Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
At first glance this book looks just like every other paranormal romance that has come out in the past year: pretty girl in pretty dress against a creepy backdrop. However, I’m a sucker for a great cover, so I picked it up, thinking it was probably a vampire book, and checked it out. Not a vampire book. Not just like every other paranormal romance out there. In fact, this one blew me away!
Eleanor Fitt is looking forward to her brother Elijah’s return from New York. She and her mother have missed him terribly, and, as their finances have dwindled to almost nothing, they are quite anxious that he return, take his place as head of the family, and begin taking care of, well, everything. Eleanor is pondering this as she goes to meet his train from Philadelphia. Only, Elijah’s not on the train. Then the screams begin, and the odor of death, dirt, and rot assails Eleanor's nostrils: the Dead have arrived. She tries to hide, but one of the Dead finds her…and delivers a message from Elijah: “I can’t come. Trouble in New York has caught up with me. Don’t tell Mama – it will only worry her. And you shouldn’t worry either. If I do what he needs, I can come home.”
This begins Eleanor’s epic quest to find her brother, who has somehow become involved with a necromancer who is raising the dead and sacrificing – murdering – innocent young men. Her only recourse for help is a group called the Spirit-Hunters, barely tolerated and quickly scapegoated by the city and society even though their knowledge and methods are the only things keeping the Dead at bay. But the necromancer grows stronger, and Eleanor and the Spirit-Hunters must discover his plans and stop him before he unleashes hungry Dead on the entire city.
Part historical fiction, part paranormal, with dashes of romance, adventure, mystery and Steampunk, and, of course, zombies, this novel really defies traditional description. But if you like any of the above, try this novel. You really won’t regret it.