A Hag Rises from the Abyss (Alexander Southerland, P.I., #3) by Douglas Lumsden - Book Review

Write on: Sat, 08 May 2021 by  in Assaph's Reviews Read 10102

I adored the previous Alex Southerland novels, so when I got the ARC for this one I practically squealed with joy. It was worth the wait!

What to Expect

Another paranormal case in the wonderful urban fantasy series of Alex Southerland, PI. This time time he gets hired (coerced, more like) into helping the mayor with a haunting apparition. He's far more interested in solving the death of a nightclub singer (to say nothing about the strange creature rummaging in his trash bins), and it seems like these contradictory directions might correlate -- as well as bring up nightmares from his own past.

We also get delightfully tantalising views in the history of the world, and the forces that shaped it similarly-yet-differently to ours.

What I liked

I love the blend of both the 1920's and modern sensibilities. Lumsden does a credible job of keeping the pulp gumshoe vibe, while avoiding the cliches and misogyny that were rife in that era and literature. In style, Alex is a likeable and engaging character -- he cares, and you care for him.

What to be aware of

This is book 3 of the series. Each one is a more-or-less independent case and can be read by itself, but as there are references to past events and recurring characters it makes more sense to read in order.

Felix's Review

Other than Alex's choice of food -- for himself and in feeding stray animals -- Felix's very much agrees with me here. Felix found the logical and emotional progression of the case without fault, a true representation of a detective dealing with the occult.


Go and read this! This is one of the best Urban Fantasy detectives I've read, a perfect blend of a 1920's gumshoe vibe and the occult.

Enjoying the reviews, but wondering who the heck is that Felix fellow? Glad you asked! He's the protagonist of the Togas, Daggers, and Magic series, an historical-fantasy blend of a paranormal detective on the background of ancient Rome.


Assaph has been a bibliophile since he learnt to read at the age of five, and a Romanophile ever since he first got his hands on Asterix, way back in elementary school. This exacerbated when his parents took him on a trip to Rome and Italy - he whinged horribly when they dragged him to "yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling", yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art. 

He has since been feeding his addiction for books with stories of mystery and fantasy of all kinds. A few years ago he randomly picked a copy of a Lindsay Davis' Marcus Didius Falco novel in a used book fair, and fell in love with Rome all over again, this time from the view-point of a cynical adult. His main influences in writing are Steven Saylor, Lindsey Davis, Barry Hughart and Boris Akunin. 

Assaph now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife, kids, cats, and - this being Australia - assorted spiders. By day he is a software product manager, bridging the gap between developers and users, and by night he's writing - he seems to do his best writing after midnight.



Twitter: @assaphmehr