TITLE: The Daemoniac (A Dominion Mystery #1)
AUTHOR: Kat Ross
PUBLISHING DATE: October 12, 2016
FROM GOODREADS: It's August of 1888, just three weeks before Jack the Ripper will begin his grisly spree in the London slum of Whitechapel, and another serial murderer is stalking the gas-lit streets of New York. With taunting messages in backwards Latin left at the crime scenes and even more inexplicable clues like the fingerprints that appear to have been burned into one victim's throat, his handiwork bears all the hallmarks of a demonic possession.
But consulting detective Harrison Fearing Pell is convinced her quarry is a man of flesh and blood. Encouraged by her uncle, Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry hopes to make her reputation by solving the bizarre case before the man the press has dubbed Mr. Hyde strikes again.
From the squalor of the Five Points to the high-class gambling dens of the Tenderloin and the glittering mansions of Fifth Avenue, Harry and her best friend, John Weston, follow the trail of a remorseless killer, uncovering a few embarrassing secrets of New York's richest High Society families along the way. Are the murders a case of black magic—or simple blackmail? And will the trail lead them closer to home than they ever imagined?
MY THOUGHTS: Although I figured this book would hold my interest based on the synopsis, I had no idea how difficult it would be to put down and I basically devoured it over a 24 hour period. The Daemoniac tells the story of Harrison Pell (Harry to her family and friends) and her quest on a missing person's case which is leading to a lot of dead bodies. Harry has always lived in the shadow of her sister, a notable investigator, so when the chance presents itself to assume her sister's identity on a new case in order to "prove" herself, Harry doesn't hesitate. She is quickly joined by her friends and their support for Harry is infallible.
There are so many things I like about this book. The characters are fascinating, headstrong and witty. They all have their own opinions about the case, but are determined to work together to solve it. Also, Harry herself is a joy. She is not overly focused with being a proper lady and instead, wants to do more with her life than be arm candy and a devoted wife. I also really enjoyed the setting. I actually felt like I was a little mouse living in 1888 New York and getting to observe the activities first-hand. Finally, this book is almost 100% action and mystery. Sure, there is a spark at a romance developing (and actually Harry is just downright blind to what is right before her eyes) but it is so demure that if you don't like a lot of romance in your novels, it won't bother you one bit.
This book really leaves the reader guessing as to whether there is a evil element at work, or just human nature taking over. And part of the mystique of this book is whether Harry and her friends are hunting an actual demon, or a person who has chosen to display their dark side. Although the book has a great conclusion, Ross sets the scene for a new adventure to take place and I can't wait to spend more time with Harry and her friends.
If you like dark, historical mysteries and Sherlock Holmes, you are missing out if you don't give this book a chance. It reminded me of "A Curious Beginning" by Deanna Raybourn (not in plot or characters, just in the overall feeling of the book), so if you enjoyed that one, I think you would like "The Daemoniac" as well. Kat Ross...bring on book #2!
RATING: 5 PAWS
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 lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.
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