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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
raissa
A good detective story. Relatable characters. The setting is 1900 San Francisco and Isabelle (Bel) is a strong female protagonist. The plot has lots of surprises and the backfill history is done well. I hope Flynn continues the series with Detective Riot and Bel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
merry
A well written story with descriptions that paint a vivid picture of old San Francisco. Some of the mystery was easy to see and other parts were a surprise. After reading so many predictable mysteries this story was a refreshing change. Very well researched , looking forward to more from this author.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kat tromp
For the most part, this is well written and has great characters. The historical detail is interesting but not overdone. And the plot is quite complex. There are several places where it seemed confusing as to who or what is being referred to or when it's occurring.
The Secrets of Wishtide (A Laetitia Rodd Mystery) :: A Flavia de Luce Story (Kindle Single) - The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse :: The Forest House (The Mists of Avalon: Prequel) :: The Firebrand :: A Flavia De Luce Novel (Flavia De Luce Mystery) - As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tina russell
I really like her writing style and the sense of humor and irony she uses. The hero and heroine were strong without being overpowering. The flavor of old San Francisco felt genuine and the story kept me guessing til the end. I am looking forward to the next one!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
becky bell
Fun plot from early San Francisco around 1900. Pulls in history and a particularly feisty female vicim/heroine.
Written in varied overlapping time sequences to heighten the suspense.
Beginning of an intriguing series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hailey scott
I loved the detail in the book without the author droning on which I’ve found in other crime novels of this time period. A great read that I want to continue with. I will be reading the rest of the series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
james gentry
Flynn is an author with a very interesting imagination--which makes her stories interesting and imaginative as well. Our hero, Atticus Riot, is all cool, cunning, and lethally quick. Our heroine, Isabel Amsel, is emotional, unpredictible, and lethal in her own way. Together they are sure to be formidible. The "good guy" characters are appealing. He "bad guy" characters, while projecting a good guy fascade, are dispicable. I did manage to spot one of that type almost rright away. He got away with it in this book. I'll be interested to see if they manage to bring him down in the next book; or if he becomes their Moriarity. On to book 2!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kitty
If you like historical, fictional, mystery stories with engaging characters then this is the series for you. Quick reads but engaging nonetheless. I read all of them very quickly and it left me wanting more.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
tuckleton
I started this book with a positive attitude, as I enjoy historical novels and especially historical mysteries. Unfortunately I am unable to recommend it. As the story moves forward the writing itself deteriorates to the point of it being a total distraction. The grammar is barely acceptable and the prose itself twisted and almost bizarre as the author seems unable to keep control of her similes, meyaphors, allusions, and descriptors. A total mess.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joshua cohen
Full disclosure thingie: I am acquainted with the delightful lady who wrote this book. Pickiness disclosure: yep, I remain very picky.

NO PROBLEM here! This is a book with characters you like at once, and our Ms. Flynn sends them on a bumpy ride. Fair warning: at one point I was paging ahead because I had to know NOW what was going to happen. Yes, I am well behaved and I go back and read all of it. Don't start this one at midnight.

In fact, I recently began rereading it word by word. The prose is beautifully crafted and merits this. The best part: first of a series from a lady who will have a long, successful career as a writer. (In a while I intend annoyingly to say Told Yah)

Huzzah!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michael underwood
The author introduced her two main characters in an interesting way. Even though I knew this was a series, halfway through I was a little unsure who the two main characters were going to be.
I loved this book and finished it in one day-something I rarely do anymore.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
mary hill
I didn't get through the first chapter. Usually I can tell within the first few pages if I will like a book enough to finish it. The excessive use of adjectives and adverbs annoyed me. It felt like the author was trying way too hard. I was bored and had no interest in continueing with the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
janet logan
It's hard to find a story with such a unique approach combined with excellent writing & story telling in one book. This has it all. The main characters are marvelously well developed and interesting. There storyline keeps the reader riveted. The setting, San Francisco at the turn of the 19th century, is a fascinating backdrop and well worth experiencing. I immediately downloaded the next in the 3 story series. This is such a compelling winner that I certainly hope Flynn continues to add releases. Congratulations to a talented author.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jayne wilson
I was a beta reader/editor for this book, and thus read it in its “rough” form as well as in its final version before publication. I can honestly say that I enjoyed the second reading as much as the first, despite the fact that on the second reading (obviously) I knew both who and how-“dunnit.”
“From the Ashes” is Sabrina Flynn’s first published mystery and the first in what I hope will be a successful continuing series. First books in mystery series are always especially interesting to me, as in addition to the pleasures of story and suspense, we get to see the author establishing a world and set of relationships with which we will come to be familiar, and perhaps even come to love. One of the pleasures in “From the Ashes” is the vividness which Flynn brings to her setting, the San Francisco of 1900, and in particular the notorious Barbary Coast, a section of the city which offered every delight and every vice that we in the Twenty-first century believe we invented. In “From the Ashes,” we see the grit, grime and danger in a city that was part modern, part frontier seaport, but we also experience the city’s glamor, the beauty of its incomparable setting, and its exotic lure.
Atticus Riot, Flynn’s reluctant detective, is obviously a man who can’t resist the city’s call, despite the fact that it’s taken his long-time partner and mentor, and broken Riot’s heart. Riot abandoned San Francisco to seek solace around the world, but in this first book, he’s back and drawn into the mysterious disappearance – and likely murder – of a young society wife. Her marriage was improbable and her kidnapping is likewise – for one thing, there are two ransom notes, apparently originating from different sources. Who abducted Isobel Kingston, and is she dead or alive? Riot would rather not be involved, but neither can he bring himself to abandon a young woman in danger. Thus begins his dangerous descent into and through the Barbary Coast, during which we become better acquainted with Riot (a clever and lethal operator, for all his average stature) and through which, he finds an unlikely new partner.
When I finished the book, I was immediately eager to go on another investigation with Atticus Riot and his companions. I highly recommend “From the Ashes,” the first in what I believe will be a memorable series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
winda
As a lover of historical mysteries and thrillers, I devoured Sabrina's new novel. She has a great talent for writing characters who are complex and teeming with life (try her phantasy "A Thread in the Tangle" even if you don't like that genre). Her plot keeps you guessing while she's leading you from the luxuries of the high society all the way through gravest poverty, making you thirst for more once the last page is reached.
The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it had an end and that I'll have to wait months to read the second instalment (I hope there are many to come!)
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
corvida
The cool cover photo of a gibson girl smoking a cigarillo took me in. But one look at the writing showed a hack who uses emotive rather than descriptive words to short cut the actual work of building a story.
The author's name and bio also suggest this is written under a pseudonym. I sure would not put my name on it
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
maddy
I have to admit I always pick up review requests for self-published books with a jaundiced eye but I was more than pleasantly surprised by Flynn’s book. I was enthralled and wanted to immediately purchase the next two in the Ravenwood Mystery series posthaste, no matter how large my review pile. And that’s saying a lot for me.

Of course it helps that I love the era and genre, historical detective novels. Atticus Riot is a wonderfully developed character. We’ve obviously come in the rebirth end of things, for Atticus as well as the newest adventure he steps into. Thus, the title, well-fitting for this first book in a series. Riot returns to San Francisco from a sojourn in Europe to put an end to the former business he and his dead partner ran, the Ravenwood Detective Agency, conveniently located just up the block from Pinkerton’s. However, his manager, Tim, talks him into just one more case before he officially retires. An heiress has been kidnapped.

Throughout the case Riot is visited with the ghostly advice of his late partner, for whose death he cannot forgive himself. He’s haunted by past cases where he hasn’t been quick enough to prevent death and makes it a goal to see it doesn’t happen this time. As the body count rises, however, Riot’s last case may become a lost cause.

There is so much rich history in the era and area that Flynn could have easily lost us in detail. She does introduce a quirky cast of characters who have taken over the Ravenwood mansion and then drops them, but I hope we’ll see more of them in the future. The pacing is perfect, and the twist is that the reader is treated to events of the crime in a back-and-forth catch-up chase until one day time equals out.

Surprises, not exactly cheat-the-reader moments but very subtle hints and clues will keep readers who adore this type of fiction on their toes. Told in multiple viewpoints from Riot and the victim’s points of views, well-researched. Near flawless writing shows the care the author took with her book.

A review copy was provided through VoraciousReadersOnly.com
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
peter silk
With so many authors crowding the field these days, it takes some serious digging to find one that really can deliver the goods!

Ah what a pleasure to find this is a writer who can really write! The author weaves a very good tale that is complex and has characters with depth. There's the detective determined that this will be his last case. He can't get over the brutal way his partner and mentor was killed. Then there is the attention to historical detail giving us a real feel for San Franciso circa 1900 when corruption and graft held sway in high places and the waterfront could be a crass and brutal place. To cap it all is a most unique female victim who challenges all feminine ideals of the time being a maverick from childhood. By the time the story has run its course, you are already hoping there will be more to come.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
summerd
Good book, I was really drawn into the story line. I couldn’t put it down until I finished reading it. I read it in one afternoon so it’s not long. I like how the story would jump back and forth from the abduction to the solving of the case. It was very descriptive in both a good and bad way. Good in the sense that I really could picture the scenes and smells of the story, feeling like I was there in the action with the character. Bad in the sense that it got a little too much into the seedy dark world of Old San Francisco. I know that it was probably very accurate in it’s depiction but I just don’t like having all those images in my head. That being said, the mystery/adventure of it all was very thrilling to read. Very good character development.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
allie baxter
This book had a lot of potential, the setting and the characters should have been great. While the setting was fine the characters were not even enjoyable. I do not know that many people who are constantly smirking and that got REALLY annoying. The author needs to find some new descriptive words. While I would like to say I feel for Isobel, I really don't. She's not even likable. Riot has a chance but I don't really care about him either. And at that I am pretty much done with the series. Too many ugly things going on and not enough interest in the characters to care about them one way or another. Sorry but I won't be reading any more of this series. I had hopes, but they were dashed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tamatha
A very well written and well thought out mystery. From the very beginning, I was impressed by the descriptions and the prose. The characters are interesting, complex and three-dimensional. The same can be said if the story. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out...there’s more. If you enjoy historical mysteries, this is a very good one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
walaa
I only tried this author on the recommendation of author Emma Jameson, from her newsletter, whom I've also just recently started reading. I really enjoyed this first installment of Atticus and Bel's adventures. Both are extremely interesting and likeable characters, but also very real, carrying around emotional luggage like the rest of us. I also appreciated the friendship between them and that there seemed to be only slighfest hint that they might be than friends in the future.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lisa dale
This is the first book of a series. Set in 1900 in San Francisco, it seems to be the meeting of the two main characters of the series, as well as the beginnings of a professional relationship.

Overall, this is a solid novel. The pacing is good. There are plot twists, an assortment of potential villains, the seething underbelly of turn of the century San Francisco (interesting enough in its own right!), and compelling characters.

I did find myself wishing for more of the background information - we know a personal tragedy caused Riot to spend some time abroad, but other than the death and mutilation of his mentor cum business partner, the circumstances remain a mystery. We ultimately discover who has betrayed the victim in this case, but I found myself unsatisfied with the explanation behind this betrayal - I would have liked to have learned more about how this came about - I felt that there was a lack of emotional core to the revelation, which did have a negative impact on the humanity of the characters.

Knowing that this is a first novel in a series, it stands to reason that some of these questions would be deliberately left to be answered in future installments, so I did anticipate that there would be some level of dissatisfaction with the denouement on my part. However, I found that these mysteries were dangled very closely in front of me and ultimately left me frustrated.

I would also have appreciated some additional development in minor characters (to this case) that I anticipate will become more central in future installments of the series. I don't think I could name anyone that I felt was well-developed enough (other than one villain) to appear in future books. I would also have liked to see some of the more colourful historic characters brought more vividly to life - even if they only make an appearance in this novel. When I read the afterword, there were very few of the characters that the author indicated were real citizens of the city that I recalled encountering in the novel. This is a shame.

Overall, this was a good book, well-written, and the premise has great promise.

I received a free copy of this book through Voracious Readers Only.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alex popa
It's hard to find a story with such a unique approach combined with excellent writing & story telling in one book. This has it all. The main characters are marvelously well developed and interesting. There storyline keeps the reader riveted. The setting, San Francisco at the turn of the 19th century, is a fascinating backdrop and well worth experiencing. I immediately downloaded the next in the 3 story series. This is such a compelling winner that I certainly hope Flynn continues to add releases. Congratulations to a talented author.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
waiching
With so many authors crowding the field these days, it takes some serious digging to find one that really can deliver the goods!

Ah what a pleasure to find this is a writer who can really write! The author weaves a very good tale that is complex and has characters with depth. There's the detective determined that this will be his last case. He can't get over the brutal way his partner and mentor was killed. Then there is the attention to historical detail giving us a real feel for San Franciso circa 1900 when corruption and graft held sway in high places and the waterfront could be a crass and brutal place. To cap it all is a most unique female victim who challenges all feminine ideals of the time being a maverick from childhood. By the time the story has run its course, you are already hoping there will be more to come.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
christine mulcahy
Good book, I was really drawn into the story line. I couldn’t put it down until I finished reading it. I read it in one afternoon so it’s not long. I like how the story would jump back and forth from the abduction to the solving of the case. It was very descriptive in both a good and bad way. Good in the sense that I really could picture the scenes and smells of the story, feeling like I was there in the action with the character. Bad in the sense that it got a little too much into the seedy dark world of Old San Francisco. I know that it was probably very accurate in it’s depiction but I just don’t like having all those images in my head. That being said, the mystery/adventure of it all was very thrilling to read. Very good character development.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jill b
This book had a lot of potential, the setting and the characters should have been great. While the setting was fine the characters were not even enjoyable. I do not know that many people who are constantly smirking and that got REALLY annoying. The author needs to find some new descriptive words. While I would like to say I feel for Isobel, I really don't. She's not even likable. Riot has a chance but I don't really care about him either. And at that I am pretty much done with the series. Too many ugly things going on and not enough interest in the characters to care about them one way or another. Sorry but I won't be reading any more of this series. I had hopes, but they were dashed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kathe
A very well written and well thought out mystery. From the very beginning, I was impressed by the descriptions and the prose. The characters are interesting, complex and three-dimensional. The same can be said if the story. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out...there’s more. If you enjoy historical mysteries, this is a very good one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ida fiore
I only tried this author on the recommendation of author Emma Jameson, from her newsletter, whom I've also just recently started reading. I really enjoyed this first installment of Atticus and Bel's adventures. Both are extremely interesting and likeable characters, but also very real, carrying around emotional luggage like the rest of us. I also appreciated the friendship between them and that there seemed to be only slighfest hint that they might be than friends in the future.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michaela
I loved this book. The main character Atticus Riot is a detective and a gentleman. I like books where the detectives are not police and have more license among the underworld. I also liked Mr. Riot because he has wonderful manner and treats everyone with respect. The author makes sure the plot moves along and it is evenly written. I will be moving on to the next in the series and feel grateful to have discovered Ms Flynn and Mr. Riot.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hughessandra9
A fascinating journey through 1900 San Francisco, including the infamous Barbary Coast and nearby Sausalito. A kidnapped wife and tragic body is only the beginning. Beautifully written and largely devoid of the anachronistic behavior of 21st century characters in 19th century dress that makes too many historical novels so disappointing. I'm eager to read more about the further adventures of Riot, Tim, Bel, and a number of well-drawn minor characters.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erik hansen
Sabrina Flynn's literary sense is refreshing to see in a day of modern pulp fiction. Her descriptions are novel, often poetic, and bring the scene to life. Her mystery writing and historical sense is also exemplary. I thoroughly recommend this novel to anyone who loves the written word.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tami garrard
From the Ashes begins with a kidnapping, ransom requests, and a drowning in San Francisco at the end of 1899. The story revolves around young Bel, wife of a powerful and successful man, and Atticus, a private detective just returned from three years abroad. The characters are unusual and delightful, the mystery complex enough to keep the reader guessing right up to the surprise ending.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stephanie levy
Historical adventure in 1900, San Francisco, was excellent. The Ravenwood Detective Agency did an interesting job of solving this kidnapping, murder mystery. Details of city itself and its people of this time period added much to the story. Ready for another with them!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
don goforth
Caught me thoroughly by paragraph three. Easy prose colorful enough to shame a master painter. A quick read with all the threads tightly woven. Interesting sleuths, and surprisingly satisfying actors and locations held up this initial book in what I hope will be a long series!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gaddle
Barbary Coast.

Starts a little slow but picks up about half way through. An heiress is missing presumed kidnapped. A ransom letter was received, and then 3 letters were sent to the press. Th Ravenwood Detective Agency is hired by the husband to find the missing woman.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jonathan goff
I will definitely read the next in series. I like the author's writing style.......and the also the style and individuality of the characters. Finally, good plot that moves along at an engaging pace. I recommend!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kalcee clornel
I enjoyed this book because it kept me wondering what would happen next. Who kidnapped Isobel and why? Why did she marry someone who was so much older than her? Was someone trying to destroy her father's business? Was Atticus up to solving the mystery after the murder of his partner three years ago? so many questions. This was a great start to a new mystery series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
catherine fredrick
What a rollicking good read! Being slightly unconventional myself, I thoroughly enjoyed Bell and Atticus. I'll probably skip the lineup of books I have and go directly to find out what they get up to next.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
julie duggan
I really enjoyed this historical mystery. The characters are complex, and there are intriguing hints of the past. Until the end, I was focused on the wrong villain. Can't wait to read more of this series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
abeer alshammary
This book was great! I really loved the two main characters as well as the supporting characters. I’m currently reading the third book of the series. I hope this author continues the series.... my new favorite author!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ashley martin
I enjoyed the writing style and characters enough to want to read the next book. it was different enough and authentic enough to keep me interested and I enjoyed the descriptions. I have a feeling the author will improve her skills as she produces more books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
morgan getty
I enjoy well researched historical mysteries. This series and author were unknown to me, so I used my free book on prime. What a wonderful decision. I was hooked by the characters, time, place and evolving plot within the first few pages. I’ve paused my reading halfway through the book to post this review to encourage others to read this book! I’m looking forward to the purchase of the other books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nichola lynch
I'm fond of historical fiction and this was my first of San Francisco. I loved being transported back in time in a city i know and love well. The dialogue was witty and engaging and the story was fun over all!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tiffany winegar
Love that this is set in San Francisco, love that the time frame is the turn of the 20th century, and love Sabrina Flynn’s writing style. The story is well thought out and researched, and I didn’t figure it out till almost the very end, I highly recommend.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
christopher ormond
Like all things written by Sabrina Flynn, this novel is captivating. It moves well, keeps you interested and surprises you. The characters are a fascinating study of human nature and you will be hooked. Loved it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
laura m
A fun read. Great characters take you on a guided tour of early San Francisco’s Barbary Coast and her denizens with a decent mystery and a surprise ending, of sorts. Gonna check out Ms. Flynn’s other work , for sure.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jenne
I enjoyed this book because it kept me wondering what would happen next. Who kidnapped Isobel and why? Why did she marry someone who was so much older than her? Was someone trying to destroy her father's business? Was Atticus up to solving the mystery after the murder of his partner three years ago? so many questions. This was a great start to a new mystery series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
marymary
What a rollicking good read! Being slightly unconventional myself, I thoroughly enjoyed Bell and Atticus. I'll probably skip the lineup of books I have and go directly to find out what they get up to next.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shylie
I enjoy well researched historical mysteries. This series and author were unknown to me, so I used my free book on prime. What a wonderful decision. I was hooked by the characters, time, place and evolving plot within the first few pages. I’ve paused my reading halfway through the book to post this review to encourage others to read this book! I’m looking forward to the purchase of the other books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katty
A fun read. Great characters take you on a guided tour of early San Francisco’s Barbary Coast and her denizens with a decent mystery and a surprise ending, of sorts. Gonna check out Ms. Flynn’s other work , for sure.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hui jing
And sometimes it overwhelms our ability to believe. The late 1890s thru the early 1910 era was basically unreal, it was unbelievable to our modern minds. Detective agencies, corrupt powers that be, the Barbary Coast and Shanghai Lil are just the beginning of what was to come.

I enjoy Riot's company. The Ravenswood household offers a unique perspective into an era that blazed in glory and trembled before time. Soon the pipers would demand their pay.. and fall before the shattering reformation the earth decreed.

I'm looking forward to the future tales of the Ravenswood Detective Agency..
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lori gottshalk
I loved the detail in the book without the author droning on which I’ve found in other crime novels of this time period. A great read that I want to continue with. I will be reading the rest of the series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dionne
The setting of San Francisco in the early 1900's makes for a perfect backdrop to a kidnapping of an elusive heiress....add in a sorrowful private investigator who is very similar to Sherlock Holmes and you have a winner! Twists and turns, disguises, suspects --an absolutely great read! Highly recommend!!
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