We’re back on the rain-drenched moors and the rugged, forbidding coastline of Somerset for the second Shaman Mystery by Nina Milton; Unraveled Visions. One of the many things that draws me to read these books and that keeps me looking out for them, is the brilliantly described landscapes, both of Somerset and of the shamanic otherworld – the place shamans go in when they’re in a trance.
As with number one of the series, In the Moors, which I reviewed for SkyLightRain on its release, I was hooked from the first page, a tense description of the body of an unknown young woman being winched up from her watery grave in a silted gravel pit on the River Parrett.
Like In the Moors, Unraveled Visions is a mystical thriller; a whodunit with supernatural undertones, but it still feels very much of the real world, because shamans are part of the alternative therapy community all over Britain and the US, as well as in traditional communities.
Sabbie Dare is twenty-nine, of mixed race and a shaman who uses broadening-of-consciousness techniques to help her clients. Some months after the discovery of the dead woman in the gravel pit, she’s at the Bridgwater Carnival, where, under cover of the traditional squib fireworks, a detective on that case is shot in the head. On the night of the shooting, a Romany woman reads Sabbie’s palm, and foretells danger.
When the palmist goes missing, her teenaged sister enlists the shaman’s assistance. Sabbie discovers the Bulgarian Romanies have been conned into working for an unscrupulous fast food trader. With her good heart ruling her head, she soon becomes caught up.
Sabbie employs rituals to find symbolic clues–but she also uses down-to-earth sleuthing. She takes an undercover job at the shady take away, and discovers the owners are engaged in illegal activities that present dangerous ramifications for Sabbie.
Milton’s books are always enriched by parallel plots. I loved Drea and Andy; a couple who have fallen into the clutches of a cult run by a very sleazy minister, the links with this story and that of the Romanies makes the book a satisfyingly complex read.
Injustice always motivates Sabbie to take action, and as she moves closer and closer to several shades of danger, the novel didn’t leave my side, even secreted at my work desk…please don’t tell my boss!
Sabbie is the product of a troubled interracial couple and she grew up in foster care, so courage runs through her veins and an impassioned nature rules her heart–something that attracts Detective Inspector Rey Buckley to her. There’s a bit more romance in this book as the two hook up, but Nina Milton skillfully integrates the love interest with the tense drama and the mystic elements to make Unraveled Visions a beautifully written and absorbing tale with a fast-and-getting-faster-pace.
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