(Gaslamp Gothic #5)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling
A poisonous secret.
A terrifying curse.
And a client she’d just as soon see dead in a ditch….
Summer 1889. Harrison Fearing Pell hoped for adventure when she signed on with the Society for Psychical Research as an occult investigator. Slogging through New York’s sewers in pursuit of a “mud man” wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. But the reeking monster terrorizing the dance halls of the Tenderloin leads her to an even more peculiar mystery — and the last man on earth Harry wishes to become entangled with.
James Moran is a prodigy in music, mathematics . . . and crime. Harry’s older sister, the famed detective Myrtle Fearing Pell, has vowed to put him behind bars. But Harry owes Moran a personal debt, so when he demands her aid she can hardly refuse. It turns out that the brilliant black sheep of New York Society is part of a secret club at Columbia College whose members have started dying in bizarre ways that may not be accidents.
Thus begins one of the strangest cases of Harry’s career, a tale of murder, cold-blooded revenge and fairytale bogeymen to make the Brothers Grimm shudder. As the bodies pile up, each preceded by sightings of the victim’s doppelgänger, Harry and her stalwart friend John Weston must race against time to save a man who arguably deserves his macabre fate.
In New York City, 1889 there exists a special unit, the Society for Psychical Research which handles cases of the paranormal variety. Harrison Pell and John Weston are currently investigating a case of a mud man that has attacked and scared many residents in the Tenderloin district. While chasing down a golem in New York's sewer system is not exactly what Harrison relishes, she is glad to have cracked the case for the SPR. Harrison is much more interested in the strange deaths of Columbia students that have been happening where witnesses have sworn that they have seen the deceased somewhere else at the time of death. Despite her best attempts, Harrison is denied the case. However, she is hired privately by one of New York's notorious criminals, James Moran. Moran is terrified that he will be next in the series of deaths. Harrison and James learn more of the series of events and doppelganger folklore in order to save the life of a criminal that they would rather see dead.
Dead Ringer is a paranormal murder mystery in the Gilded Age of New York City. I was immediately pulled into the story as Harry hunted down a mysterious being in the New York City sewer system. The characters are all very well developed. I loved Harry's sense of adventure, bravery and perspective throughout the story. Her partnership with John is sincere, sweet and not forced. Moran kept me guessing throughout the whole story as to where his motives lie and his true nature. All of these characters definitely have more to say and do and I hope their stories continue throughout the Gaslamp Gothic series. I very much enjoyed the paranormal parts of the book, expanding on not as well known creatures. The folklore behind the golem and doppelgangers is complex and interesting. They both made for great monsters. The setting also took me through many different parts of New York in 1889, giving me a good feel of the diversity of people, homes and entertainment at the time. The writing kept the story at a fast pace with excitement, intrigue and suspense building the whole way through; I can't wait to read more!
This book was received for free in order for a honest review.
Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.
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