Release Date: March 24, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
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.
Eerie and definitely speculative. That's DARK ALCHEMY by Laura Bickle in so few words. This title has been on my reading calendar for twoo weeks and I kept on moving it around no thanks to my reading rut. Finally I managed to crawl out of my oubilette and indulged in some good paranormal story.
I love small town reads because the characters are often quirky and the scenery feels like home. Temperance, Wyoming loosely fit that category, however I wouldn't want to get lost in this town much less visit it. It's creepy and depressing. Interesting is the kindest way to describe it's residents: ranch hands that don't talk, a "drug" ring led by an Alchemist, the town drunk who's a s/male, a coyote that wants to be someone's pet, talking skeletons. The list of unnatural occurrences goes on which made DARK ALCHEMY the book you should pick up when you want to read something... uncomfortable.
LBickle is brilliant in writing these disturbing atmospheric reads. I love Petra Dee, I love her name and she reminds me of Dr. John Dee, an Elizabethan cultist. DARK ALCHEMY is motivated by Petra looking for her long lost father whom she thinks is somehwere in Temperance, Wyoming. Under the guise of geological research, Petra poked around town, asking questions and filing a missing person report. Meanwhile, she keeps on getting anonymous calls from whom she suspects is her father, asking her to leave the town. Yyyeah, as if that would work! One thing led to another and she accidentally unraveled the town by unveiling its secrets. Immortality and transmutation isn't all its cracked up to be, not in this case anyway, it's disgusting and wretched, I don't want to live for eternity the same way some of the characters do.
DARK ALCHEMY is one strange cookie and I hope there's a sequel in the works. This is just under 300 pages, and because the novel is fast paced, it's also a quick read. And perhaps the biggest perk of all is this little gem is only $2.99 (ebook) as of this writing. That's a big bang for your buck so if you're looking for something different, please check out DARK ALCHEMY, it just might be the one for you.