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Summary

Is it ever too late to do what is right?

A fusion of steampunk and superheroics...this is the Rail. Mix in a healthy dose of human foibles, and you are in for a reading on the ups and downs of paranormals, how people react to them, and how their actions shape (and destroy) the world around them.

The Guild of Honor: once this fabled society of paranormals kept the metropolis safe from abnormal threats, and gifted America with advanced steampowered technology. Then, jealousy and rivalry brought them to a deadly end at the hands of a military takeover.

The year is 1886.

Flag Banner Epsom. Aretha Tyne Astin. Two paranormals in a world that fears them, a Victorian Wonderland of fast trains and gravity-defying cloudcraft. Can these two solve an invisible murder, and catch a killer with plans to shed more blood, or will they succumb to the fist of the United States Regular Army?

©2015 William J. Jackson (P)2017 William J. Jackson

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Half human and full on mad.

In Railroad City, Missouri, some years before the events in this story, an explosion had taken place and a number of the inhabitants had beenchanged by the mysterious blue glowing megatrite, giving them super powers, some obvious and others less so. Although they had actually saved the day from invaders in the past, they were now unwelcome in their society and hunted down and killed. one such abnormal is the first person narrator of this book but she has a survival plan, working for the hunters, destroying her own. She is Madam Aston and she lives on by being useful to the authorities.
Another survivor from the beginnings of the changes is Professor Flag Epsom, who lost an arm and a leg in the explosion but gained chromoscopic vision, a way to see time moving backwards. He is also useful. These two protagonists are put together in a very uneasy alliance to solve a murder.

A clever mix of Steampunk and paranormals, these tales from the Rails stories are always good fun, thoughtfully written with a strong sense of atmosphere. And this book is certainly no exception as it also includes a mystery to be solved. Unfortunately, the chosen narrator, Amy Pastor, was the wrong choice for this story; although she made a good attempt and her voicings of the characters were mostly distinctive, they were unconvincing and her Scottish accent for Epsom was something very bizarre which could never have seen the shores of the United Kingdom. This was all rather distracting, especially combined with the rather deadpan text reading which occured despite her reasonable intonation. At first it was fine, but after a short while this reader found it very hard to concentrate on the story, focusing instead on the peculiarities of the reading.

I do recommend this story but better to read the book in print form rather than listening to the audio version. I have to thank the rights holder of The Unsubstantiated Chamber for gifting me a complimentary copy, at my request, via Audiobook Boom.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David Lee Summers
  • 22-09-17

Steampunk with Super Powers!

In this alternate world, certain people have gained superhuman abilities. Some can throw lightning bolts, some have super strength, some can conduct heat and become human torches and more. Ordinary humans have decided to hunt down the superhumans or paranormals, as they're known. The sole exception is when a paranormal is useful to the autocratic regime. Enter our protagonist Aretha Astin. She's essentially a human lie detector brought in by an army sergeant to track down anarchists. She brings in a curmudgeonly Scottish professor who can see what happened in the past of place by visiting it. They end up stumbling on a murder. Aretha and the professor are given a week to get to the bottom of the mystery. Lush in detail with lots of cool steampunk gadgets and an engaging mystery. My only real stumbling block were a few phrases that felt a little too modern for the time period. A solid steampunk novel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Montzalee Wittmann
  • 17-09-17

Paranormals killing Paranormals, mystery,steampunk

Any additional comments?

An Unsubstantiated Chamber: The Rail Legacy, Book 1
Written by: William J. Jackson
Narrated by: Amy Pastoor
This is an audible book I requested and the review is voluntary.
I love this steampunk fantasy book. It has a good mystery, fantasy-(certain people have talents or paranormal gifts), a good plot, and interesting characters. I can't say I liked the main characters at first, I don't think the reader is suppose to. The characters grow as the book continues. I wonder how they will change in future books because they are still not quite there yet, but better. They are paranormals that were killing paranormals for the government to begin with. Great mystery with good surprises and twists. I enjoyed it.
The narrator was pretty good too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Harry
  • 16-09-17

An Interesting blend

I should start by saying this was not what I expected. You won't hear of men in tights flying thru the air, but normally-dressed people with hidden powers. It was still a good story with quality narration. It's a bit slow starting, but gets exciting as one continues.

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request from the author and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ODed01
  • 29-03-18

The best of the best !

The author William J. Have done a remarkable job writing this book, I’m amazed how it captured me from page one till the most ending.
After all this is not my style and still what a beautiful masterpiece.
Perfectly preformed and perfectly writing, what else would you ask for?
I truly and fully recommend this book, there will not be any disappointed here !!!

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  • K.Markey
  • 21-09-17

Steampunk & Paranormal Adventure on The Rail

Would you consider the audio edition of An Unsubstantiated Chamber to be better than the print version?

I consider the audio version a supplementation of the text version.

What other book might you compare An Unsubstantiated Chamber to and why?

There is no comparison, imo.

Which character – as performed by Amy Pastoor – was your favorite?

I liked the Ex-Spy and the Scotsman, both.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found this book to be funny at times. The chemistry between Aretha and Epsom is entertaining.

Any additional comments?

I am reviewing this audiobook, as a volunteer, being a previous customer of the author’s text novels.I used my Audible first free credit to purchase this audiobook. Writer William J. Jackson introduces readers to “The Rail”; an area rich in history that is a bit familiar, but also has its own story to tell. Some of The Rail’s inhabitants are living and performing jobs not so familiar. We become engaged with two formidable main characters who make somewhat of a team, out of necessity. Both are feisty residents who’ve done their share of battle, with long-lasting wounds, both physical & psychological, for their efforts. This tale involves steampunk mechanical capabilities and paranormal abilities bestowed to humans in an evolving world of terrorism, capitalism and social evolution. This work is unlike any another novels I have ever read and the characters coming alive in audio is exciting. This is only the beginning; tales of The Rail get better from here. This installment sets the foundation for characters & setting. Our leaders taking us through The Rail are a salty Scotsman and a gutsy, untamable fem fatale, both engaged in murder-for-hire, if one so desires their services. And therein lies a dilemma. What are the long-term effects of your business? Will you end up on the right side… much later? The ballsy Aretha, aka, The Huntress in Hazel, is our story narrator and is given voice by Narrator, Amy Pastoor, who tackled a tough challenge of multiple accents; delivering an animated portrayal of The Huntress’s inner dialogue & outer repartee with our railroad city drama.