Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wishlist Reads: September 2016

Like many readers, my TBR grows faster than it shrinks. I find a subject that interests me and titles start piling up one right after the other. With so many bookmarked, I thought it'd be fun to sort through and feature five titles a month here at Flashlight Commentary. 

We're gearing up for Halloween here and the mood to permeating my thoughts! The following titles jumped out at me for their dark and/or haunting story lines and the best part is they are all part of my obnoxiously large Kindle library! 

═══════════════════════════ ❧  ═══════════════════════════

A poised, striking young woman, remembered as the Beautiful Stranger, is at the heart of this great mystery and ghost story. She died a violent and mysterious death in 1892, amid rumors of dark crimes and infidelities involving men in high places. She is the famous ghost who haunts the U.S. National Landmark Hotel del Coronado, near San Diego.

Gorgeous and dignified, she checked into the Hotel del Coronado, near San Diego, on Thanksgiving Day 1892. She used a false name (Lottie A. Bernard. She carried herself like a great stage actress, as witnesses testified, at a hasty and incomplete coroner’s inquest that the author suggests was part of a coverup to protect the hotel’s owner, mega-wealthy John Spreckels.

Five days after checking in, she lay dead on a beach stairwell. She had a single gunshot to the head, and the revolver lay beside her. Was it murder, or suicide? Ample reason exists for either scenario.

In the 1890s, the telegraph was the Internet of its day, fueled by competing press barons, and a public ever hungry for scandal and dark stories (what else is new?). Instantly, the story became a national sensation in the Yellow Press. Her identity was never established for certain—was she gorgeous young runaway Lizzie Wyllie from Detroit, pregnant out of wedlock and ‘ruined’ by Victorian mores, or was she the ruthless and scheming housemaid Kate Morgan from Iowa?

According to legends, the dead woman was the wife of a gambler named Tom Morgan. Together, they were grifters and cardsharps, robbing men on Transcontinental Railroad coaches and escaping at the next stop each time before they could be caught. By some accounts, Tom Morgan was a murderer, who killed men in cold blood when it suited him.

Rumors instantly swirled in the national press—that she was a woman of loose morals, that she consorted with men in the highest circles, that her dark deeds were part of high-level conspiracies. There are hundreds of promising threads, tantalizing clues, and ultimately just baffling and disappointing dead ends—mystery piled upon mystery, including the Mystery of the Missing Day encapsulated in the larger tale.

Larger the tale does become, and truth as always is stranger than fiction. For a fast, atmospheric thriller, read Lethal Journey. If you want more detail, read the author’s painstaking, scholarly analysis in the nonfiction Dead Move: Kate Morgan and the Haunting Mystery of Coronado, Rev. 2nd Ed. (Clocktower Books, 2008). His careful analysis ties every loose end together, unlike any other book on the subject. His is the first plausible explanation of the Coronado enigma of 1892.

The Beautiful Stranger, in death, became the epitome of that greatest of Victorian heroines, the Fallen Angel. Mourned by millions around the nation, she ironically ended up in a humble and unmarked grave outside San Diego. Her numbered graveside, in the Market Street Cemetery, can be viewed today.

“Exceptional. Mystery, crime scene drama, and more than enough romance to keep the heart pumping blend seamlessly into an enthralling read that kept me glued to the pages.”
—Kim Harrison

“A delectably dark paranormal thriller. I’ve always been a fan of Pettersson’s work, but she knocks it out of the park with this one.”
—Kelley Armstrong

Vicki Pettersson, author of the New York Times bestselling Signs of the Zodiac urban fantasy novels, breaks out with The Taken. The first book in her sexy, supernatural noir mystery series, Celestial Blues, The Taken features a former p.i.-turned-fallen angel and a beautiful, tough Las Vegas reporter—the most unorthodox pair of avengers since Jeaniene Frost’s Cat and Bones—joining forces to confront a terror that threatens to wreak murderous havoc in both the mortal and the immortal worlds. A dark and delicious mix of noir mystery, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance, The Taken is a must-read treat for the insatiable fans of Nalini Singh’s angel books, and for the many, many readers who have made Kelley Armstrong, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, and Laurell K. Hamilton fantasy superstars.

New York, 1891: a rapidly changing city, torn between lamplight and electric light, where the burgeoning steel and railway industries attract a flood of humanity from every corner of the globe, fuelling cut-throat gangs, corruption and vice.

A prostitute is found brutally murdered. Immediately fear starts to spread. The victim bears the same hallmarks as Jack the Ripper's recent killing spree in England. Could it be that the Ripper has crossed the Atlantic to fresh killing grounds? Or is this simply a copycat murder?

To solve the case, one of the original English Ripper pathologists, Finley Jameson, is teamed up with Joseph Argenti, one of the new 'untouchable' detectives, hand-picked by a New York Mayor eager to fight corruption.

But Michael Tierney, the city's leading gangster, has his own ideas about how the city should be run. And as the body-count rises, and Jameson & Argenti are taunted by the killer in open letters, they find themselves fighting not just to save the next victim, but for the city's very soul.

At the turn of the 19th century, bacteriological research has made a tremendous leap. When epidemics were still untamed and claimed thousands of lives, Pasteur and Koch isolated deadly bacteria to develop vaccines. Biological warfare was but a small step away...

In Victorian London's cesspool of crime and disease, a series of murders remains undiscovered until a cholera victim is found floating in the city's drinking water supply. Dr Anton Kronberg, England's best bacteriologist, is called upon to investigate and finds evidence of abduction and medical maltreatment. While Scotland Yard has little interest in pursuing the case, Kronberg pushes on and crosses paths with Sherlock Holmes. The detective immediately discovers Kronberg's secret - a woman masquerading as a man in order to practice medicine - a criminal deed that could land her in prison for years to come. But both must join forces to stop a crime so monstrous, it outshines Jack the Ripper's deeds in brutality and cold-bloodedness.

Warning: This book contains foul language, non-explicit sex-scenes, explicit dissection scenes, violence, and considerable female power.

A severed head and a cry of “Witchcraft!” start a frenzied witchhunt in a sleepy German village. When Konrad von Marburg, a Church inquisitor, arrives on the scene, innocent and guilty alike find themselves subject to the inquisitor’s violent form of purification.

Two knights of the Ordo Militum Vindicis Intactae, Andreas and Raphael, soon arrive in the village. Though each journeys on a separate path, they quickly band together to confront the inquisitor as he whips the townspeople into a righteous bloodlust.

When her dead husband’s severed head appears on her doorstep, a local woman is charged with practicing heretical rituals, it is up to the knights to discover the truth behind the brutal murder before the torches are lit and the woman is burned at the stake.

Their task proves daunting, though, as the townspeople have their own long-buried secrets and sins that they want to keep hidden—even if it means allowing the sacrifice of an innocent woman.

With Sinner, Mark Teppo forges the first link in a chain that leads to the world-shattering events of the Mongoliad series.

═══════════════════════════ ❧  ═══════════════════════════


Stephanie at Layered Pages
Colleen at A Literary Vacation (coming soon)
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired (coming soon)
Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Heather at The Maiden's Court (coming soon)

No comments: