Evie O’Neill got into a little trouble in Ohio so her parents have sent her to New York to live with her uncle Will. Will is the currator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult or as it is known The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. Evie is your typical flapper girl of the 1920s. She likes to dance and drink and go to parties. She is selfish and self-centered, but does truly care about her friends and family. Evie is settling into life in New York when her uncle is asked to consult on a grisly murder. Of course Evie helps out. The murders are dubbed the Pentacle killings and they just keep piling up. The police are at a loss and all the clues Will and Evie come up with lead to a man who was hanged 50 years before.
Evie also has a secret. She can read objects and tell you about yourself. She is a diviner. We meet other diviners in New York. Memphis is a numbers runner and a poet who also had the ability to heal people with his touch. His brother Isaiah can see the future and has visions. Theta is a Ziegfield Girl who has a mysterious past and power. She lives with Henry who has another undisclosed secret. The only non-diviner of the bunch is Mabel, Evie’s best friend and the daughter of political activists. These characters’ stories intertwined through friendships, family and chance meetings. It seems they will all have a part to play in the coming days but what that part is no one knows.
I have mixed feeling about this book. I really enjoyed the world and the setting of it. I think the 1920s are a fascinating time in history and New York at that time even more so. I also love the mix of the supernatural with the historical. I think Evie is a wonderful character. She is so very real with all her flaws and her ambitions. I also really enjoyed all the other characters; I found them interesting and wanted to know more about them. I also thought the murderer and his history was a nice twist.
The issue I had with the book was that it was so unwieldy. There are almost 600 long pages to this story and I feel like it could have really been pared down. I know this is the introductory novel for the series and most of it was really setting up the characters and the world. However, the primary story was the Pentacle Killer and that had nothing to do with a lot of the characters. It was really Evie’s story. While I found Memphis, Theta and Henry interesting there story really had nothing to do with the main plot. I feel like we got WAY too much info on them when that could have been saved for future books where they play a bigger role. Because of all the extra character information it almost seemed like the murders took a backseat at times. There was a lot of info dumping that wasn’t woven into the story as well as it could be and a lot of point of view skipping around that really didn’t seem necessary even if it was enjoyable. Basically I think some editing would have done wonders for the book.