The Midnight Side by Natasha Mostert (2001, HarperCollins Publishers)
Mostert's fourth novel, Season of the Witch, holds the honor of being the first review, as well as the catalyst, for Libram X. The Mignight Side was her debut novel, and illustrates that her work started off strong and only got stronger.
The Mignight Side is the story of Isa de Witt, a South African architect who receives a cryptic phone call late one night from her cousin Alette, who currently resides in London. Not long after, Isa is contacted by an attorney who informs her that Alette was killed in an automobile accident. The only problem is that Alette was dead when she called Isa. Thus, Isa travels to London to attend to her cousin's estate, and the three mysterious envelopes left to her, and is pulled into a world mystery, lust, and revenge from beyond the grave.
Like Season of the Witch, The Midnight Side is a tale of obsession, and uses many similar themes of duality, reflection, and balance, all topped off with a supernatural twist. The novel, however, stands on its own, blending the stock market, patent law, lucid dreaming and post-mortem communication into a masterful tale of suspense. The Midnight Side is at once wonderfully tense, psychologically horrifying, and obsessively romantic, and is full of excellent plot twists.
A few bits of ungainly dialogue and occasional repetition creep in here and there, but readers of her later works can see how strong her brilliance was even in her debut. The Midnight Side is a definite must for those who love a good supernatural suspense.
Rating: 4 Stars