Title: The Bridge of Dead Things
Author: Michael Gallagher
Publisher: Seventh Rainbow Publishing
Year Published: 2013
Format: E-Book (MOBI Arc Edition)
First Line: “ELIZA MAY BLAYLOCK! Stand up!”
Lizzie Blaylock is a young lady who discovers, quite by accident, that she is a conduit for the dead. Worse, she can’t control when or where the “bridge” will form. Set in the 1800s, Lizzy’s “talent” leads her to seances and sideshows while she tries not just to figure out how to control her new gift, but also what exactly the dead have gotten her mixed up in.
The development of the primary characters is quite enjoyable. Lizzie, specifically, has an interesting journey, although I do feel there were some non-essential elements utilized to “help” the reader empathize with her. In particular, the sassy, know-it-all attitude of Lizzie Blaylock is wonderfully done, and it is especially poignant when that, too, experiences change. There are a few important secondary characters who remain a bit steadfast even when confronted with a resolution, but it didn’t detract from the overall story.
Bridge is a quick read, and Mr. Gallagher’s pacing is outstanding. Even in the few description-heavy scenes, everything is essential and helps modify the tension. I didn’t read it in a single sitting, but I could easily have done so had I the time.
This is a terrific first book for Mr. Gallagher. It’s listed as aYA title, and I think that’s exactly where it belongs. It is an outstanding introduction to several genres that are traditionally set outside the realm of YA, the most significant of which is that of the gothic. Personally, I would have liked to see a slightly stronger focus on the gothic elements, but I’m not certain that would have rung true with the YA categorization. As it stands, it is more of a mystery and historical fiction novel than anything.
I’m looking forward to book 2 in the series (The Scarab Heart) to see where Mr. Gallagher takes young Lizzie.
On a side note, if you like this kind of story but prefer your fiction more on the adult side of things, you might enjoy Necroscope by Brian Lumley. It’s much closer to horror than Bridge, but it’s focus is on a young man who discovers he can converse with the dead. Written during the Cold War, Lumley incorporates much of the political climate into the novel. And now that I’ve thought about it, I think it’s time to read that particular story again. It’s one of my favorites.