“The Archivist”

“The Archivist” has the tension of a tale of international espionage, but these things happen within the intellectually-safe cocoon of a library. Who would think that murder, treachery, and breach of trust could happen in such a nice, quiet, educational place?  The initial premise seems so wonderfully academic ― a famous, prolific, and potentially “Pulitzer Prize-winning” author is donating his archives to Regents University, but what follows is fodder for the tabloids.

The story unfolds in the first-person narrative of Emily Katherine Snow, the archivist assigned to organize and document this collection. She is a consummate professional, and this is her chance to advance her career. This gift of superb academic materials will allow the university to show itself off to the world. However, what Snow finds is not a storehouse of literary excellence but a repository of deeply hidden secrets. Her conservation of academic pieces turns into an erupting volcano of information concerning clandestine meetings, dark archives, trauma, betrayal, and murder. She also uncovers a bombshell ― an unpublished manuscript that if published, could have monumental consequences.

Pickett’s descriptive style enhances the tense atmosphere. Sensory images are everywhere; waves crack like whips in the early morning; events take form like a photo developing in a darkroom, and thoughts run away like cockroaches skittering in the light. The library is no longer an oasis of serenity, but instead, it has become a stormy world of suffering, salaciousness, secrets, and seduction.

“The Archivist” is a tale of intensity, paranoia, and fraud. Each page reveals new dishonesty and deception. I received a review copy of “The Archivist” from Rex Pickett, and Blackstone Publishing. The book is like a set of Russian nesting dolls, one is opened to reveal another, and another, and yet another.