Reviews: Case of the Poisoned House and Family by M.C.A. Hogarth

Two reviews in one, this time around – because they’re related and both short.

The Case of the Poisoned House and Other Xenopsychiatric Studies (e-book only)

A perfect way to keep your readers in touch with your characters. Despite the fact that the book came out well before Mindtouch was written or published, I read these between my reading of Mindtouch and waiting for the author to write the sequel, Mindline. Initially used as an (excellent, I might say) introduction to the Alliance and the people who populate it, I found a wonderful set of stories about two characters I already had affection for. (Besides, it promises a happy ending, from the drama-filled cliffhanger of Mindtouch!) I have a passion for psychology in the first place, and a fascination with the Pelted and everything about the Alliance, so following Jahir and Vasiht’h as they piece together the world for themselves—and along the way, their patients as well—was a very welcome journey. Hogarth continues to excel at the balance of relationship her protagonists have; it is not always easy to balance the level of deep friendship that Jahir and Vasiht’h have without making it seem like sexual tension unnaturally aborted. These two, however, skate right along without ever making the reader think that they are somehow missing the signs for something more, or wishing that they’d just take that one next step and JUST KISS ALREADY (like a few of her other characters…). An excellent read, and very easy to poke your way through. Very much recommended, both for anyone looking for an introduction to the Pelted universe, and those who just want another dose of our favorite xenopsychologists.

Which of course takes me to…

Family (e-book only)

Talk about a guilty pleasure. I keep meaning to reread this, and then I remember that I really need to have my wits about me, along with a box of tissues, just for all the feelings this evokes. I am an unashamed devotee of Jahir and Vasiht’h, and was most displeased about the wait I was enduring for Mindline to come out, and thus bought everything Hogarth had written with an Eldritch in it. Family both had an Eldritch—and not just any Eldritch, Jahir—and so I was already ramped up for something lovely.

What I got was so much more.

It’s a very short story, at right around 70 pages, but it manages to run the reader right through the wood chipper of emotions and make us want more. Especially for two people such as them—Jahir with as isolated and reserved as he and his people are, and Vasiht’h, as bound and close to his family as he is—to see the two mesh in a way as this is warming beyond compare. Toss in a lovely twist of suspense that had me clutching my Nook in fear, and there’s nothing about this that isn’t brilliant. I consistently compliment Hogarth’s ability with character, but in this story particularly we see a deft hand with the Eldritch that can be very difficult to walk. They are an immensely complex race – and one that would be very easy to write as one-sided and shallow. None of them are, however, and through the Veil we see just enough to keep us piqued without ever giving away all that they are.

All in all, definitely something for any Pelted fan to pick up, but an absolute must for the fans of Jahir and Vasiht’h.


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