Mud City Press


Mallory M. O'Connor's


(Archway Publishing, April 2019, 272 pages, $18.99)

Reviewed by Dan Armstrong

Epiphany's Gift is the first book in Mallory M. O'Conner's new psychic/cli-fi series, featuring Epiphany Mayall, a feisty psychic sleuth with courage, daring, and smarts reminiscent of Murder She Wrote's Jessica Fletcher–but aided by remote viewing, visionary dreams, and a team of spiritual guides, including a wise old man and his two ethereal hound dogs. Epiphany–what a great name for a psychic!–is a sixty-something grandmother drawn to crime in the art world and environmental issues. Epiphany's Gift combines the two when Epiphany's college art history professor, John Bernhardt, calls her asking for help finding a rare pen and ink drawing by William Blake (yes, the eighteenth century poet and print maker) that has been stolen from the Kennedy Art Museum at the University of Ohio. That Bernhardt is also writing a series of articles advocating against fracking in the Ohio region gets the cli-fi mystery rolling.

A Novel

Epiphany, also known as "Pip" and "Fannie", drives from her home in Florida to Athens, Ohio to meet with Professor Bernhardt. The day following her briefing on the stolen artwork, Bernhardt is found dead. Though the local police ascribe his death to a heart attack, Bernhardt was a man in good health, and Epiphany is not so sure. Her doubts are answered when she is visited by Bernhardt's ghost two days later, telling her he was poisoned. Suddenly murder is added to the search for the missing artwork. But how does Epiphany get this information to the authorities when her source is the victim's ghost!

Saying anything more will give the mystery away, but Ms. O'Connor spins a suspenseful yarn that details the dangers of fracking and ventures into the upper echelons of the petroleum industry along the way. Great fun set in the age of Climate Change, with several intriguing characters–both good and bad–that seem destined to reappear in O'Connor's work. The follow-up in the series is Key to Eternity, when Epiphany's powers connect her to the Epic of Gilgamesh and a search for the secret of immortality. Give this series a try!