Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (February 12, 2019)
Praise for SPECTACLE
“Clever and full of murder, Jodie Lynn Zdrok’s Spectacle had my eyes glued to the pages as the body count rose, and mystery stacked upon mystery as our heroine closed in on a killer who seemed miles ahead of the Parisian authorities. Fans of serial killers and criminal investigations will find much to love, and fascinating passages about morgue tours will appeal to the morbid rubbernecker in us all.” ―Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series
“With a fierce heroine, grisly 19th-century murders, and a mystery that left me on the edge of my seat, Spectacle is an immersive, Parisian, YA From Hell that I absolutely devoured!” ―Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten and #MurderTrending
“Zdrok explores the universal fascination with death, set among the darker corners of 1887 Paris, and the very idea of the morgue viewings (to which parents brought their children) is chilling…Grisly, plot driven―and very creepy. Fans of historical thrillers that invoke the enduring spirit of Jack the Ripper will have fun.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Hints of the murderer’s identity are subtly and intriguingly folded into the story, and unresolved plot threads pave the way for future cases, during which Nathalie can discover more about her powers. The blend of history, mystery, and fantasy makes this debut novel a good pick for fans of Libba Bray’s Diviners series or William Ritter’s Jackaby books.” ―Booklist
“The book seamlessly brings several threads together: the mystery of the murder and the horrors of the killings themselves; the beauty, bustle, and darkness of nineteenth-century Paris (the killer’s pursuit of Nathalie through the catacombs is thrillingly described); the bizarre but historically based practices of morgue viewing and blood transfusions for magic; and the destructive nature of family secrets and their generational effects. …the tension amps up to a gasp-worthy climax.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Zdrok has concocted an ambitious Victorian-era story. …Intricately plotted, the story’s pace burns slow before racing ahead to set up and topple assumptions about the true identity of the Dark Artist.” ―School Library Journal
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.
The quickest way to my reader desires is to set a book in the 1800s and have a serial killer. It’s safe to say that I jumped at reading this book. As soon as I heard about Spectacle I was anticipating a good read.
I was not disappointed.
Spectacle follows the footsteps of a teenaged girl who is breaking the glass ceiling and working in the “man’s world” of journalism. On top of that, Nathalie Baudin is reporting the unidentified dead inside the morgue. She’s going against the grain and in the process learns something about herself, her family, and the serial killer who finds her interesting.
Historical fiction is not one of my top fave genres but I felt this book had a good balance of historical detail while still holding the attention of a modern reader. It was interesting seeing how the process of body identification was, like a macabre art gallery of the dead, both a process for the police and a form of entertainment for the public.
There is also a hint of something supernatural that only strengthens the story and suspense. You will not know who The Dark Artist is right away. You will not know the full truth. And like Nathalie, you will be questioning everything. This is a definite read for the thriller lover both for young adult and adult readers.
Final Rating: 4/5
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.