Rating: 4.25 stars
When Mikal Gray discovers that his boyfriend is cheating on him, the results are devastating. It costs Mikal not only the man he thought he loved, but his home and his job as he had worked as his partner’s business manager in their restaurant. And it evens costs Mikal, their annual summer vacation spot on Fire Island. Mikal can’t even begin to concieve of spending his month avoiding their mutual friends and watching or watching his ex hook up, so he decides to rent a house in the opposite direction. Mikal figures this way he will have a home for the summer while he figures out what to do next.
His realtor tells him that the 1800’s farmstead on the Hudson would be the perfect place for him. Quiet, charming, near the water, everything Mikal could want except for one little thing she must mention. It is already occupied by a ghost. Not believing her, Mikal signs the papers and steps into a old tragedy that will cut close to his heart and a ghost who needs his help. With his friend Alice, and a handsome ghost hunter named Seth, Mikal sets out to unravel the mystery of the weeping man of New Paltz.
A Silence Kept is a short supernatural mystery, only 80 pages, but it has the feel of a much longer story. Theo Fenraven does a remarkable job of letting the reader step onto the farm and into the mystery along side Mikal, our narrator. This is such an intimate way to tell a story and when it is done well, as it is here, it brings with it the closest connection a reader can feel with the main character. Mikal is deeply hurt by his lover’s betrayal. He had thought that they would make it last so everything he had was tied into the relationship and his partner. They worked together at his boyfriend’s restaurant, Mikal as his business manager, they lived and vacationed as an established couple. Now all of that is lost and Mikal is left to mourn and try to figure out how to move on. I don’t know anyone who has not gone through this brutal event, it hurts and its devastating in that the loss goes beyond the death of love into other areas of the person’s life. Fenraven gets that and puts all that pain and heartache into Mikal, but not without a dash of humor thrown in:
“But we were exclusive,” I shot back. “We were together three years, and you threw that away for some twink who can’t even make radish roses. Are you insane?”
“I’m in love with him,” he sniffed, running a hand through his close-cropped hair. “It happens.”
I stared at him, remembering how that gesture used to turn me on. I remembered a lot of things in that moment, and some of them were pretty good. Like the time he’d made me chicken soup when I’d been down for two days with a nasty cold. Or the time he’d bought expensive tickets to a concert I’d really wanted to see. The night he told me he loved me, and then went on to prove it three times. How he smelled right after a shower. How he smelled when he hadn’t had one in a few hours, which was even better.
We had history, damn it. We’d created a life together. For a moment—just a moment—I almost relented. The thought of starting all over again with someone new made me want to curl up in bed and sleep until the next millennium.
That sounds so real, including that bit about the radish rose, human and oh so authentic. Mikal is a fully rounded human being, he sounds like one and acts that way too. As do all the characters in this story, all alive and multilayered. I loved one, each and every one. And Fenraven’s gift of creating moving characters does not stop with the living, but extends to the dead and ghostly as well.
The painful backstory of the ghost is quite literally a haunting one. It will hit close to home for Mikal and for the reader as well. I love the supernatural touches that Fenraven uses to introduce the ghost into the story, the blasts of cold air, and moving rocker, and more. But those little chills are best left for the reader to discover on their own.
My only issue with this story is the resolution at the end. At 80 pages, I felt it was a little rushed and wished for a longer ending. But my quibble aside, I loved this story. It intrigued me as the mystery was so well done and it left me satisfied at the end. I wouldn’t mind seeing more stories of Seth and Mikal sometime in the future, they make a great pair. I highly recommend this for all you lovers of romance and tales of the supernatural. Within these pages, you will find both lovingly accomplished.
Kindle Edition, 80 pages
Published February 28th 2013 by Voodoo Lily Press (first published September 12th 2011)