This is the prequel to “The Shadow of the Wind,” my favorite book of the last several years, written by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, who unfortunately passed away on June 17 of this cursed year. The book is set in Barcelona and again features the very special and mysterious Cemetery of Forgotten Books. There is also a love interest, a villain who just might be the devil and a creepy house that is absolutely evil. Oh, and a delightful sidekick for the main character, a writer who is dying, but then is offered an opportunity that would reverse his fortunes (from that aforementioned devil guy). The plot is elaborate. The New York Times called it a “flamboyant pulp epic … with a fair number of violent deaths.” I loved it. Five stars.