Book Review: The Big Cinch
Reviewed by Chika Anene
A dark paranormal twist on 1920s St. Louis
Sean Joye, a young Irish war veteran of the Irish Civil War, has been on the run from his magical abilities since he left Ireland.
He is cursed with “the Sight” and sees spirits and other paranormal entities. And he suspects one of them, a faerie named Éire, has followed him all the way from Ireland to St. Louis.
As he does his best to lay low, Mrs. MacSweeney, an elderly lady who also has the Sight, recognizes him. She too is trying to escape “The Good People,” as Sean calls them, by drinking hard liquor every chance she gets.
Before Sean knows it, his interest in an old Mississippian artifact, the mystery of a kidnapped child, and some sexual escapades all get him on the wrong side of St. Louis’s most prominent people.
I am a sucker for historical fiction set in the 1920s, so throw in some urban fantasy twists, and you’ve got me antsy to crack this thing open. It’s clear from the beginning that the author is a gifted writer too. The first few pages of The Big Cinch had me deeply invested.
This novel has many layers. The background story about the lost Mississippi artifacts and the story of the missing child are mysterious and executed increasingly well.
Sean’s sexual urges, however, can occasionally feel like diversions from bigger storylines, such as the ghosts haunting St. Louis. This feels particularly true in relation to the little development of a male romantic interest later on.
What’s cool about the sexuality here is that the main character’s sudden attractions are linked to the spiritual plane, and there are even mentions of spells and witchcraft, but I do wonder if they could have been explored more.
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Big Cinch. Some characters, like MacSweeney, are especially memorable and funny. This book reads like nothing I’ve ever read before. The great writing and description really make it stand out among other books set in the same time-period. It is a great pick for anyone interested in a dark urban fantasy with inspiration from the 1920s.
Publisher: Montag Press
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy / Urban Fantasy / Historical Fiction
Print Length: 352 pages
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