It’s a real delight today to share my review of Roots of Corruption by Laura Laakso – the latest book in her Wilde Investigations series, published on 26th March by Louise Walters Books. You can buy your kindle version (and paperback) from Amazon – but if you’re looking for the paperback, why not buy it direct from Louise Walters Books (postage is free). My thanks to Louise for my reading e-copy – she already knows how much I’m loving this series!
If you haven’t yet discovered the series, you can buy all three books in paperback as a box set direct from the publisher (with free postage): all three books will be signed by Laura, and sent with an exclusive story featuring Lady Bergamon, as well as a piece of Laura’s original art inspired by her books. I’ve read, loved and reviewed both the earlier books: you’ll find my review of Fallible Justice here, and of Echo Murder here.
My apologies to Laura and Louise that it’s taken me so long to write this review – I read the book back in March, just before the world changed, and I hit a bit of a wall with writing reviews for a little while. I spotted a tweet from Louise saying how fitting it was to be publishing this familiar-yet-strange novel in these similar days… but Laura’s Wilde Investigations series will most certainly provide a unique and unforgettable experience.
On the night of Samhain, the veil between worlds is at its thinnest, and ancient magic runs wild in Old London.
When Lady Bergamon is attacked in her Ivy Street garden, Wishearth turns to Yannia Wilde for help. Who could have the power to harm Lady Bergamon in her own domain? While Yannia searches for the answer, nature herself appears to be killing Mages in Old London. Yannia and Karrion join forces with New Scotland Yard to solve the baffling Mage deaths. But wherever they turn, all the clues point back towards Ivy Street.
Yannia’s abilities are put to the test as she races to save Lady Bergamon’s life, and prevent further murders. But with the lines between friends and enemies blurring, she must decide who to trust and how much she’s willing to sacrifice for Old London and its inhabitants…
The third book in Laura Laakso’s brilliant Wilde Investigations series.
It always makes me smile that this series is described as “for lovers of fantasy and crime” – I’m emphatically neither, but I’m absolutely blown away by this series. And although I loved the first two books, I thought this latest was totally stunning.
The world that the author builds with such extraordinary imagination and originality is now wholly familiar to me – Old London and its magical inhabitants, the structure of its society, its justice systems, the wild folk, shamen, heralds and paladins. But this time, its stability and very existence is under severe threat – and Yannia and Karrion are inexorably drawn in to detect the culprits, to stop the rot, and to ensure the worst fate imaginable doesn’t come to pass. And the story moves into yet another dimension, a much wider canvas – into the Unseen Lands, whence no mortal ever returns unharmed.
I’m very conscious that this book is many, many miles apart from my usual reading – but in many ways it really isn’t. All the boldly drawn characters I love are here – albeit that they might feel the pull of the wild, borrow the senses of nearby creatures, shape-shift, or have conversations with birds. The central relationships are wonderfully handled too – Yannia’s concern for Lady Bergamon and her closeness to Wisheart, her interactions with the human police force, but most specially the depth of her relationship with Karrion that I found very moving indeed.
The quality of the writing really is astounding – descriptions that call on all the senses, that you feel at your core, images that sear themselves indelibly in your own imagination. But there are lovely touches of humour too, often drawn from the weaknesses the magical ones share with their human counterparts. And this is also an incredibly gripping story – filled with threat and danger, with some heart-stopping moments, as the tension and threat cranks up to almost unbearable levels.
When I read Fallible Justice, I declared that it was one of the best books I’d read that year – I think this one is even better. Can you read it as a standalone? Yes, you probably can – but if I were you, I’d read the series from the start, immerse yourself in Yannia’s world, follow all the twists and turns, get to know the characters and understand the relationships. If you don’t find the whole experience as wonderful as I have, I’ll be very surprised indeed.
About the author
Laura is a Finn who has spent most of her adulthood in England. Writing and storytelling has always been an integral part of her life, but it was turning thirty that led her to pursue a career in writing seriously. When she is not writing or working in her day job as an accountant, she is training and competing with her two dogs.
Laura’s debut novel Fallible Justice was published in November 2018, the first in the paranormal crime series Wilde Investigations. The follow up, Echo Murder, was published in June 2019: her third novel Roots of Corruption is now available, published on 26th March 2020.
Laura tweets @LLaaksoWriter and her website is here.