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A Summer Must Read: “The Queen of the Insane Asylum”

As we plunge headlong into the hottest days of summer, it’s so important that we arm ourselves with the necessary tools to make it to Labor Day. What tools would those be, you ask? Well, there is the suntan lotion with SPF 2500, or if you prefer, a complete chemical and biological body protection garment for when you go to the beach.

But also, inside that bag; You must have a copy of “The Queen of Bedlam” by Robert McCammon.

Not being a literary guru and having barely passed every English course in my life, I don’t know much about writing. Yes, I know, you can tell. But I know a good storyteller when I read one. And Robert McCammon is a great storyteller.

I encountered him many years ago when I read his book, “Swan Song,” a story of good versus evil in a world devastated by a nuclear exchange. The story spanned the United States, and yet it always felt local. The plot was epic, but the subplots dealing with the main characters felt intimate, for lack of a better term. That book got me hooked on this writer.

Since then, I have read all his books. Like all great authors, in my opinion as it is, Robert brings us (me) into the story. His writing hooks me and makes me feel for the characters. The plot must be there, that being said, it’s the characters and their development within the plot that grabs me.

For a while, I just couldn’t find any new Robert books or stories. Then I saw a new title, “Speaks the Nightbird” Part I. It featured Matthew Corbett within a historical setting in late 17th century America. A woman is accused of being a witch and Corbett must investigate.

It’s a tremendous book with so many characters and so many subplots that I have no idea how Robert kept track of all the characters. I always assumed that Robert wrote in the horror/supernatural genre of books. I assumed this plot would fall into that genre. This book transcends that genre. It is a novel of suspense and intrigue. Yes, it’s about good versus evil, but all assumptions are twisted as the book slowly creeps towards its conclusion. It’s like a force of nature.

It’s a damn good book.

Matthew Corbett continues his journey from “Nightbird” to his date with “The Queen of Bedlam”. Once again, Robert McCammon shows his versatility and his incredible talent by crossing genres directly into a thriller.

This page turner is set in early 18th century Manhattan. There’s a serial killer on the loose and Matthew must find him. The book then transforms into a rich character journey, hairpin twists, unexpected surprises, and plenty of “wow, who would have thought that?”

For a hot, lazy day on that beach, this book will engage your mind and imagination. Your greatest challenge will be not to forget that you are baking under a tortuous sun while reading this wonderful novel.

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