We first meet Alec Halsey in Lucinda Brant’s Deadly Engagement, where he investigates the death of a friend, and then again in Deadly Affair, with another murder and a mystery. Now, Alec is dealing with something completely different – his diplomatic past and the imprisonment and torture of his good friend Sir Cosmo Mahon and the young Emily St. Neots. Picking up basically right where the previous book left off, the reader follows Alec into Midanich, a small Germanic principality at civil war and ruled by madness, both in its populace and its Margrave.
Alec packs up immediately and, along with his love, Selina, uncle, aunt and assorted servants, heads out to the one place he wanted to never to see again. His past has definitely come back to haunt him, and now not only does he have to face it, he has to tell Selina about it as well. And, considering exactly what that past entails, it isn’t surprising that it’s basically his biggest secret that’s barging its way back into his life.
First of all, if you’ve never listened to an audiobook by Alex Wyndham, drop what you’re doing, and try him out. His voice is fabulous, his differentiation between characters spot-on, and his pacing is perfect. The only bad thing I can say about him is that I find him relaxing. I couldn’t listen to this in the car, because it was relaxing me too much! But that’s it. He so much more than narrates this book – he truly performs the story.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the book. Overall, I found Deadly Peril to be quite dark. We’re in a place that is experiencing civil war, fully evident with the numerous guards and the danger to Alec and his party. I absolutely fell in love with Alec, who is smart and charming, and has a mysteriously dark past. There is a perfect amount of angst as Alec deals with his past and has to dive in head first to confront it. Love it!
Unlike the two previous novels, this feels less like a mystery and more like a historical thriller. There’s no death to investigate, or problem to solve; Alec has to handle a diplomatic emergency, and free Cosmo and Emily. There are, however, some amazing twists to the story itself that keep things interesting and the setting is absolutely perfect, with the dreary winter matching the depressed population of the area. Everything works together brilliantly, from the characters to the setting.
The thing is, I feel like not a whole lot happened for a good portion of the story. There’s very little sense of urgency, even with the glimpses of what’s happening to Cosmo in Castle Herzfeld. We still end up spending the vast majority of the time traveling to Midanich, dealing with the guards, rescuing a young deaf girl and her grandfather, and staying in town. There’s even enough time for Selina and Alec to work out their issues and become closer as a couple. As much as I loved seeing that, I couldn’t help but think about poor Cosmo, imprisoned and slowly going insane.
If I had been reading Deadly Peril instead of listening to it, I probably would have plowed straight through it. Maybe it would have felt like there was more action. But not listening to Alex Wyndham is simply not an option for me, not anymore. I definitely want to go and listen to the first two titles in the series now, just to get more of the narrator. And of Alec Halsey. He’s pretty wonderful, too.
Grade: Narration – A Content – B
Unabridged. Length 11 hours 41 minutes.