( Gaslamp Gothic #5) Published by: Acorn Publishing Publication date: December 13th 2019 A poisonous secret. A terrifying curse...

Review || Dead Ringer by Kat Ross

(Gaslamp Gothic #5)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019

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.

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Dead Ringer is #5 in the Gaslight Gothic series, proving once again that Kat Ross has the writing chops to go the distance. I hopped on the review tour initially for A Bad Breed and then The Necromancer's Bride and here I am with Dead Ringer. While A Bad Breed and The Necromancer's Bride are a slight detour in the series, following different characters and readable as a stand-alone, Dead Ringer is back with Harry. 

Harry, aka Harrison Fearing Pell, is a wonderfully strong female protagonist. She's bold and determined and also strictly human, yet cognizant of the surrounding world that is most often not. She still has doubts and concerns, but ultimately does what is needed at the end of the day. Characters are obviously one of Kat Ross's strong suits. I've loved every character she's put forward in the Gaslight Gothic series. They are strong capable women and obviously ahead of their time in the late 1880s. 

Speaking of the setting, this one is New York in the summer of 1889. Highly descriptive, Kat Ross has no problem setting the stage. She breathes life back into 1889, vividly painting the streets (and sewers) of the time. In the midst of this, she weaves in a paranormal storyline so effortlessly it's hard not to picture the refined city and its darker, gritty underbelly. She also bespatters her story with real places and people, giving depth and plausibility to her fictional world. 

Kat Ross has a good thing going here.  Mysteries to ponder and historical fiction mixed with the paranormal makes Dead Ringer a fast-paced, atmospheric read. While I've actually never read any of her other books, I won't miss out on the next Gaslight Gothic. 

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.