Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently. London, 1861. Impoverished noble Cara has a simple mission after the strange death of her father - sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when aristocratic beauties start dying of broken hearts, an eight inch long brass key hammered through their chests. A killer hunts amongst the nobility, searching for a regal beauty and an ancient Egyptian relic rumored to hold the key to immortality. Her Majesty's Enforcers are in pursuit of the murderer and they see a connection between the gruesome deaths and Cara. So does she, somewhere in London her father hid Nefertiti's Heart, a fist sized diamond with strange mechanical workings. Adding further complication to her life, notorious crime lord, Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on Cara and the priceless artifact. If only she could figure out his motive. Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she makes a fatal mistake.
This is a fantastic Victorian mystery thriller by my fellow Curiosity Quills author, A.W. Exley. I absolutely loved Cara. She’s a strong and feisty heroine who’s had a difficult life thanks to her father giving her away to a wealthy businessman when she was only fourteen. Seven years later, she returns to London after learning of her father’s murder and becomes entangled in a mystery involving a priceless Egyptian artefact and a killer targeting young aristocratic women. Meanwhile, the enigmatic Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is also interested in Cara’s father’s collection of artefacts – and Cara herself.
With a kickass heroine, a vividly drawn steampunk-esque setting and an engaging mystery, this book is one of the most entertaining I’ve read for a while. The mystery is intriguing and suspenseful, keeping you guessing throughout, and the real villain certainly took me by surprise! The characters leap off the pages, and the romance is well-woven into the story. This is certainly different from the kind of book I usually read, but it didn’t disappoint. Highly recommended!