The debut novel, The Hanged Man, in Astrid Fiano’s intended “Gabriel’s World” series follows private investigator Gabriel Ross through a case that involves the ongoing influence of a secret Nazi occult society in financial positions of power around the world more than 50 years after the end of WWII.
The hero of the story, Gabriel, is well developed by Fiano. He’s a gay New Yorker who is obviously well educated in a liberal arts sense, especially with regard to literature, and who is also a student of Buddhism. Too, his friends and his love interest(s) are well developed. We also get a slate of villains we can picture vividly but the true identity of one of the key players on the side of evil in the story is never actually revealed…maybe in a future book?
This is a lengthy story – but don’t let the page count (480 pages) fool you. This is typeset double spaced. Still, I found it to be a bit slow moving to start but, overall, given the character development done, it was worth it. I did enjoy it. The plot flowed well and the pacing picked up by the middle of the book. As Astrid Fiano moves into other books involving Gabriel, I would hope the focus turns quickly to the meat of the story and not so heavily on additional character development similar to other LGBT and mainstream mystery/detective series. The only other bone I have to pick with it, besides the early pacing, is a noted lack of proof reading. While the spelling and typing errors were not overwhelming, they were occasionally annoying.
There’s a blurb at the back of the book that states that “Gabriel Ross returns in Two-Faced Woman.” It would seem that Fiano’s second novel will follow a completely different story. The door has been left open – just a crack – in this book to pick up the thread of this story and continue with it further. I, for one, would be interested in seeing it play out more but don’t take that as dissatisfaction from me over the outcome of The Hanged Man. The main plot was tied up nicely.
Astrid Fiano writes from what she knows. Her personal background is all over this story. That’s a good thing! Overall, I find this to be an admirable first effort that deserves more attention than it’s gotten since its May publication. I definitely encourage giving it a “shot”.