A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.
Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.
When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.
Jack the Ripper and his/her story just intrigues me and when I first read about this book, I jumped at the chance to read it. It sounded dark and downright creepy and that is exactly what it is.
Nathalie is secretly writing the Morgue column for the local newspaper. She visits the local morgue to see the victims they have brought in and she writes about what she sees. On a day that a girl was pulled from the river and brought in, Nathalie has a vision of the girl’s murder. But it’s in the perspective of the murderer.
Rumors of the bodies that keep popping up start to circulate quickly throughout Paris. The murderer starts to send in letters and they are published into the paper. They know that more victims are to follow. As Nathalie starts to try to uncover the dark mystery of who is capable of committing these heinous crimes, she keeps that odd feeling that she is being watched/followed. Now she must solve this mystery before it’s too late for her.
Spectacle was an amazing mystery that leaves you guessing up until the very end. But that ending will leave you with goosebumps and loss of sleep. This transports you back in time and you feel as if you are actually there with the way things are described. If you loved Stalking Jack the Ripper, then this is your next obsession.
SPECTACLE BY JODIE LYNN ZDROK EXCERPT
Nathalie helped herself to the food and, despite her mother’s protests, cleaned up the kitchen afterward. Most every household task was a challenge for Maman since the fire in May. She was healing well enough but still getting used to this new, slower pace. She was restless now, not sure what to do with herself and especially her hands, which weren’t accustomed to stillness. Maman had been an apprentice at the House of Worth when she was Nathalie’s age and a seamstress ever since. She worked at the tailor shop, creating everything from everyday frocks to magnificent costumes for the Opéra Comique. Nathalie was proud of her mother’s talent and felt fortunate to have an abundance of skirts and dresses. Maman bought fabric at a significant discount from the shop’s supplier, and Nathalie was often clothed in silks, cottons, muslins, and velvets that her family would never otherwise be able to afford.
Maman had been helping out with costumes backstage at the Opéra Comique. Nathalie was proud of her mother’s talent and felt fortunate to have an abundance of skirts and dresses. Maman bought fabric at a significant discount from the shop’s supplier, and Nathalie was often clothed in silks, cottons, muslins, and velvets that her family would never otherwise be able to afford.
Maman had been helping out with costumes backstage at the Opéra Comique when it happened. One of the wings of the Salle Favart caught fire from a gas jet during a show, and life as her mother knew it was forever changed. Dozens of people died and many suffered burns; some people told Maman she was lucky to escape with burns only on her hands and arms. Maman always thanked them politely, as if she hadn’t heard it many times before. Nathalie, however, knew her mother was devastated by those very scarred, painful hands and the memory of how nimble they once had been.
As much as Maman claimed she could still sew, her inefficiency frustrated her, and it was clear she wasn’t ready to return to the tailor shop. Even arranging her chignon, the color of nutmeg and always so tidy, was a struggle some days. She rejected the doctor’s assessment that she might never regain sufficient movement in her hands and fingers, and she made sure she kept her hands as active as possible.
And so half-finished dresses with luscious fabrics and practical cottons and ornamental beads and sensible buttons hung throughout the apartment. Ghosts on dress forms, reminding Maman of loss and happier days. More than once Nathalie had suggested taking them down, but her mother refused.
Nathalie tore her article from the back of the journal and put it on the table as Maman talked about her morning errands at the marketplace, telling a story about a woman who’d tried to steal mushrooms by stuffing them in her cleavage. “May I read your article? Even I’m curious about this one. The whole market was talking about it.”
“Please do. It was … an especially difficult one to write,” said Nathalie, glad to be able to disappear into her room.
She rested her vial of catacomb dirt on the shelf where she kept unusual things. A doll with clothes that Maman had sewn, a jade dragon Papa had brought back from China. A partial bird skeleton (Stanley was responsible for that; the remains of the poor creature were on the edge of the roof, and when the wind carried it to a spot under her window, she kept part of it). Silvain, her stuffed rabbit from childhood, worn out from so much cuddling. A mourning brooch with a braided lock of her grandmother’s hair in the center. Some of Nathalie’s baby teeth and claws Stanley had shed, together in a porcelain cup Aunt Brigitte gave her for imaginary tea parties as a child. Tangible little chapters of the book that was her, thus far.
Nathalie took off her dress and put on a shirt and stockings. She was just stepping into her trousers when Maman called from the kitchen.
“Ma bichette. The victim, my goodness. But tell me, what did you truly see?”
Copyright © 2019 by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MAs in European History (Providence College, Brown University) and an MBA (Clark University). In addition to being an author, she’s a marketing professional, a freelancer, and an unapologetic Boston sports fan. She enjoys traveling, being a foodie, doing sprint triathlons, and enabling cats. She is represented by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.