The Mussorgsky Riddle

When Curiosity Quills Press (an awesome name for a publisher, by the way) approached me to review some of their titles, I figured it was going to be yet another set of boring non-fiction books. I paged through their website and found the most amazing and original book blurbs I have ever seen. They recommended I try The Mussorgsky Riddle by Darin Kennedy so I did.  Boy, am I glad I agreed to read this!

The Mussorgsky Riddle is a paranormal crime thriller. (Yes, I know that sounds odd. Keep with me.) Mira Tejedor is a psychic. But not your run-of-the-mill psychic. While she can get visions and vibes off of people or objects, her specialty lies in knowing peoples emotions. People emit scents when they have strong feeling and Mira picks up on them. So, for example, a vinegar smell means that someone is mad while an black pepper smell means they are defensive. She can use this knowledge to help her clients. 

No, Mira isn't a cop. She's a bit more like a private investigator. In this particular case, Caroline Faircloth has hired her to figure out why her son, Anthony, suddenly went into a coma-like state. He doesn't talk to anyone; he barely responds to touch; he doesn't do anything. None of the doctors or psychiatrists can figure out what is wrong. Caroline is hoping that Mira can. 

Despite Dr. Thomas Archer's, Anthony's psychiatrist, protests, Mira takes a trip into Anthony's mind to find the problem. What she finds is an exhibition of paintings. The characters within the paintings come to life to help (or hinder) her journey through Anthony's mind. 

Meanwhile, Mira finds out that Julianna Wagner, the girlfriend of Anthony's older brother, went missing at exactly the same time that Anthony's problems began. Figuring that the two cases were linked, Mira offers to help the police solve their case while working on her own. Little did she know what she was getting into!

I loved this book. When I first read the blurb, I was intrigued at the difference between Kennedy's psychic and every other psychic character. Mira may have psychic powers but there is no "I have a vision!" type scenes. Every time she has to tell someone about what she has seen inside Anthony's mind, it is almost always prefaced with "Remember, I saw this in a kid's mind so no one is going to believe it." She is a breath of fresh air in the paranormal world.

Another big plus was the inclusion of Modest Mussorgsky's classical music. Mussorgsky was a Russian classical composer in the mid- to late-1800s. All of the scenes in Anthony's mind revolve around his Pictures at an Exhibition piano suite. There are 10 movements in the piece and each corresponds with a painting in Anthony's mind. It was a clever way to give some depth and realness to the world inside someone's head. The best part is that the whole thing came together beautifully. It never felt forced or fake. 

Riddle never jams the paranormal stuff down your throat. I'm pretty sure that everyone, even if you don't like paranormal or science fiction type books, will enjoy reading this. It's just a good crime novel. And if the other titles at Curiosity Quills are anything like this, I may have to figure out how to get more hours in a day so I can read them all. 

I received this product for free in exchange for this review. All opinions contained within are my own.