Book Review: The Mussorgsky Riddle

Book cover from Amazon

The Mussorgsky Riddle by Darin Kennedy

Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind. Thirteen-year-old Anthony Faircloth hasn’t spoken a word in almost a month and with each passing day, his near catatonic state worsens. No doctor, test, or scan can tell Anthony’s distraught mother what has happened to her already troubled son. In desperation, she turns to Mira for answers, hoping her unique abilities might succeed where science has failed.

At their first encounter, Mira is pulled into Anthony’s mind and finds the child’s psyche shattered into the various movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s classical music suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she navigates this magical dreamscape drawn from Anthony’s twin loves of Russian composers and classical mythology, Mira must contend with gnomes, troubadours, and witches in her search for the truth behind Anthony’s mysterious malady.

The real world, however, holds its own dangers. The onset of Anthony’s condition coincides with the disappearance of his older brother’s girlfriend, a missing persons case that threatens to tear the city apart. Mira discovers that in order to save Anthony, she will have to catch a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets contained in Anthony’s unique mind from ever seeing the light.


I am a worldbuilding whore. I want a world as layered as an orchestral movement, as nuanced as a master painting, one that twists and turns and takes you away from the here and now to another world. One you can touch, hear, smell, feel. The Mussorgsky Riddle is one of these books.

Falling into the imprecise category of Urban Fantasy or maybe Paranormal Suspense, the story follows a psychic as she journeys through the mind of a boy trying to find the identity of a killer. But is so much more than that.

The complicated parallel Mr. Kennedy made between Pictures at an Exhibition, both the music and the original inspiring paintings is amazing. And this was just his Debut Novel; if his next is half as good, he has a reader for life.

He is presently in edits of the second book, this one centered around a ballet.