Photographs & Phantoms

The Gaslight Chronicles, #2

Kendall Lake is only going to Brighton because his father asked him to when the head of the Order of the Round Table mentioned that his great niece was asking for help. Kendall knows he, as a Knight, is way over qualified for whatever this photographer needs and he figures this should just be a quick easy trip. When he gets to the address he was sent, he is surprised that it’s not on the main road and that the spinster photographer isn’t old or gray haired at all!

Amy Deland has noticed a smudge on 6 photographs and within in days the people the smudge is on are dead. The smudge to her appears to be some sort of serpent but is she seeing things? She’s scared that she’s causing the deaths which led her to asking for help. And, at 28, she’s a spinster but she’s definitely not old or gray haired.

Kendall can feel a presence but can’t figure out exactly what it is. He teletypes for help. What transpires is much more than anyone expected, personally and professionally. Kendall is in for a life changing experience with Amy as the cause.

This is the second of Cindy Spencer Pape’s steampunk The Gaslight Chronicles series. Characters from the first book make an appearance in this one but you don’t need to read the first to enjoy this story.

The world that is developed is a wonderful mixture of Victorian England and steam technology. From dirigibles to mechanical arms, each bit is like finding a wonderful unique surprise. As advanced as some things are, they seem to mesh well with the old. There are no major issues and the world is seamless. It’s an absolutely wonderful place to visit.

The main characters of Kendall and Amy are done well. They are interesting. Each is strong and professional but they also have a warmer personal side. Family is important to both yet neither plan on marrying anytime soon. In fact, Amy doesn’t expect to marry at all. What they think is going to be a couple of days of no strings or commitment sex could change all their plans.

This is a fairly short story though. It’s less than 100 pages. Unfortunately, it makes this story feel rushed, or as there isn’t enough time to get it all in there. I would have liked to see it expanded and developed a bit more but it’s still an interesting story.

I enjoyed this story. Though short, it has all the elements it needs to keep a reader’s interest; terrific plot, interesting characters, an evil villain and sex. What else could you want in a book?

Steampunk fans will thoroughly enjoy this book and this series. Those that have never tried steampunk, might want to give this one a try. It’s a fantastic representation of the genre.

Book Blurb for Photographs & Phantoms

Brighton, 1855

As a member of the Order of the Round Table, Kendall Lake is overqualified to be investigating strange phenomena at a seaside photography studio. But since the photographer is related to the Order's most powerful sorcerer, Kendall reluctantly boards a dirigible to Brighton.

Amy Deland is haunted by a shadow that appears in some of her recent portraits. In each case, the subject died within days of the sitting. Does she have her grandmother's gift of foresight, or has she somehow caused the deaths?

As Kendall and Amy search for answers, their investigation draws them together in a most improper way—but it seems the evil presence in the studio is determined to keep them apart…

20,000 words

Night Owl Reviews Jun, 2012 4.00