Title: The Silver Mark
Author: Sarah Painter
Genre: Urban fantasy
Rating: 5 Stars
“London is Lydia Crow’s city so when a man is found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge, she takes it personally.
Driven by her desire to improve her fledgling P.I. skills and an innate sense of justice, Lydia investigates. Even when it seems as if the Silver Family might be involved, Lydia refuses to back down.
The Silver Family, who run the finest law firm in London, have a gift for persuasion. In the Bad Old Days it was said they could make a man jump off a roof by convincing him he could fly. But that’s all in the past… Isn’t it?
Everybody wants something from Lydia: Her Uncle Charlie wants her to join the infamous Family Business, her ghostly flatmate wants her to test her power, DCI Fleet wants a relationship, and the Silver Family want her to keep her nose out.
Trouble is, Lydia has never been much good at taking orders. And London in a heatwave is a dangerous place to be…“
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Why did it take me so long to read this book?
I reviewed book one in the Crow Investigations series way back when. Review for The Night Raven is here if you’re interested. Book one was amazing and Sarah Painter instantly become one of my favourite authors but for one reason or another I just didn’t carry on the series. My brain has a lot to answer for.
Lydia Crow, despite her wishes in The Night Raven, has decided to stay in London to establish her own PI business. Still fairly new to the industry, especially on her own, Lydia takes on every case that comes her way. But she’s looking for more challenging mysteries.
When a dead body is found hanging from Blackfriar’s bridge, she immediately turns to her contact and would-be boyfriend DC Fleet for information. The more she looks into the mystery, the more she realises that one of the most powerful magical families in London might be involved. The Silvers and the Crows, historically, have mostly been allies, but the more Lydia investigates, the more strained their relationship becomes.
Not only that, but her ghostly roommate is miraculously becoming a lot less ghostly in Lydia’s presence. Her long dormant powers, which she is still learning about, are to blame and Jason is determined to know what her unravelling powers mean for him. Throw in a tentative “will they, won’t they” between Lydia and Fleet and you’ve got a real page-turner!
As ever, Lydia is a really likeable, low-key sassy and brazen main protagonist. She doesn’t mind getting under people’s skin and sometimes, she aims for it. What frustrated me was her reluctance to get together with Fleet because he quite clearly has deep feelings for her. I get it, because her line of work and his clash a lot and keeping things professional means Lydia gets to keep her contact without things getting messy. Needless to say, there’s a whole bunch of sexual tension. I’m rooting for them!
What really piqued my interest in this book besides the intense elements of mystery was Lydia’s evolving powers. She can see ghosts and can clearly give them some material substance (for lack of a better description), now that Jason can pick up pens and finally write for the first time in 30 years. (Something which is making him a much saner ghostly roommate). I really want to know where this leads in future books – thank goodness I have book three already.
As with The Night Raven, this book has some really dark undertones. In no small part because of the mob boss situation with Lydia’s uncle Charlie and the dark details her father drops in his state of dementia. But that’s what I love about the Crow Investigations books, they can be so light-hearted in places and so normal. In others, they drag you down into the dark underbelly of society that you know is there but like to forget about.
I love the magic system in this series, too. It has no real manner of being controlled, it’s all dependent on instincts and emotions, which is why Lydia struggles to understand hers. That said, I’m hoping to see more magic in action later on in the series. As this book ended on a small cliffhanger, I don’t think it’ll be long until I find out!
The Silver Mark has definitely earned its recommended reads seal!
If not, check out my review of The Night Raven and see what you think. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, this series is one worth starting!
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!