Published by Voyager - AU on February 1st 2016
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal
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Bestselling author Traci Harding moves into commercial fiction with a story of intrigue and deception. A bitter writer, an enthusiastic protege and a story that must be told.
Peter is a young nurse and aspiring author whose professional dreams have come true - a patient in his care, Penelope, needs someone to transcribe her final story. Revolving around four friends sharing an apartment where they hone their artistic and musical skills, Peter soon realises there is more to the story - another presence is lurking in the building, an intriguing, creative, temperamental force that goes by the name Em Jewel. When tragedy strikes, Peter and his charming co-worker Gabrielle must finish Penelope's story before it ruins both their lives. With the help of a motley group of authors, Peter and Gabrielle are swept up into a world of art, intrigue and deception. They must choose whether to follow their heads or their hearts - with life-altering consequences.
A musician, an artist, an author and a dancer walk into an apartment… It’s a story that elderly author Penelope feels compelled to tell, and she enlists nurse and aspiring writer, Peter, to help her do just that. But when Peter begins to delve into research for the novel, the truth is so much stranger than it first seems.
The Storyteller’s Muse weaves three stories together: The main “meta” story with Penelope dictating her latest story to Peter and Gabrielle, Penelope’s fictional story featuring the four artistic friends and their haunted apartment, then the third story about what really happened in the apartment to make it haunted in the first place. It sounds complicated, but actually the elements flow into each other quite well and are made obvious by the inkwell image at the start and end of each section.
Penelope’s mentorship of Peter gives an interesting opportunity for Traci to impart some of her advice for writing, editing and publishing throughout this story. I get the feeling that some of the personalities here might be based on real-world members of the publishing community, Aussie or otherwise! It was a little strange to have such straight-forward advice included in a murder-mystery book, but it works.
The gradual revelation of different aspects of each story give The Storyteller’s Muse a really good pace, although I did kind of rush through the parts with Peter and Gabrielle to get to the next part of Em’s story. I have to say that the ending had me on the edge of my seat and thinking I might have to go back and revisit some of Traci’s previous books!
The one reservation I had with this book was rather a large one – Peter’s story. Everything just fell into place for him – the opportunity to work with Penelope, he got the girl, the opportunities through Penelope’s agent and her famous author friends, plus all the other things laid at his feet, and he hadn’t even written anything yet! I’m not an expert in the publishing world, but I’m pretty sure most authors need to work a whole lot harder than that to get their recognition and the life they always dreamed of.
In any case, I did enjoy delving down into the mystery of 4 Kismet Way and gradually discovering more about Em Jewel’s legacy. I’ve also tucked all the writing advice from this one away for future reference!
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