Genre: steampunk / urban fantasy
As the proprietor of Disenchanted & Co. in a steampunk version of America, Charmian “Kit” Kittredge makes her living solving magical crimes. But when a snobbish lady begs for help, saving her reputation might very well cost Kit her life.
Doing a favor for deathmage Lucien Dredmore, Kit agrees to interview a newly widowed lady as a potential client. Upon meeting, however, she learns that the woman in question is none other than Lady Eugenia Bestly, president of the Rumsen Ladies Decency Society—someone who once led a vicious campaign to ruin Kit’s life. Ironically Lady Bestly now lives in fear herself, for the press is about to unmask her husband as the savage “Wolfman” who died while terrorizing the city.
As monstrous rampages continue to occur, Kit soon determines there is more than one Wolfman, and that they may themselves be victims of evil players. While avoiding both mechanized assassins and attempts by Dredmore and Chief Inspector Tom Doyle to take her under their protection, Kit follows a tangled path that leads from a prestigious gentlemen’s club fronting a hellish secret to a vengeful native tribe and dangerous, ancient magics.
I really loved book 1 in this series, and could not wait long to dive into book two. But now I am sad because I just found out, it will be the last one in the series for now. The sales are not high enough for the publisher’s taste. Still, I love Lynn Viehl’s books and I will follow her in whatever she is working on now.
After saving the city in the previous books, life is going well for Kit. She has enough work to keep both her and her grandfather busy. She also still has two suitors whom she does not want to give into. Lord Lucien Dreadmore who is a death mage, and Inspector Dom Doyle, who wants to marry her and have her life with his parents on their farm just outside of the city. Kit doesn’t think either one of them will let her do her job without interfering. But she likes both of them. Until of course they say or do something that puts up her hackles. Men.
Lord Dredmore wants Kit to do a favor for a client of his, not knowing what this woman has done to her, years ago. But Kit is bigger than holding a grudge, and is determined to help Lady Bestly when she finds out her secret. If the ton finds out that her husband was the infamous Wolfman, raping females in town and killing randomly, she will be ostracized from society immediately. And if she does not remarry in two months, she will lose her fortune and house to the next male heir in line. A female cannot inherit from her husband, no matter it was her dowry first. (America is still owned by England in this series, they lost the war).
Kit promises to investigate, and refuses Lord Dredmore’s help. But something was wrong in Lady Bestly’s marriage, even though she claims her husband was perfect. It does not appear as if he was living there, except in his study. The only lead Kit has is to his gentleman’s club, a place where she as a female is certainly not welcome.
But danger follows Kit wherever she goes, as more Wolfmen show up, and Kit is almost raped herself, trying to safe a trolley full of women and children. It is then that she discovers the Wolfmen are part mechanical, and even in the hospital, she wants to investigate further. Lucky her good friend Docket knows the morgue doctor, and he introduces them. The good man is horrified that Kit wants to see the bodies, but he is also impressed with her knowledge of the mechanicals inside of them. One of the bodies is still ticking though ...
When Kit gets attacked again in the hospital, Inspector Doyle wants to take her into his protective custody. But a Native infiltrates the police station, secretly helping Kit heal her arm with his magic. Why does he keep calling her Little Fox?
And how is it possible that all the women who reported the rape, are pregnant? And how many more have never dared to report any attack on them? How many on the Hill, as most of the Wolfman turn out to be the missing men from the upper society ... After all, a husband cannot legally rape his own wife ...
A very complicated plot for Kit and her grandfather Merlin to unravel, with the help of Dredmore and the Inspector, a lot of surprises and intriguing plot lines. I enjoyed the inclusion of the Natives in this book, and finding out a tiny little bit more about them. Again one of the Aramanthans is behind it all, but Kit does not intend to give up, even if it may cost her her own life ...
And someone else keeps sending her little packages, automatons with bombs inside, trying to kill her.
I loved this story very much, and if I was Kit, I would not be able to choose between her two suitors either, and I think I would like to live my own life instead of being a wife who has to obey her husband in everything. There are so many great secondary characters in these books, who add lots of flavour to the story. The old Gert, who keeps believing that Kit is evil, but whose magics don’t work on Kit at all. Docket, the engineer and inventor who lives in the basement of Kit’s office building, and who is always working on nifty gadgets. Kits’ two best friends, one a rich modiste, the other a rich madam. It is a very motley crew, and I love their interactions with Kit.
The mystery was awesome, filled with suspense and intrigue, and I never would have been able to foresee what was happening on the next page. I am really enjoying this mixture of historical mystery with steampunk and great lifelike characters.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian