In 1843, young journalist Walt Whitman becomes involved in the investigation of a series of murders after his friend is murdered and his wife, Lena, is wrongfully convicted. When Walt isn’t able to uncover the truth in time to save Lena from execution, he is driven to get to the bottom of the murders. It quickly becomes clear that these deaths are just the tip of the iceberg in a tale that involves political cover-ups, grave robbing, and the outcry over women studying to become doctors. Speakers of the Dead takes the reader on a journey that twists and turns and rushes along at break-neck speed through a New York City where no one is exactly as they seem, especially Whitman. Sanders flawlessly integrates his original characters and story into the lives of real people (Whitman, Elizabeth Blackwell, and others) and events of the time. This is historical fiction at its best; the reader finishes having learned about a specific place and time and the way in which the inhabitants navigated their world.
Fans of Caleb Carr’s Alienist series or anyone who loves a good historical mystery will be waiting with bated breath for the next book in this exciting new series.
Reviewed by Portia Kapraun