Robert McCammon -The Queen of Bedlam – Genre Busting

Back in the 1980s one of the stars of horror writing was Robert McCammon. Boy’s Life, Mine, Stinger, Gone South, Swan Song, and Wolf’s Hour are just of few of his better known works from that era.  McCammon wanted to push out in new directions outside of horror but his publisher balked at the idea.  Fed up with the business side of writing McCammon walked away from writing for over a decade.

In 2002 McCammon came back with a historical mystery/murder tale set in Colonial America circa 1699.    Matthew Corbett is McCammon’s newest character and from the clip below, he has big plans for the character – a 10 book series!

I have not had the opportunity to read the first book – Speaks the Nightingale but have just finished the second book in the series – The Queen of Bedlam(TQOB).  I will definitely be picking up the first book.   Not a fan of historical based fiction but reading TQOB is an engaging mix of Dickensian drama with engaging characters.  The tone of the books is in line with McCammon’s other works and Matthew Corbett is very much on a hero’s journey.  Big stakes are setup by the end of the book. Corbett has faced many challenges already and his actions throughout the book leave this rookie sleuth making decisions about his future that include personal sacrifices.

Corbett discovers and crosses paths with a criminal organization.  An organization based in London and looking for new opportunities of expansion.  At the head of this organization is a mysterious figure; the deliciously named Professor Fell.  A confrontation between the two is inevitable and is probably several volumes away.   I am assuming the first book is an origination story.  TQOB is the setup book for what looks like a vast, sprawling adventure.

Each book, so far, has pushed over 650 pages which McCammon uses to great effect to flesh out the world and the characters that inhabit it.  He does so masterfully for never does the story drag or did I feel it becoming a chore to read through.

If anything I wanted more!


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