Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: Across the East River Bridge
AUTHOR: Kate McMurray
PUBLISHER: Echo Hill Books
LENGTH: 239 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 24, 2015
When historian Christopher Finnegan walks into a new museum in Brooklyn, he’s chagrined to learn its curator is his old academic rival, Troy Rafferty. Worse, Troy is convinced the museum is haunted and wants Finn’s help learning more about the ghosts. Finn and Troy have never gotten along and Finn wants to run screaming, but then Troy offers him an intriguing proposal: Troy will help Finn with a research project for his overbearing boss if Finn will help Troy solve a mystery involving two men who died in the building under mysterious circumstances in 1878. Finn and Troy piece together the two men’s lives—and the quiet romance that grew between them—through diaries, newspaper clippings, and police reports. They’re both soon convinced the men were murdered. They’re also convinced the ghosts are real—even Finn witnesses paranormal phenomena he can’t deny—and that they’re capable of affecting thoughts, feelings, and actions. When Finn and Troy start falling for each other despite years of animosity, Finn worries he’s being manipulated by the ghosts to stay with Troy and solve the case. Troy is convinced the love between them is real, but he’ll need to figure out how to get rid of the ghosts in order to prove it.
Oh man, this book has just filled me with a ridiculous amount of feelings. The story itself is twofold and I absolutely loved how both parts wove together and the similarities you find between the two. First you have the main characters, Finn and Troy, who knew each other in college and reconnect over research into the deaths of two men and then you have the two murdered men themselves, Wash and Teddy, whom you get to know via their journals and the dreams that Finn and Troy have about them and their lives.
I’ve always been a history buff so the historical aspects of the story really appealed to me but it was the men themselves, and their lives, that really drew me in. Finn and Troy were all fire and passion with one another, they always have been, while Wash and Teddy loved no less fiercely but their interactions were softer, almost gentle, in the parts that you are mainly privy to. The mystery itself about how they died and who was responsible was very well done and I really enjoyed the story I was given along the way to the truth. The paranormal elements weren’t overdone and really enhanced the story and investigation instead of just taking over; the balance was just really well done and I enjoyed the time I spent reading this.
This story brought up a lot of emotions for me, especially when you get to the end and find out exactly what happened to Wash and Teddy. While there is a happy ending and I finished the book with a smile, it was also bittersweet with the knowledge that Wash and Teddy had their happy ending cut short. Regardless of the fact that this is a work of fiction, it isn’t difficult to imagine this happening to other gay men back during the 1800s and that’s just heartbreaking.
The book itself was just really, really good; from start to finish I was invested in the tale being told and I know I’ll read this again, multiple times, in the future. (I’ll probably be dealing with the feels for the rest of the day.) If you enjoy a good mystery, paranormal novels, or anything with a historical element in it, you’ll probably enjoy this book; I love all of those things and it was a big hit with me!