The Colours of Death by Patricia Marques- Book review

Read my review of The Colours of Death by Patricia Marques a paranormal murder mystery set in an alternative Lisbon featuring a Detective with a special Gift.

Isabel Reis is Gifted and a Detective. In an alternative Lisbon, a minority (I use this term deliberately) of people are ‘Gifted’ either telepathic or telekinetic. In the past, Gifted people were tolerated and marginally accepted but after an incident when a rogue Gifted telepath lost control, they are feared and subject to increasing discrimination. In midst of all this tension, the head of the Institute is responsible for finding out who is gifted is murdered. Isabel has to find the Gifted person responsible for this very public murder even if this puts her in harm’s way.

This book worked well on a number of levels. The mystery around the very public death of Gil dos Santos, head of the controversial testing centre for the Gifted was interesting in itself. But add in an extra paranormal element and this becomes a complex and layered story of prejudice against anyone perceived as different.

Isabel is telepathic, she can read people’s emotions and thoughts and rifle through people’s memory which should make her great at her job, you would think. But as a Gifted Detective, she is limited to what she can do especially when the non- Gifted view her with suspicion and as unnatural. It doesn’t help her Gift is levelling up and has to hide this in case she is carted off to a government camp and never heard of again. She has to deal with all of this along with her complicated relationship with her family and her ex. Isabel is a realistic character and the author does great job describing her fears, angry and frustrations when she is treated as an outsider, I really felt for her when is cruelly rejected by the people she loves.

The book describes the discrimination of minorities really well and how the fear of anyone different can be used by powerful people for their own gain. The descriptions of Lisbon were vivid especially all the different food Isabel has to eat ( because of her gift). I now want to find an authentic Portuguese restaurant to try the cuisine,

My only criticism and it is a small one- the language in places felt a little clunky.

Content warning

Descriptions of child neglect

Perfect for Fans of

Gritty paranormal crime

Summary4 and a half stars- I enjoyed this murder mystery with a paranormal twist and hope we see more of this Gifted Detective.

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