Steel Ashes
by Karen Rose Cercone
Review by Sasha Riley and Ann Cecil


Steel Ashes is a very well written mystery novel that captures the feel of 1905 very well. The story is simple, but in its pages you will find many twists and turns. You may think it is boring at the beginning, but don't get discouraged, just keep reading. Not everything or everyone is as it seems.


The feel of old Pittsburgh -- both the physical sights and the flavor of the town, the politics and the union problems, the mixture of ethnic groups, all are captured very well in this book. They form a distinct and pleasant background, adding to the mystery and romance -- because this book has a very pleasant romantic angle -- that make this book a delight to read. My only quibble is with the 'mystery' - I confess I guessed early on what misdirection we were taking, but the local flavor and the wonderful characters kept me reading.

Our heroine is a feminist in old Pittsburgh, who lives with a quirky brother and has an aunt that has to be believed. Our hero is an immigrant's son, battling prejudice against his (concealed) background. In spite of their differences, the characters quickly begin to respect each other's tenacity, wit, and independence of spirit. The genuine depth of the characters and the believability of their developing relationship is particularly attractive and refreshing. I found this pair much, much more appealing and realistic than Anne Perry's popular odd couple (to note the competition).

The mystery involves steel mills (surprise!), mill workers, tenements, libraries, and a very odd political group. Oh, yes, and a funky priest who is not keeping his vows like he should. (editorial comment inserted by Sasha). Altogether a Good Read and Highly Recommended.

Sasha wants to know when is the NEXT ONE COMING OUT?

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