Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Daemoniac excerpt: The Daemoniac by Kat Ross Blog Tour




The Daemoniac
by Kat Ross
(A Dominion Mystery, #1)
Publication date: October 12th 2016
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult

Synopsis:
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?


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AUTHOR BIO:
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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The rain eased up some as we made our way toward the arc-lights arrayed around the base of the grain elevator. The ground here was rough and uneven, with chunks of loose paving stone alternating with soggy patches of earth. Twice I tripped, and twice John's strong hand kept me from falling. It broke the ice between us a bit, although I knew he hadn't forgotten our argument.
Tattered clouds raced past overhead. A sliver of moon appeared, then vanished just as quickly. The smell of the river grew stronger, and I could see white and yellow lanterns bobbing on the masts of anchored ships to the south. Long Island City lay across the expanse of black water, on the far side of Blackwell's Island. It was still night, but I could see from the faint bluish line on the horizon that dawn was not far off.
None of us spoke as we approached the small group of uniformed officers. We had no urge to speculate as to the state of the body. We'd know for certain soon enough.
As we came into the periphery of the light, one of the figures detached from the others and greeted us. Sergeant Mallory was a short, broad-shouldered man with an air of world-weary competence. He was young to have earned the rank of detective, early thirties, which meant he was either very smart or very well-connected. As his leather shoes showed signs of wear, I deduced the former, since a well-connected man would almost certainly be a wealthy man. It also implied honesty, which was a rare enough trait in any civil servant, but especially in law enforcement.
"Miss Bly," he said, looking John and me over with shrewd brown eyes. "I thought you were alone. Sometimes I doubt Officer Beane would remember his own mother's name if it weren't tattooed on his backside. Pardon, ladies. But he neglected to mention two additional civilians walking around my crime scene."
"They're here for Myrtle," Nellie said quickly. "This is Harrison Fearing Pell and her associate, John Weston. Myrtle's on the case." She crossed her arms and stuck her chin out, as if daring him to cross the great detective.
Mallory frowned. "What case? And how did you get here so quickly? I only got the call an hour or so ago."
"My sister noticed a certain pattern emerging," I said carefully. "Killings where the victim's face has been covered. All in the last week."
"All?"
"Two others. Becky Rickard and Raffaele Forsizi."
"I know the cases," Mallory said warily.
"We wondered if they were connected so we've been waiting to see if it happened again," I said, trying not to fidget under his intense gaze. "Myrtle would have come herself but she's been hired by the

Pinkertons. I'm here on her behalf."
"I know the whole department is leaky as a sieve, but this is ridiculous," Mallory muttered through his mustache. "You've beaten the morgue boys!" He thought hard for a moment and seemed to reach a decision. "Alright, listen. I may regret this, but Myrtle did me a good turn once, when I was fresh to the force, and I owe her one. However," and he held up a wagging finger, "that doesn't mean you get something for nothing. I'll let you have a look, tell me what you think, but I want to know what Myrtle knows and why she thinks these cases are tied together." He blew out a long breath. "Which I pray they aren't, because the good people of New York have been through enough this year."
I decided right then that I liked Sergeant Mallory. He wasn't arrogant and inflexible, like some of the detectives Myrtle complained about. And he seemed like he wanted to catch the killer badly enough that he'd take advice from a woman—and risk the ridicule of his colleagues.
I also knew I was navigating some tricky waters. I didn't want to out-and-out lie to a police officer, which was obstruction of justice and who knew what else, but I wasn't ready to break a promise to my client yet either. So I danced around the truth, keeping Brady's and Straker's names more or less out of it, and sticking to the similarities in the crimes. I mentioned the impression of remorse or ambiguity, and the possibility that more than one person could be involved. When I described the Rickard scene, and the writing that was found there, Mallory nodded in grim resignation.
"Miss Bly, I'll determine which details can be published and which will be held back, agreed?"
"Agreed," Nellie said.
"We managed to identify her fairly quickly," Mallory said. "She had a note from her dentist in her pocket recommending cocaine toothache drops. As it happens, one of my men recognized the name—Anne Marlowe. She was an actress, performing down at Niblo's. He saw the show with his wife last week. We checked and the description seems to match, although to be honest, it's hard to know for sure. What's left of her is…well, you'll see in a minute. Come on."
The whole time we'd been talking, my eyes kept drifting towards the center of that spotlight. But my view of what lay there was blocked by two patrolmen and the corner of the grain elevator. Now, we followed Mallory a dozen steps to the open space at the very edge of the East River where what remained of Anne Marlowe lay face-up in the thin rain.


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