The Dead of False Creek (Journal Through Time Mysteries #1) by Sarah M. Stephen

‘What was the journal a sign of?’

A nineteenth century detective, a twenty-first century archivist and a journal which connects them.

In 1897, Detective Jack Winston is trying to find a missing man. In 2017, Riley Finch is working as a museum archivist in Vancouver, cataloguing police files from the nineteenth century. She comes across Jack Winston’s journal.

The story unfolds in alternate chapters: Jack trying to solve a missing person case which, when a body is found, could be an accidental death or might be murder. And Jack discovers that more than one man has disappeared. Riley is torn between her work as an archivist and a desire to research the cases Jack is investigating. Somehow, the diary enables them to communicate with each other. Neither Jack nor Riley accepts this portal of communication easily but once convinced it works, they embrace it.

Jack is filled with self-doubt. The disappearance of his older brother Ellis has changed his life, and while his family connections have landed him a position as a detective, he wants to prove his worth. Riley’s research in the present provides Jack with some additional information, enabling him to investigate more thoroughly.

I quite enjoyed this novel with its dual storylines and mystery. I wonder if Jack would have (eventually) identified the culprit without Riley’s help? In a neat twist at the end, Riley contacts one of Jack’s descendants.

This is the first book in Ms Stephen’s Journal Through Time Mysteries: the second book is planned for publication in 2022. I am keen to read it.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith