Friday, April 1, 2016

Speakers of the Dead by J Aaron Sanders

Speakers of the Dead is a mystery novel centering around the investigative exploits of a young Walt Whitman, in which the reporter-cum-poet navigates the seedy underbelly of New York City's body-snatching industry in an attempt to exonerate his friend of a wrongful murder charge.

The year is 1843; the place: New York City. Aurora reporter Walt Whitman arrives at the Tombs prison yard where his friend Lena Stowe is scheduled to hang for the murder of her husband, Abraham. Walt intends to present evidence on Lena's behalf, but Sheriff Harris turns him away. Lena drops to her death, and Walt vows to posthumously exonerate her. 

Walt's estranged boyfriend, Henry Saunders, returns to New York, and the two men uncover a link between body-snatching and Abraham's murder: a man named Samuel Clement. To get to Clement, Walt and Henry descend into a dangerous underworld where resurrection men steal the bodies of the recently deceased and sell them to medical colleges. With no legal means to acquire cadavers, medical students rely on these criminals, and Abraham's involvement with the Bone Bill—legislation that would put the resurrection men out of business—seems to have led to his and Lena's deaths. 

Fast-paced and gripping, Speakers of the Dead is a vibrant reimagining of one of America's most beloved literary figures.

Historical fiction Author J Aaron Sanders brings to life Walt Whitman, a journalist who stumbles upon a mystery involving medical dissections. It is the year 1843 and in New York City, a medical school has just been founded for women. To teach the human body, cadavers are needed for dissection. Enter the black market traders of dead bodies, men who would dig up the newly deceased and sell them to the school for profit. Walt Whitman is determined to break up this notorious group of men.
The novel is interesting and highlights the New York of olden days. It was an interesting read from start to finish, despite its morbid topic of body snatching. Murders, intrigue, and history blend seamlessly into an engrossing story. The beginning chapters were exciting and the prose easy to read with a steady pace. For lovers of historical murder mysteries, this is surely a winner.
Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog,, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit

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