cover image The Clockwork Scarab

The Clockwork Scarab

Colleen Gleason. Chronicle, $17.99 (356p) ISBN 978-1-4521-1070-7

Adult author Gleason (the Gardella Vampire Chronicles) brings the same penchant for mixing the historical, paranormal, and romantic to this first book in the Stoker & Holmes series. The narrative switches between two young women living in 1889 London: observant and cerebral Alvermina Holmes (she goes by Mina for obvious reasons), the niece of Sherlock Holmes; and Evaline Stoker, the headstrong (and physically strong) younger sister to Bram, and member of a proud line of vampire hunters. The girls’ differing temperaments make for some bristly interactions as they investigate the connection between the disappearance of a young woman and several recent murders. Gleason’s premise should be “too much”—in addition to the literary conceit involving the Holmes and Stoker families, the story rapidly expands to include steampunk, alternate history, time travel, and Egyptian mythology—and yet it all works. Few answers are offered in this outing, but the author’s writing exudes energy, romance, and humor, and she gives her heroines strong, vibrant personalities as they puzzle out the expansive mystery unfolding before them. Ages 12–up. Agent: Maura Kye-Casella, Don Congdon Associates. (Sept.)