Time for my stop on another of The Write Reads blog tours! This is the second tour recently of a book by the author Josie Jaffery. Only a few weeks ago, we were covering her book May Day. Unfortunately I was too unwell to join in on my allocated day but there are plenty of posts out there about it, and I’ll be coming back to it when I’m feeling more like myself again, because I’m certainly not going to miss out on Josie’s writing!
The Wolf and The Water is a historical fiction murder mystery, with a disabled female lead, so I was immediately giving thumbs up for representation. Kala is suddenly thrust into a position where she questions everything she’s ever been told when her father dies suspiciously. With the family dog dead at his feet with the same leaves in his mouth, Kala quickly comes to the obvious conclusion: poison. However, the person implicated is the city high priest, and as a disabled girl, she is already low on the pecking order. To accuse the priest outright would be dangerous. Instead, Kala goes about investigating as much as she can, while trying not to get caught up in the distractions around her. When the investigation starts to threaten her life, she knows she must be close, and what she discovers is horrifying. But then she is faced with the ultimate decision: share what she knows and put herself in more danger, or keep it to herself, and abandon him to his fate along with the rest of the city…
The story is set in an Ancient Greek-inspired setting, and before I really launch into my review, I want to thank Josie for the fact that she included detailed content warnings at the very back of the book, with acknowledgment of them at the beginning. These are slowly becoming more common in books, but trigger warnings or content warnings need to be more mainstream. Especially as a disabled person where the word ‘cripple’ is used (a word I have personally reclaimed, but nevertheless), it was good to be prewarned.
The beginning of the book contains a map and a list of the dignitaries for the set up of the city, and this is just the start where it comes to world building. There has been a lot of thought, effort, and concern gone into creating a world where there are rules and rituals, both of which need to be followed without delay. I always admire strong world building and the fact that the author manages to do most of it just at the beginning of the book is even more impressive.
I love a good murder mystery and this one really is a book to sink your teeth into. Although it is on the shorter side where crime fiction is concerned, there is plenty of twists and turns to be getting on with. The array of characters are well developed, from the good to the bad, and the cast of regular contact characters make the story what it is. Kala as a lead is superb and does everything within her power to unravel what is going on, and then does her best to help when she understands.
It’s a book driven by high emotions of all kinds, and with both love and hate in its pages, it makes an intriguing read. The book is out now in paperback, and is the first in the its series. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.
My thanks to Josie for my signed ARC, and to The Write Reads for arranging such a successful tour (as always!)