Book review: The Language of the Dead

German bombs falling on the United Kingdom aren't the only dark forces troubling detective chief inspector Thomas Lamb in the summer of 1940. He's tasked with investigating a farmhand found with a scythe in his chest in the rural southern England village of Quimby, where rumors of the occult stretch back decades—and a second murder and the encroaching Blitz cranks up the townsfolks' anxieties. Dead (Pegasus) is the debut novel of veteran journalist Kelly, A&S '99 (MA), and it's full of a reporter's attention to everyday details, narrative drive, and human foibles, lending the book the engrossing confidence of Caleb Carr's historical page turners.