damned. The dynamics between these characters are so fluid and organic, ripe with friendly banter and genuine concern, it was such a pleasure getting to know them.

There are villains. Oh, there are villains. Assassins and powerful summoners plague our heroes every step of the way, as they intend to keep their secrets hidden deep within the shadows of the smuggler's tunnels they inhabit. Carolan drops hints throughout allowing you to make connections pretty quickly, but he holds back on revealing the extent of depravity and vileness that lie within their hearts until the grand reveal. For fear of spoiling, I won't go into much detail here, but I will say there is an emotional factor that may cause some level of sympathy…or not.

The plot takes us on a journey filled with twists and turns, where everything ultimately comes together in the most beautiful of ways. A curious piece of modern equipment with troubling anomalies, a missing girl with a checkered past, a haunting and heinous revelation – the trek to the truth is most definitely a satisfying one. Immersive prose, and instances where knowledge of the time period and area are glaringly apparent, immediately piqued my interest, and kept the pages flying by. My only bit of criticism would be for some occasional informational overloads that seemed to have no bearing on the story itself.

The Nightshade Cabal is an exhilarating read that just utterly absorbed my attention. It's unique investigative plot combined with brilliant characters, mist-laden city streets, and reckless steamcarraige rides made it a blast to read. And that epilogue! Will there be more? I sure hope so. If you're looking for something that straddles the line between historical fiction and fantasy, defined by a crime mystery, but executed with the boundless rules of fantasy, then I suggest you give this one a try. I highly recommend.

Note: A huge thank you to Chris Patrick Carolan and The Parliament House for providing me with a complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for gwendalyn _books_.
869 reviews28 followers
February 24, 2020
This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Nightshade Cabal by Chris Patrick Carolan, is a riveting, faced paced urban fantasy, with captivating steampunk elements. This is one book you do not want to miss. Exceptional world building, with technomancy, fantastic magical realism and captivating fast paced thrilling mystery makes for an exceptional read.
Alternative of 1880’s Halifax comes to life under the authors descriptive details, giving the reader a glimpse of Carolan’s capability of mastery catapulting you into a stunning atmospheric creative invention novel.
With a unique and engaging cast of characters, along with clever comic timing that keeps the reader fully immersed from start to the enjoyable twist filled ending.

What starts as a simple repair job at a client’s residence become a sudden turn of events that unfolds into a missing person case. Emily Skye, a missing teenager with strange abilities of her own. Believing her disappearance to be connected to a cult of necromancers. Barrow agrees to help track down the missing girl, leading him to the Nightshade Cabal, an ominous sinister organization of an underground cult of necromancers.
Profile Image for Kristen.
10 reviews
February 25, 2020
The Nightshade Cabal is a fast-paced journey, filled with magic, mischief, and mystery. It takes the reader through some of 1800s Nova Scotia’s most hidden pockets and secret activities, as seen through the eyes of enigmatic sleuth Isaac Barrow.

Overall, I enjoyed this debut narrative, and the characters of Isaac Barrow and Emily Skye especially. However, for me it was lacking key elements and a surprising conclusion, and for that reason I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Shatarupa  Dhar.
601 reviews74 followers
February 27, 2020
Synopsis:
In Halifax, Nova Scotia; Isaac Barrow is a spellcaster. He deals with real magic, is one of the few who can sense it. He's a technomancer as well, researching the supernatural with the aid of his various scientific inventions. His expertise lies in "intertwining the transmundane with science and technology". Unlike The Nightshade Cabal, the underground organisation of necromancers who dabble in "blood magic, resurrectionism, and demon worship". He also an investigator who sometimes assists the constabulary in certain special cases.

Emily Skye is missing. When her elder sister Meredith approaches Barrow with the unique case, suspecting The Nightshade Cabal's hand in her disappearance, he agrees to attempt to find her.

Review:
The story begins in 1881. Barrow and Inspector Jonathon Eddings are watching Lai Jūn’s magic show, most probably the pretend kind. But then he sees something which piques his interest.
The lure of the forbidden is a powerful thing...

This is all I needed. A smoky, steamy, and misty Canada where steamcarriages were just introduced, where occult practices take place hidden from the public eye because they aren't comfortable or accepting of magic. People usually are not accepting of what they don't understand! Barrow regularly deals in the arcane, which takes him to the wealthy shipping magnate Henry Feele's residence. His autotype machine is malfunctioning, spewing out words no one typed. And that is where Barrow finds something astonishing, which unravels a pot full of mysteries!

There is the pain of rejection in a society that doesn't want to understand or accept someone's different ways, for Emily. But there is so much of thrill too, in the form of clashes between Lai Jūn and Barrow. And when Emily is finally introduced, what a delightful character she is! What a sassy fighter! There is slow investigative action as well as fast-paced chase sequences.

Reading about the way Barrow worked seemed like a magical MacGyver of the olden days. I was triply awed at the author's imagination, his conversion of that imagination to something so realistic and more importantly, in a historical setting. The entire story played out within a span of three weeks.

I adored the strong friendship between Eddings and Barrow and the camaraderie between Emily and Barrow. The language, the dated words, the entire historical setting, I can't wait to read more of Chris Patrick Carolan's works. And if the epilogue, which completely threw me off guard, is any indication; there is more to the story, even if the present t adventure ends here. I still can't believe this is the author's debut novel. Enter this magical world of spellcasters and prepare yourself to be spellbound!

P.S. The author's Historical Notes at the end clearly demarcate fact from fiction. This is my first steampunk and I just wanted to add for those who haven't yet read from or heard of this genre that it is a sub-genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features anachronistic technologies.

Thank you to The Parliament House Press for an e-ARC of the book.

Originally posted on:
Shaina's Musings
Profile Image for Robert Bose.
Author 20 books20 followers
January 25, 2020
Strange things are afoot in 1880’s Halifax, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Isaac Barrow – full time technomancer and inventor, part time investigator, and, I think, aspiring curmudgeon (if he lives long enough) – is thrust head first into the thick of the action against the sinister necromantic Nightshade Cabal while searching for missing young lady.

Isaac is a resourceful fellow, it must be said, clever yet fallible, with both old friends and new watching his back, but that might not be enough to see him through when his poking around dredges up enemies possibly higher than his pay grade. But that’s half the fun, seeing if he’s up to the challenge. The other half is, of course, immersing one’s self in a magical, steampunk infused Halifax. A place of light and darkness, shadow and intrigue.

A fabulous first novel for Chris, well worth picking up. And of course, be sure to check out a pair of short stories featuring our stalwart technomancer: “A Murder at Carleton House” in Enigma Front: Burnt (Analemma Books, August 2016) and “The Wolfville Horror” in in Enigma Front: The Monster Within (Analemma Books, August 2017).

I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Isaac Barrow, and for that I’m glad.
Profile Image for Marc Watson.
Author 4 books8 followers
February 21, 2020
Chris Patrick Carolan's debut is an absolute masterclass in creating a riveting, tightly-woven mystery, and is some of the most well-told and environmentally excellent steampunk I have ever read.
Right from the beginning you're pulled into a world both familiar and foreign, grounded yet magical, and walking an expert balance between them all. Its strong protagonist, interesting characters, imaginative setting, high stakes, and well-paced adventure were a joy to ride along with. Whether it's in this written world or another, I look forward to what else Chris has to offer in the future. Amazing work!
Profile Image for H.C. Gowland.
16 reviews
April 17, 2022
The Nightshade Cabal sunk its hooks in early and kept me captivated for the whole crazy ride. At its core, it's a dark mystery novel in a Victorian steampunk fantasy setting filled with an array of intensely likeable and loathsome characters. A tough mash up to pull off, but it’s executed excellently.

The forces the protagonists fight against are unsettling to say the least, and not just because of the necromancy, demon-worship and all around spooky business. Carolan plays with concepts of eternal love and suffering and asks questions about the darker side of our obsession with relentless scientific advancement. These concepts are all woven together to create a uniquely creepy antagonist. There were even a few parts in this book that made me stop unexpectedly and think “damn that is unnerving.” As a horror fan, that’s a very good thing.

The magic feels deep and layered with many different schools and specialties. It’s also interesting how these magic-wielders manage to survive in a world still dominated by ordinary humans whose power rests in their numbers and technological inventions. While there is resentment on both sides, the technomancer MC straddles both, treating everyone he encounters based on their character, not their immutable traits. You can’t help but connect with him.

I had a blast with this and look forward to Carolan's future work.
Profile Image for Ryan Leslie.
Author 2 books34 followers
April 19, 2020
Chris Patrick Carolan's The Nightshade Cabal felt more like the work of an author hitting his stride several books into a series than a debut. There's as much magic in how the story is told as there is performed by the characters in the book. Carolan manages somehow to create a fully-realized 19th century Halifax without ever drawing attention to the world-building. The characters---particularly our reluctant hero, Isaac Barrow---are similarly deep and real. But more than anything, The Nightshade Cabal is fun, and it sets the stage for more fun to come. Recommended.
Profile Image for J.E. Barnard.
Author 9 books21 followers
February 24, 2020
Carolan’s prose offers the easy formality familiar to readers of Steampunk from Jules Verne to the present. His is a world familiar in some ways – quasi-Victorian Halifax against the Murdoch Mysteries’ Toronto – and unfamiliar in others, namely the mingling of mechanical marvels with magical practices. From the first scene, in a crowded theatre where a stage magician’s illusory creations threaten to unleash very real mayhem on the dazzled audience, you can relax into a tale equal parts Vernean fantasia and Sherlockian deduction.

Our doughty sleuth, Isaac Barrow, specializes in repairing machinery that has magic built into its design. As one of the few remaining technomancers in public practice – the rest having been driven underground by a distrustful city – he is sometimes quietly called upon to assist the police in their odder inquiries. Often these are connected to the secretive Nightshade Cabal, magic-users nominally kept in check by the equally publicity-shy Triune Congress.

But there are places even the Triune’s magisters avoid...

Into these dark byways Isaac Barrow must tread, hunting for two missing teens: an unremarkable neighbourhood boy, and a girl whose own family admits she was mixed up with the Cabal once before. Threatened by both the Cabal and the Triune, and aided by unlikely allies – notably including a gruff little Fae with a Feegle-sized chip on his tiny shoulder – Barrow penetrates both the mansions of the powerful and the foetid underbelly of Halifax’s wharves.

The Nightshade Cabal is that rare crossover likely to satisfy equally readers of crime and of Steampunk. Part homage to the greats in both genres, it’s also entirely it’s own creation. I anticipate further good reads from Chris Patrick Carolan.
Profile Image for Robert W. Easton.
Author 6 books12 followers
March 7, 2020
The Nightshade Cabal is a pleasing mystery. The slower pace of a noir like whodunnit matched well with the steampunk elements. But while the deliberate pace keeps the reader immersed in the wonderful details, the action scenes were brisk and riveting.

And the ending, whoa Nelly. I am definitely looking forward to the sequel.
Profile Image for Ellen Michelle.
Author 7 books5 followers
February 23, 2020
I received a free eBook version of this book in exchange for an honest review. My first comment about it? I’ll be buying the print version and rereading it as soon as I do.

A fantastic debut novel for Chris. I am a huge fan of urban fantasy, especially when it’s crossed with the crime/mystery genre—The Nightshade Cabal did not disappoint.

I was engaged from the first chapter and thoroughly intrigued by the main character and his tech-magical abilities, which became more and more interesting the more I read. His interpersonal skills/reactions make him an entirely relatable character, which is amplified when we meet the second main character.

I’m not a huge fan of reading eBooks and often am less engaged when reading in that format, but that was not an issue with this book. It only took three sittings for me to read this book because “Just one more chapter” was never actually just one more chapter—I never wanted to stop reading!

I highly recommend anyone interested in urban fantasy, crime with a twist, or necromancy read The Nightshade Cabal. I’m eagerly waiting for a sequel, and will certainly reread this one in anticipation.

Did I mention there are magical typewriters with actual brain cells in this book? I mean... what else do you need?
Profile Image for Monica.
40 reviews3 followers
February 23, 2020
When technomancer Isaac Barrow is set in search of a young spellcaster, he unknowingly entwines himself into the machinations of a diabolical plot. Chris Patrick Carolan creates a world where the marriage of technology and magic yields fantastic machines, but also horrid aberrations to nature.

Accompanied by a stubborn, but seemingly fearless Miss Skye, Isaac Barrow seems to uncover the dark
plot of the Nightshade Cabal, a group of necromancers that are known to stir up trouble. This book follows a winding path that leads to places you most certainly do not expect. I found it to be a thrilling read precisely because I could not anticipate what would happen next. Each new puzzle piece created more questions that leave you guessing until the end.

If you enjoy steampunk and fantasy then this book is a must read.
2 reviews
February 25, 2020
Chris Patrick Carolan promises much in his debut novel, The Nightshade Cabal. Promises he keeps and exceeds with marvelous characters, intrigue and adventure wrapped up in a steampunked 1881 Halifax. In this book two seemingly innocent requests pull Issac Burrow, a technomancer, into a twisted network of ritual, debauchery and secret societies. Carolan is a magician with words. He crafts a story rich in subplot and secondary characters the add a whole new richness to the main story. It is a true treasure trove of experience. So much so that Nightshade Cabal inhabits the very air you breath that you must turn the page to keep breathing.
This is Steampunk at its finest!
Profile Image for D.E. E.  Wright.
Author 2 books2 followers
February 25, 2020
Very excellent read!

Good pacing, fun characters, and a setting that I can honestly say I've never seen before with Steampunk 1880s Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The only thing I can say against the book is that it ended too soon, which is a great excuse for sequels.
If you're into the Dresden Files, Hellblazer, Steampunk, or Victorian Gothic in not the usual locales, then you can do far far worse than read this book.
Profile Image for Bella.
250 reviews26 followers
August 13, 2020
TW/CW: Abduction, Death and Murder and Gore

"The inspector always says there are two main motivations for money, love, or money"

We are taken on this brilliant steampunk adventure in 1880 Halifax, Novia Scotia. Issac Barrow is one of the last technomacers (magical abilities that affect technology or magical powers that are gained through the use of technology).Issac gives us some major Sherlock Holmes vibes. In a era where magic is a bit of taboo, its also very good and real in this story.

Dealing with Necromancy (the supposed practice of communicating with the dead, especially in order to predict the future), Issac Barrow goes on a adventure looking for Emily Skye. I find that if you enjoy magic and steampunk adventures this novel is for you. Especially with the chatter about different advanced gadgets. I'm looking forward to reading more from Carolan. He definitely has a way with descriptive words and telling a story. Thank you to the Parliament Press House for giving me a copy of the book for a honest review.
1 review
February 5, 2020
Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Add in a little technomancy, fascinating (and sometimes creepy!) locales, and the ominous Nightshade Cabal itself and you’ve got a story that pulls you in and won’t let go.
The plot moves quickly with many twists and turns that keep you turning pages long past your bedtime. The characters are wonderful with just enough mystery swirling around each of them to warrant many more books. I can’t wait to read more of Mr. Barrow’s adventures and learn more about his past.
Halifax may be the real star of this novel. The setting is rich and well-researched. I was able to effortlessly place myself in the world of this alternate 1881 Halifax, full of automatons and sorcery.
I’m excited for the next entry in this series and look forward to joining Mr. Barrow on many more adventures. Definitely a must-read.
Profile Image for Dan.
1 review
February 15, 2020
Technomancy, steampunk, magic, necromancy and mystery. What more could you want from Chris Patrick Carolan's debut novel The Nightshade Cabal? How about an 1880's Halifax described in such a way, that even though I've never been to Halifax, I can see the settings so cleanly and clearly, it's like being transported there.

What starts as a simple repair job and a missing person case, leads Isaac Barrow to the Nightshade Cabal, a sinister organization with insidious goals.

Chris expertly weaves a story of intrigue, magic, and humour leading to a satisfying conclusion that leaves the reader hoping for more adventures of this somewhat curmudgeonly technomancer.

I had never read a steampunk novel before the Nightshade Cabal, but this author's tale has made me a fan and I can't wait to read more from him.
Profile Image for J.M. Dover.
Author 4 books6 followers
January 25, 2020
The Nightshade Cabal instantly pulls you into an alternate version of 1880s Halifax with masterful descriptions full of detail and imagery. The author adds a cast of unique and colourful characters and a fast moving plot with layers of mystery to the amazing world building making this book a must read. There is also a surprise twist at the very end that adds to the enjoyment. I can’t wait for the next book from this author.
Profile Image for Megan Hinde.
Author 48 books7 followers
January 8, 2020
Chris Patrick Carolan’s debut novel The Nightshade Cabal pulls you into a dark, mysterious world of magic and lore. With Isaac Barrow leading you down into a familiar yet new world of 1880’s Halifax. Imagery that sucks you in drenched in rich detail and mystery, The Nightshade Cabal is a trip worth taking all the way to the end. I look forward to Chris Patrick Carolan’s next journey.
Profile Image for Kristal Turner.
128 reviews
February 15, 2022
Always been interested in Steam Punk, but haven’t read much in the genre. A good read from a local author. My only wish, deeper character development, but that’s more on my reading style than the writing.
Profile Image for Amber Spinella.
6 reviews2 followers
June 22, 2021
This book was entertaining and imaginative. I look forward to spending more time in the world Carolan has created!
Profile Image for Joel Peterson.
9 reviews
June 9, 2020
The Nightshade Cabal was my introduction to anything "steampunk", though I'd hate to pidgeonhole it within a particular genre because it felt so much larger than "just another" piece of genre fiction. Isaac Barrow as a character is instantly likable, with a clear Holmsian charm and an occasional Victorian humorlessness and an Oscar Wilde wit. He isn't perfect - he finds himself black, blue and scared on more than one occasion throughout the novel, and this makes him a stronger protagonist all around.

The Canadian alternate history setting shouldn't scare anyone away who is afraid of not understanding that particular geography - this is straight fiction, and though it uses locales familiar to the locals, it is not remotely alienating for those of us who are not deeply entrenched in Canadian history. It's concerns are far greater - magic, necromancy, demon summoning, fairies, weird technology, and a mixture of Edgar Allen Poe and Lovecraft horror elements (though the tone is decidedly light and frenetic throughout, never turning into full horror, but having a few creepy moments throughout for good measure.) and a steampunk car/carriage chase to boot.

Around the halfway point of the novel is where it shifts from the strong bedrock and makings of a whodunit, completely with time spent slinging whiskey in offices and interviewing people to address two primary mysteries; a missing person story, and a group of smugglers engaging in decidedly grisly business with a magicians drug (and other nastiness I won't spoil here) to a straight action adventure which speeds along to the end. But it's never boring - for God's sake, it begins with a magic show and a dragon being summoned into existence. But the quieter start allows the author to set up Barrow, his gruff police chief friend Eddings, and a cast of potential friends and villains, all of which are set up with pay off or resolution by the end. It gives us access to the underground laboratory of the technomancer Barrow, and puts the pieces in place for a string of continuing stories that I hope to one day also be able to binge watch on Netflix.

My first introduction to this genre exploded like a sack of gunpowder, and left me wanting more. By the end, the scaffolding is ready, the foundation solid, and if the author has plans to continue writing more books like this, then I plan to keep reading them.
Profile Image for Jennifer Rahn.
Author 12 books12 followers
June 27, 2020
This is the perfect steampunk mystery with all the elements and Victorian flavour you could want. A very satisfying read.
1 review
April 17, 2020
Great concept, great story.A remarkable and ingenious tale of a kind of magic the reader would not usually find.Makes me wonder if Isacc Barrow's own notes may exist in the Dresden files.Well done Chris,a truly excellent read...yours thankfully... Jimmy's boy.
Profile Image for Scott Bannick.
27 reviews
April 5, 2020
Full disclosure: I've known Chris for well over a decade through our shared experiences in retail hell. I was never very close with him, but I consider him a good person. I was hesitant to read his book like when someone you respect asks you to look at something they've created and you're afraid that it's going to suck and you'll have to find a creative way to lie about their creation. Plus, I have little knowledge of steampunk other than it seems pretty cool.

Thankfully, this book was quite enjoyable and awoke feelings of the Bioshock aesthetic in me. Kinda steampunk I guess. Chris created an alternate Halifax world that I'm interested in reading more stories about, and a great lead character whose adventures I want to experience further. It's exactly the kind of story that could launch a series and I hope Chris creates further Barrow chronicles.
1 review
April 3, 2020
An absolute fabulous read, cannot wait for a sequel to this. Chris you created a mysterious world I thoroughly enjoyed.
Profile Image for Celeste Peters.
Author 17 books3 followers
February 27, 2020
I had the pleasure of reading an early version of The Nightshade Cabal. What a ride!

Technomancer Isaac Barrow is forced to make full use of his mastery of magic-infused gadgetry as he attempts to reveal the insidious truth behind a new bit of technology on the market--one that asks him for help. In doing so, he is assisted from time to time by his good friend Inspector Jonathon Eddings and Emily Skye, a young woman with an urgent personal stake in solving the mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamic between Barrow and Eddings and had to chuckle at the unique challenges Emily threw into the works. I also quite enjoyed Victorian Halifax as a fresh new venue for the steampunk genre to explore. Great work, Chris!
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