Dead Ringer Book Cover Dead Ringer
(Gaslamp Gothic #5)
Kat Ross
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling, Urban Fantsay,
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019

Dead Ringer
Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic #5)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019
Genres: AdultFantasyParanormalRetelling

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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.

I am reviewing here a 5 book series – urban fantasy and gothic. The Blog Tour is for book 5. It was suggested we read books 3 and 4 if we wanted first to get background, but having started book 3 I decided I needed to go right back to book 1 to start the story from the beginning. Although I then discovered that these characters originated in yet another series! Which I will read in due course.

Book 1 is linked but not closely to book 2 and thus book 3 but it is the characters in the books that follow through. Each book of the first 4 is a story about a main set of characters, with the characters from the previous books playing a minor role. In book 5 all the characters come together.

Each book has 2 main characters that emerge who are not quite what they appear on the surface – for a start the 2 in book 2 are very much older. It is likely that the female character – currently known as Vivienne – was born in the time of Sumer and ran away from home to become bonded magically to a Daeva.

Now a Daeva is thought to be a very nasty creature according to the folklore.  In the Avestan language (not spoken but used in the old Zoroastrian scriptures), this was a term for a supernatural entity with a disagreeable character. The Zoroastrians believe them to be creatures of the shadows with their principal activities -according to the Persians – as being the creators of chaos and disorder, and battling goodness. They are a Principal amongst the demonic infernal hordes. But in these Kat Ross stories, perhaps due to their bonds with humans, they are actually battling for good and against evil. In the Kat Ross series the Daeva’s original name was Achaemenes and he was at least 2000 years old.

Vivienne had been bonded to a Daeva before him but she had died during the battle when they had freed the Daeva slaves from their mistress.

Vivienne shows her origins by the goddesses she worships. There are 3 major ones.

1.Mami aka Ninhwsag – who was a Babylonian goddess who created mankind from her bottom which was made of clay and blood.

2. Kavi was 1 of the 10 Mahavidyas – which are a set of Sakta and Budddhist goddesses and is the destroyer of evil forces.  The Sakta were a set of Hindu goddesses where Sakti means power. They are also called Durga who was known in the 16th century as a Great Goddess, Ma and Devi. The Sakta Pethas are places of worship for many goddesses.

3. And Inanna (Innuna), a Mesopotamian goddess who had many roles – love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. In Sumer she was also known as Isktar.

All these goddesses took on different names according to the culture in which they were worshipped but all tended to originate from the Sumerian era.

I found the whole series to be addictive and full of interesting things to learn – abut ancient goddesses for instance, the details that emerged about the Zoroastrian religion – which is very ancient but still practiced in India for instance. I know that the Indian steel magnates Tata are Parsees or Zoroastrian priests who fled to Mumbai from persecution in Iran. Near Mumbai there is a Parsee retreat village called Matheran and I have stayed there in the hotel that the Tatas use. Matheran is a very interesting place as you can only travel by horse or foot in the forests and village. And is now ‘sold’ as an eco-village of course.  You come up from Mumbai on a toy train which is great fun. The hotel we stayed at is called the Verandah in the Forest , see the photo below, and the name and the situation were very appealing to me…  just one warning, don’t sit down in the forest as the ants are very bitey!

So Matheran embodies much of the Parsee religion.

I am now looking forward to reading more by this author as I found the work original and well written with a good style and plenty of stuff happening to keep you interested… and exploring the characters in different books was a good concept.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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