Tag Archives: Fiction

Dead Ringer: Review

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

Book Reviews - Loved It


Content Rating: Adult content including violence.

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.


If the X-Files were set in turn of the century New York Dead Ringer would make a great episode.

I’m not much of a fan of mysteries, but Dead Ringer is a tension-building fast paced story that has enough of the fantasy elements, plus good characters that kept me interested.

The whole Gaslamp Gothic series is very moody. The dark streets of the seedier parts of New York can practically be felt (I was just glad I couldn’t actually smell the sewers.) I could perfectly picture the stately manor of the Moran family and the Central Park gardens on a sunny afternoon. And I wanted to close my eyes with Harry when she is creeping up the steps and has to navigate the one squeaky spot. Mood in this book is 💯.

I enjoyed coming back to Harry and John after spending two books of the series centered on Gabriel  and Anne. And although you could start with the  The Daemoniac, the first book in the series, you don’t need to. Like a good Sherlock Holmes novel Dead Ringer carries its own weight, and although reading the other books will give you more of a backstory with the characters and world-building it isn’t necessary to enjoying this entry.

Kat Ross always has good characters in her books, as in deep, thoughtful well-written characters that you want to take out to tea and spend an afternoon talking to, even the criminal mastermind James Moran would be interesting company for an afternoon.

Harry and John have great chemistry and I hope their slow burn romance will have some big payout in a future book.

Bottom Line:

Dead Ringer is a moody gothic supernatural mystery that I think will appeal to readers across genre lines. It’s just plain good.

From the corner of my eye, I sensed him studying me. “What?” I snapped.

“You’re prettier than her.”

I didn’t need to ask who he meant. “Don’t waste your time with flattery,” I replied scornfully.

“It’s not flattery, simply a fact. And here’s another fact. She’s smarter.”

I scowled and Moran gave me a crooked little smile. “But not by much.”

Read my reviews of other books in this series:

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play


🤩 Leave a comment to enter my giveaway for a kindle copy of A Bad Breed by Kat Ross.. 💬 Every blog comment between now and Valentines Day (Feb 14th) will get you one entry the giveaway of this darkly magical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast. Giveaway is International, so long as you can receive a link to redeem a Kindle book from Amazon.

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Top Ten Tuesday #2


Top Ten Tues

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.

June 7: Ten Reasons I Love Dystopian Fiction

(In no particular order)

  1. Dystopian fiction often takes an idea from sociology and stretches it to the limit. Once upon a time I was a sociology major. It’s interesting to connect the dots, to see how the ideas that have been talked about in my classes play out in a fictional world.
  2. The setting is familiar and new at the same time. There are usually bits and pieces of the modern world, places and things we’d recognize. The authors like to surprise the readers with the ruins of the modern world.
  3. There is so much variety. Like any other genre it has it’s troupes (super teenagers,) but I love how there are also so many different ways that the world could fall into chaos, and then be rebuilt.
  4. Allegory. Most dystopian fiction serves as an allegory usually exaggerating an excess of society. Such as live TV shows being taken to the extreme in books like the Running Man and the Hunger Games. Even if it’s not an intentional allegory, most of it can be read as one. How could you not read a downfall and rebuilding of society as an allegory? Even unintentionally there are sure to be political or cultural undertones.
  5. It plays with the idea of authority. It is easy for us to view authority the way its portrayed in dystopian stories. In most dystopian stories the leaders are corrupt, oppressive,  they keep secrets, and do or allow terrible things. Corporate or military powers that have gone out of control. Political leaders who lie to us, and manipulate us, etc.
  6. Hero’s who rise up against this authority.
  7. Philosophy lessons. My philosophy professor hated making any connection between fiction and philosophy. But for many the ideas of philosophy are too hard to reach, too abstract. Fiction often borrows from philosophy and in dystopian fiction it is particularly strong. For example, I can think of a dozen stories that use Plato’s cave.
  8. Lies we accept. Many people live with the feeling that we are being lied to, that the truth is just below to surface. Dystopian fiction preys on that fear, and in return is cathartic too. (This also ties in with the philosophy lessons.)
  9. Coming of age. I enjoy the coming of age sub-genre. Which is probably why I’ve made reading the Newbery books a goal. These days dystopian fiction is pretty much all coming of age tales (goodbye to the days of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.) What’s really interesting about the dystopian version is that it’s always a coming of age in a time of extreme adversity, and usually the main character who comes of age makes decisions that ultimately change their society.
  10. It’s a guilty pleasure.