The Unknown Beloved by Amy Harmon
“Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.” – Emily Dickinson
Amy Harmon will glue you to your chair with her riveting true crime historical fiction, The Unknown Beloved. Created around the Cleveland Torso Murders of the 1930s, the story of Michael Malone and Dani Flanagan is a masterfully woven tale of suspense, love, and completeness where the lines between fact and fiction are blended so seamlessly that you easily forget its not a true story. Written in Amy’s signature style, the story takes on a life of its own as her settings and character’s authentic dialogue, mannerisms, and style lands you smack dab in the middle of the 1930s Cleveland where a serial killer has been terrorizing the lower rungs of society and taunting the officials to catch him. Unflappable Michael Malone is called in, unofficially, to solve this case but the big surprise comes in his reconnection with Dani Flannagan, who was 10 years old when he escorted her to Cleveland after the murder of her parents. Now a young woman, Dani’s uniqueness and pure heart, change his perspective on not only the murders but his life in general.
“Just because it doesn’t make sense to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense”
Dani has an extraordinary gift which gives her a different view of people. It is the catalyst and connector to her initial interaction with Michael, an event that was profound and unpleasant but which made a lasting impression on each other, and their subsequent relationship. Their fateful reconnection as adults, a harden and jaded investigator and a knowing but innocent young women, is enhanced because her ability to “see” things changes the dynamics of their relationship. However, this doesn’t alter the fact that they notice the deeper hidden parts that the rest of the world does not see. Their unique understanding of each other forges a deeper bond and an attraction that is impossible to resist. Michael and Dani’s deep connection will touch your soul with their captivating love story and entrance you with the way their romance plays out in their actions and dialogue, unique to depression era America. It was such a different way of thinking and speaking, which Amy captures wonderfully.
The fact that Amy wrote a romance intertwined with a true crime drama could have lent itself to a number of different titles. Instead she chose to focus on a secondary but profound, and probably the most memorable, part of the story, which is saying something considering how I have gushed so far.
“And you know them?”
“I know them as well as they will ever be known.” She shrugged.
That silenced him. In fact, it almost stopped him in his tracks. How very sad that was, to be unknown.
That she chose The Unknown Beloved highlights Dani’s commitment to the remembrance of the lost lives of those overlooked and disregarded in society. In the midst of pain and suffering, Dani’s heartwarming and selfless behavior reminds you that little actions can mean so much; that there will always be people who will be a light in a dark world, creating their own pockets of good. This aspect is the perfect balance to the cold, hard backdrop of a murder mystery.
The Unknown Beloved is a multi-layered story with each aspect: murder mystery, romance, paranormal gift, and self-exploration, capable of carrying a plot on their own. Together, however, they create a powerful literary experience that will permeate your consciousness and have you ruminating over the thoughts and feelings they induce, even when you are not reading and long after you have finished the book. Grab your copy and experience it for yourself!
Tanya’s love for books has been a lifelong passion that she likes sharing with others. Reading is also the thing that relaxes her after a day of juggling the many responsibilities that come with being being wife to an amazing man, mother to four great kids spread around the world, business manager, and farm hand on their place in southwest Missouri; home to Akaushi cattle and a menagerie of pygmy goats, horses, chickens, dogs and cats.