Come one, come all, and come as you are – welcome to our Steampunk Revelry! Dance, sing, kiss the absinthe fairy and make a wish… Today we celebrate Viola Carr’s new release, THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE!
This is the first book in my new Electric Empire series – it’s an edgy, gender-flipped, darkly romantic steampunk retelling of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde.
Magic, mystery, and romance mix in this edgy steampunk fantasy retelling of the horror classic—in which Dr. Eliza Jekyll is the daughter of the infamous Dr. Henry Jekyll.
In an electric-powered Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets. Now, a new killer is splattering London in blood, drugging beautiful women and slicing off their limbs. Catching the Chopper will make Eliza’s career – or get her burned. Because Eliza has a dark secret. A seductive second self, set free by her father’s forbidden magical elixir: wild, impulsive Lizzie Hyde.
When the Royal Society sends their Enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she’s a sorcerer, Eliza must resist the elixir with all her power. But as the Chopper case draws her into London’s luminous magical underworld, Eliza will need all the help she can get. Even if it means getting close to Lafayette, who harbors an evil curse of his own.
Even if it means risking everything and setting vengeful Lizzie free …
Four Things You Need for an Excellent Steampunk Adventure
1. A brilliant, mad, adventurous heroine
Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, using her wacky steampunk gadgets to hunt criminals – but by night, she’s Lizzie Hyde, a reckless adventuress who seeks out dark pleasures in the luminous magical underworld of London.
2. A hero who’s worthy of her
Eliza is fiercely independent – she doesn’t like accepting help, especially not from men, who usually laugh at her efforts to be a scientist and think ladies ought to stick to embroidery. Remy Lafayette is arrogant, charming, talented, smart, and doesn’t have a chauvinistic bone in his body. Everything that’s certain to annoy her.
3. A dastardly nemesis… or two
Eliza’s latest case involves The Chopper, a compulsive killer who hacks off his victims’ limbs. But The Chopper isn’t the only lunatic killer she’s ever hunted… and when she works part-time in an insane asylum as a mad-doctor, she tends to meet her erstwhile adversaries.
4. A sidekick
Eliza has Lizzie, of course, but she’s not the type of sidekick you can order about. Lizzie wants to do her own thing… usually involving too much gin and sultry forbidden pleasures. Hey, she’s just trying to help.
Read the excerpt, and join the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post for a chance to win this pretty prize:
Start: February 13, midnight Pacific time
Ends: February 18, midnight Pacific time.
Here’s a special, exclusive excerpt, at a crime scene where Eliza first meets her cocky and talented adversary, Captain Remy Lafayette of the feared Royal Society, who has the power to lock her up – or worse – if he catches her practising unorthodox science…
* * * * * * *
Lafayette rested a cocky hand on his sword. The iron badge pinned to his lapel was engraved with the Royal’s motto, fine silver letters glinting in pale sun: NULLIUS IN VERBA. “You didn’t answer my question, Miss … ?”
“Doctor,” she corrected coolly. “Doctor Eliza Jekyll. And since you ask, Captain, I’ve no argument with the Philosopher’s science. Just with the mis-educated apes who interpret him. Do excuse me.” And she stepped neatly around him and crouched again by the murdered body.
Ha ha! Mis-educated apes, eh? That’ll tell him. Jesus, you can’t even insult the man properly, let alone make a decent effort at flirting …
Fuming, she kept her gaze down and yanked out another swab to check for matter under the fingernails. Offending this Captain Lafayette was probably not the wisest course. The Royal had burned poor Mr. Faraday. They’d not think twice about doing the same to her, Eliza Jekyll, medical practitioner of dubious orthodoxy, daughter of an infamous dabbler in arcane diabolicals.
God help her if they ever discovered the rest of it.
Inspector Griffin was already covering. He had his career to think about. “I do apologize, Captain. If there’s anything you require—”
“Naturally.” Captain Lafayette cut him off breezily. “Witness statements, drawings, that sort of thing. I’ll have my people examine your findings. You know the drill. It’s all just routine.”
“Naturally.” Griffin bristled like an angry badger, but with ill grace, he handed over his notebook.
Lafayette digested the inspector’s careful handwriting in a few seconds and tossed the book back to Griffin. Then he squatted beside Eliza, his shiny black boots creaking. “What do you make of this?”
She eyed him coolly, slipping her sample into a glass tube and jamming in the cork. “Are you addressing me, Captain?”
Brr. Chilly in here, ain’t it? Royal or not, he’s a man like any other. Lift them prim-and-prissy skirts o’ yours, and orthodoxy will be the last doxy on his mind …
“You’re the police physician, aren’t you?” He prodded the corpse’s lips, exposing the small white teeth. He wore a silver chain around his wrist, locked with a seal of some kind. How odd.
Eliza swatted his big hand away. “Kindly cease contaminating my crime scene, sir.”
“Contaminating? What do you mean, pray?”
She sighed. Crime scene science was new and mysterious. Few understood it. “Every contact leaves a trace. Our villain, however careful, has unwittingly sprinkled the scene with clues. Clues I am unlikely to unravel once you’ve smeared your clumsy paws all over them.”
He flashed her his smile, a half-sheathed weapon. “Clumsy? Ouch. And I’ve such a reputation for elegance.”
She held up her slim hands, which she’d encased in white cotton gloves.
“Ah! I see. My apologies, Doctor.” He peered at the wounds on the body, this time careful not to touch. “What would you say about the time of death?”
She’d already opened her mouth to retort to some snide remark of his about lady doctors and their hysterical fancies, and her cheeks warmed. “I’m sorry, did you just ask for my opinion?”
He grinned, full force this time, charming as any swell ruffian. “I’m a Royal Society investigator, madam, not an ignorant. Show me science, not detectives’ guesswork.”
She glared over her spectacles. “Your flattery is wasted on me, sir.”
“Is it?” His blue eyes sparkled. “What a shame. It’s the part I’m so good at.”
His good humor was infectious. She refused to contract it. “Then kindly flatter yourself with an explanation. What, pray, is the Royal’s interest in this case?”
“That remains to be seen, doesn’t it? Time of death?”
* * * * * * * * *
Want to see more?
You can read the first chapter on my website.
Now for the prize 🙂