Speaks the Nightbird

Speaks the Nightbird - Robert R. McCammon People who sometimes pay attention to my humble opinions here on Goodreads might guess that Robert McCammon’s Matthew Corbett series is possibly my favorite detective series. But, sadly it seems like it’s still a bit underrated. I think it’s one of the most consistently enjoyable book series and full of fantastic entertainment.

This book is where it all begins, originally conceived as a historical mystery standalone in two parts. It takes place in 1699, and introduces one of my favorite book characters, Matthew Corbett, who begins the book as a young clerk traveling with and assisting Magistrate Woodward, who has traveled to the small town of Fount Royal in the Carolina colony and is overseeing the trial of a local young woman accused of witchcraft. To everyone, Rachel Howarth’s guilt seems pretty cut and dry, but Matthew has doubts and sets out against the magistrate’s wishes to save Rachel from execution.

As well as being an historical fiction mystery, it's even more rewarding as a coming of age story, as it's a pleasure to witness the character not only fall in love for the first time, but also stand up for what he believes is right, and come out from under the shadow of the magistrate. Matthew Corbett is a great creation. He's smart, dedicated, but also sensitive and has a knack for reading people and situations. Unless you have a heart of steel, it's impossible to read this and not want to root for him as he stands up to an entire town for what is right and just. And one of the great things in this series are the baddies, and in this novel, fire-and-brimstone preacher Exodus Jerusalem is a great example.

Definitely read this series. The rest of the books are even better than this one! But read the series in order and start with this! It has romance, adventure, mystery, as well as history about American colonial life. It's a blast!