The shadow of Bram Stoker’s Dracula looms large over the darkest mystery yet faced by Victorian detective Charles Maddox—as the acclaimed author of The Solitary House and A Fatal Likeness once again pays homage to a literary classic, in a chilling tale of superstition, dangerous science, and shocking secrets.
When an Austrian nobleman offers a substantial donation to the University of Oxford, Charles Maddox is called on to investigate the generous benefactor. It is a decidedly mundane task for the increasingly renowned criminal investigator, but Maddox welcomes the chance to trade London’s teeming streets for the comforts of a castle in the Viennese countryside. Comfort, however, is in short supply once Maddox steps onto foreign soil—and into the company of the mysterious Baron Von Reisenberg.
A man of impeccable breeding, the Baron is nonetheless the subject of frightened whispers and macabre legends. Though Maddox isn’t one to entertain supernatural beliefs, the dank halls and foreboding shadows of the castle begin to haunt his sleep with nightmares. But in the light of day the veteran detective can find no evidence of the sinister—until a series of disturbing incidents prove him gravely mistaken and thrust him into a harrowing quest to expose whatever evil lurks behind the locked doors of the Baron’s secretive domain. After a terrifying encounter nearly costs him his sanity, Maddox is forced to return home defeated—and still pursued by the horror he’s unearthed.
Owing to a string of gruesome murders committed by an elusive predator branded the Vampire, London is on the verge of widespread panic. But there’s little doubt in Maddox’s mind who is responsible. And whether his enemy proves merely mortal—or something more—Maddox must finally end the monstrous affair . . . before more innocent blood is spilled.
Praise for The Pierced Heart
“Another tour de force with a striking finale from [Lynn] Shepherd, who specializes in turning iconic novels into clever, complicated mysteries for her tormented hero to solve.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Shepherd’s [plots] are darkly serious and feel very real. . . . The idea that Stoker’s novel was somehow inspired by events surrounding the subject of Maddox’s investigation seems tantalizing plausible. Another sterling entry in this imaginative series.”—Booklist
“A heart-thumping climax . . . The Pierced Heart is a clever and seductive pastiche of genres [that] builds to an electrifying and stunning dénouement. A stylish and gripping Gothic revival.”—Lancashire Evening Post
“Compulsively readable, suspenseful, and dark . . . The book is unsettling in the best way. . . . This is a new tale, with a similar creepy flavor that Dracula lovers will enjoy.”—Historical Novels Review
“With wonderfully descriptive passages and stunningly atmospheric prose, Shepherd spins a compelling, intricately plotted story which quite capably stands apart from the novel that inspires it.”—Book Batter (five stars)
“Captures some of the best elements of Dracula, while at the same time creating a thrilling and absorbing crime novel.”—The Dracula Society
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS
With The Solitary House, award-winning author Lynn Shepherd introduced readers to Charles Maddox, a brilliant private detective plying his trade on the gaslit streets of Dickensian London. Now, in this mesmerizing new novel of historical suspense, a mystery strikes disturbingly close to home—and draws Maddox into a world of literary legends, tormented souls, and a legacy of terrible secrets.
When his great-uncle, the master detective who schooled him in the science of “thief taking,” is mysteriously stricken, Charles Maddox fears that the old man’s breakdown may be directly related to the latest case he’s been asked to undertake. Summoned to the home of a stuffy nobleman and his imperious wife, Charles finds his investigative services have been engaged by no less than the son of celebrated poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his famed widow, Mary, author of the gothic classic Frankenstein. Approached by a stranger offering to sell a cache of rare papers allegedly belonging to the legendary late poet, the Shelley family seeks Maddox’s aid in discovering whether the precious documents are authentic or merely the work of an opportunistic charlatan.
But the true identity of his quarry is only the first of many surprises lying in wait for the detective. Hardly a conniving criminal, Claire Clairmont is in fact the stepsister of Mary Shelley, and their tortured history of jealousy, obsession, and dark deceit looms large over the affair Maddox must untangle. So, too, does the shadow of the brilliant, eccentric Percy Shelley, who found no rest from the private demons that pursued him. With each new detail unearthed, the investigation grows ever more disturbing. And when shocking evidence of foul play comes to light, Maddox’s chilling hunt for the truth leads him into the blackest reaches of the soul.
Steeped in finely wrought Victorian atmosphere, and rife with eye-opening historical revelations, A Fatal Likeness carries the reader ever deeper into a darkly magnetic tale of love and madness as utterly harrowing and heartbreaking as it is undeniably human.
This eBook edition includes the complete text of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a classic novel that’s referenced in A Fatal Likeness!
Praise for Lynn Shepherd and A Fatal Likeness
“As a piece of literary detective work, it’s stimulating and hugely fun—even brilliant.”—The Spectator
“A potent mixture of passion, intrigue, perversion, and betrayal, exploring the lives of Shelley, Byron, and their Romantic intimates through a Gothic lens.”—Lyndsay Faye, author of The Gods of Gotham
“A wonderfully ingenious novel: perceptive, gripping, and fascinating.”—Miranda Seymour, author of Mary Shelley
“Shepherd sets a new standard of brilliance in historical fiction with A Fatal Likeness. Her summoning of dead souls—Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and their most intimate circle—is so psychologically penetrating, it feels like truth. Exquisitely rendered in Shepherd’s pitch-perfect prose, this tale will haunt the reader long after its close.”—Stephanie Barron, author of Jane and the Canterbury Tale
“A literary thriller that weaves back and forth in time and gives some plausible answers to certain genuine biographical mysteries . . . [The novel’s] conclusion has haunted me ever since I finished the book. But if you want to know what it is, you’ll have to read it yourself.”—The Independent
Lynn Shepherd’s first acclaimed novel of historical suspense, Murder at Mansfield Park, brilliantly reimagined the era of Jane Austen. Now, in this spellbinding new triumph, she introduces an unforgettable duo of detectives into the gaslit world of Dickens.
London, 1850. Charles Maddox had been an up-and-coming officer for the Metropolitan police until a charge of insubordination abruptly ended his career. Now he works alone, struggling to eke out a living by tracking down criminals. Whenever he needs it, he has the help of his great-uncle Maddox, a legendary “thief taker,” a detective as brilliant and intuitive as they come.
On Charles’s latest case, he’ll need all the assistance he can get.
To his shock, Charles has been approached by Edward Tulkinghorn, the shadowy and feared attorney, who offers him a handsome price to do some sleuthing for a client. Powerful financier Sir Julius Cremorne has been receiving threatening letters, and Tulkinghorn wants Charles to—discreetly—find and stop whoever is responsible.
But what starts as a simple, open-and-shut case swiftly escalates into something bigger and much darker. As he cascades toward a collision with an unspeakable truth, Charles can only be aided so far by Maddox. The old man shows signs of forgetfulness and anger, symptoms of an age-related ailment that has yet to be named.
Intricately plotted and intellectually ambitious, The Solitary House is an ingenious novel that does more than spin an enthralling tale: It plumbs the mysteries of the human mind.
Praise for The Solitary House
“A Victorian tour de force . . . a must-read.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Dickens fans will rejoice. . . . [Lynn] Shepherd leaves the reader spellbound.”—Booklist (starred review)
“The star of Lynn Shepherd’s intriguing mystery novel is mid-century Victorian London. . . . Her suspenseful story and winning prose ably serve her literary conceit.”—Associated Press
“Intellectually enthralling, with dark twists at every turn . . . a haunting novel that will have you guessing until the last pages.”—Historical Novels Review
“Lynn Shepherd has a knack for setting literary murder puzzles. . . . This literary magpie-ism is a treat for book lovers, a little nudge-and-a-wink here and there which delights fans of these other works without alienating those who haven’t read them yet. . . . An intelligent, gripping and beautifully written novel.”—The Scotsman
“The reader is plunged into a complex but comprehensible labyrinth of deception.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)