Title: The Dead Travel Fast
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Release Date: March 1, 2010
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5
Theodora Lestrange only wants to marry for love, and would rather be a spinster than accept anything less. She lives with her sister’s family in Edinburgh, conscious she is a burden on their family but unable to accept the proposal of a man she doesn’t love. She is relieved to find an escape in an invitation from an old friend who lives in a castle in the Carpathian mountains. Theodora flees to Transylvania, only to discover she is surrounded by old myths and legends come alive.
I am a huge fan of Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey series (reviews of Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary, and Silent on the Moor), so I was really excited to discover that Raybourn had a new novel coming out. I love the way Raybourn mixes strong, capable women with creepy and atmospheric gothic mysteries. I knew the fact that this book was set in Transylvania meant I was in for a treat.
The Dead Travel Fast is an incredibly haunting and creepy mystery that I really enjoyed. The reader (like the narrator, Theodora) is never entirely sure what is going on. There is a hint of the supernatural that seems to lurk behind everything in the story. Things that would never have been believable in stodgy Edinburgh are completely conceivable in mysterious Transylvania. I loved Raybourn’s descriptions of the castle, the town, and the people. It was an amazing setting, and the mystery was very gripping.
Theodora was a very interesting character, but wasn’t as well-developed as I would have hoped. Indeed, I didn’t quite understand the main relationship in this novel. I just couldn’t understand what they saw in each other or why they were so insanely attracted to one another. Part of that might be because my expectations were so high after the Lady Julia Grey series – after all, Julia and Brisbane are an amazing pair, but Raybourn has had three books to flesh their characters out!
That’s not to say that the book isn’t enjoyable, because it really is. I did love how Theodora evolved as a character. At the beginning of The Dead Travel Fast, she hoped to marry for love, but considered marriage for convenience. After she experienced a taste of love, she knew she could not go back. She was an appealing main character, and I’d love to revisit her and learn more about her in a sequel.
If you’re a fan of gothic mysteries, I highly recommend The Dead Travel Fast. All of Deanna Raybourn’s novels are fun and well-written with gripping mysteries, and this novel is no exception!