Geologist Petra Dee arrives in Wyoming looking for clues to her father's disappearance years before.What she finds instead is Temperance, a dying Western town with a gold rush past and a meth-infested present.But under the town's dust and quiet, an old power is shifting. When bodies start turning up - desiccated and twisted skeletons that Petra can't scientifically explain - her investigations land her in the middle of a covert war between the town's most powerful interests.
Petra's father wasn't the only one searching for the alchemical secrets of Temperance, and those still looking are now ready to kill.
Armed with nothing but shaky alliances, a pair of antique guns, and a relic she doesn't understand, the only thing Petra knows for sure is that she and her coyote sidekick are going to have to move fast, or die next.ebook, 316 pagesPublished March 24th 2015 by Harper Voyager Impulse
Three stars: A creative and dark Urban Fantasy.
Petra Dee assess the small Airstream Trailer. This is to be her home for the next few months.
Petra is a geologist assigned to the small town of Temperance, Wyoming. Petra chose Temperance because it was where she last heard from her father years ago. Once she is settled, Petra quickly learns there is something not quite right about the small town. It starts when a local drunk, Frankie, attacks Gabe, a ranch hand. Town folks whisper that the ranch hands for Sal Rutherford aren't quite right. When mysterious bodies turn up on Sal's ranch, Petra dives in wanting to uncover the truth. What she digs up is far more deadly and dangerous than she ever anticipated. Will Petra survive in Temperance?
What I Liked:
- I was excited to read Ms. Bickle's latest book as I am a big fan of her The Hallowed Ones Series. With this book, Ms. Bickle delivers a dark, creepy UF tale that dragged me in. If you are looking for a UF that is original, check this one out.
- There are several dark forces at work in the small town. Creepy calcified bone infused bodies are turning up on Mr. Rutherford's ranch. Then you have the mysterious ranch hands led by Gabe, who must live near the hanging tree. Across town, a ruthless alchemist holds people hostage with the promise of meth and other drugs. I thought the world building and concepts were exciting, mysterious and creepy.
- Petra is a gal that took me a bit of time to warm up to, but by the end, I admired her courage and tenacity. Petra is carrying some baggage from an accident that occurred a few months ago. In Temperance, she is hoping to find peace, but instead she encounters sinister folks and strange occurrences. When folks urge her to leave it alone, she refuses, and even when she is threatened, Petra keeps digging. She has lot gumption, and I liked her spirit.
- Sig, the coyote, stole the show for me. He becomes Petra's first friend and ally in Temperance. He is so much more than a coyote. He is a spirit familiar who protects Petra, and helps her to uncover a mysterious alchemical pendant. He is more like a trusty dog than a coyote. Loved him.
- The secondary characters were exciting and diverse. My favorites were Maria the social worker and her strange, drunk uncle, Frankie. Frankie especially has some sort of psychic abilities not to mention a rather shocking identity secret. The villains are both evil and vile and super creepy. I thought all of the characters were interesting and well written.
- The story is thought provoking and intriguing. I liked the ideas and I am hoping this is the first book in a series because I would like to know much more.
And The Not So Much:
- My biggest issue with this one was that it ended abruptly and I was left with plot holes and questions. It wasn't clear what really happened to Petra's father, plus who was paying his bills? The fate of Sal and the hanged man is unclear. I was also left wanting to know more about Maria, Frankie and Cal. I didn't understand all the symbolism either. The final scene with Gabe left me wondering if there was more story to tell. Plus, the situation with Cal felt like a cliffhanger. It honestly felt like this one was just getting started when it ended.
- I was excited about the hanged man and the Lunaria Tree. I was left a bit disappointed in this story line because I felt like I was just beginning to scrape the surface. I truly think that this book needs a sequel.
- The whole thing with drunk Frankie was surprising. I can't go into details, but I was left wanting to know way more about Frankie.
Dark Alchemy was an interesting read, and what I hope is the beginning of a new series. I loved the dark unsettling vibe presented in the small town of Temperance along with the strange hanged men. However, I was disappointed with the abrupt end that left a few holes and many unanswered questions. Right now this appears to be a stand alone, but I am hoping for more.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.