Title: The Daemoniac
Author: Kat Ross
Genre: Urban fantasy/crime thriller
Rating: Five stars
“It’s August 1888, just three weeks before Jack the Ripper will terrorize Whitechapel, and another murderer is stalking the streets of New York. His handiwork bears the hallmarks of a demonic possession–but amateur sleuth Harrison Fearing Pell is certain her quarry is a man of flesh and blood. And she 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 follows 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 closer to home than she ever imagined?”
Who’s driving this thing?
Harrison Fearing Pell, an unusual name for an unusual young woman. Forever living in the shadow of her brilliant crime-solving sister Myrtle, Harry wants to make her own waves in life and living during a time where women can’t even vote, it’s no easy task.
Harry is eager to make name for herself her way. Though her parents would prefer she marry and settle down even at the young age of 19 (not so young back then), Harry has ambitions to join the S.P.R, the Society of Psychical Research, but she needs to get her foot in the door. Even with an uncle associated with the society, Harry needs to prove herself worthy.
What’s this all about?
When a desperate couple come looking for Myrtle for help finding their lost friend, Harry assumes her absent sister’s identity and gets on the case. What starts out as a missing person’s case spirals into a homicide investigation.
The murders come after a séance with the client and his missing friend, and after searching his apartment, all clues indicate that the missing man has been possessed by something demonic.
As Harry delves further into the case, she feels she is out of her depth. But with the help of her friends John, Edward, Connor and Nellie, and also the only criminal mastermind her sister has never conquered, Harry begins to close in on the apparently supernatural serial killer.
What’s so great about it?
Talk about immersive! I was hooked from page one. Harry’s character arc started off with a bang, plus the mystery was really intriguing. The murders were so unusual and the characters, dead and alive, had really rich back stories.
While the POV of Harry was in first person, the story was told a little like To Kill a Mockingbird, where it’s obvious that the storyteller is telling the story years, or even decades in the future. As if it’s a fond memory they’re looking back on and we are the grandchild they’re putting to bed. Or not, considering how graphic this story gets. Talk about grandparenting gone wrong.
This book is akin to a box of chocolates or a packet of pringles. You really can’t stop once you’ve started.
What’s not so great about it?
Not a gosh-darned thing! I legitimately loved this book and everything in it.
I suppose the only thing I should mention for anyone expecting overt magic in this book, there isn’t really. In some places, I did wonder if there was any magic in this at all, as many of the revelations could be explained in non-magical ways. But by the end, I was fairly certain that supernatural things were afoot, just not altogether obvious.
Either way, this book earns The Secret Library Recommended Reads seal!
Where can I get it?
Right now, the e-book format for this book is FREEEEE! And there’s an even sweeter deal here: once you’ve finished this book, the sequel is also free via the author, Kat Ross’s newsletter. If you sign up, you get a copy in your inbox!
So here’s where you get started: this is the link to the Amazon page for The Daemoniac.
Just so you know, this book is also available in paperback.
Thanks for reading!