What is it with these Ivy League guys and their historical thrillers? Matthew Pearl (Harvard undergrad/Yale law) rewrote the script for such things with novels like "The Dante Club," "The Poe Shadow" and "The Last Dickens." Now, Dartmouth grad Keiran Shields has published a terrific first novel, "The Truth of All Things," set in 1892 Portland, Maine. He's got a vague Holmes/Watson dichotomy: the brainy half-Abenaki investigator Perceval Grey working with the originally-skeptical Deputy Marshal Archie Lean. There's a sadistic serial killer (always good!). PLUS: it's all somehow tied to the Salem Witch Trials. The atmospheric descriptions are stunning, Grey and Lean are a winning pair, and the plot and villain are guaranteed to give you a case of profound creeps.
- RICK KOSTER