Happy Tuesday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT! I’m so excited because today I have an excerpt of the book to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so so excited to for you to find out more about it, PLUS enter for a chance to win a print copy!
The Helm of Midnight by Marina Lostetter
Series: The Five Penalties #1
Published by Tor Books on April 13, 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller
A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter.In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power--the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders.
Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.
It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.
Charbon was not Lutador’s most prolific murderer, but he was the most terrifying. Nothing can stop a man who thinks his violence is not only justified, but the epitome of virtue.
When the Watch hanged him, his “righteous” destruction should have ended forever.
How a Teleoteur, Eric Matisse, had created the mask, no one knew. But the why was both obvious and stomach-turning.
Only one man knew how to cut a body just so. Knew where to break it and where to bend it and how to bind it so that it no longer looked like person, but a lovely rose or fragile daisy or intricate orchid. And only an equally misshapen psyche could want to preserve that knowledge for later retrieval.
He’d been dead ten years. But now Charbon was killing again.
Once they arrived at the abandoned storehouse, Krona kept back from the body for a moment, steeling herself.
She worked with artifacts. Most of her concerns were straightforward, simple locate-and-retrieve. Sometimes situations devolved into violence. Sometimes people died. But she’d never had to stare at someone whose insides had become their outsides.
Thankfully, a heavy black death sheet had been pulled over the poor person’s body. But it couldn’t conceal the smell. The victim was still fresh enough that the flies had not yet found it, so it wasn’t a stench she had to contend with, just a hint of sour wrongness in the air.
On the nearest wall was the expected message: Death is ART. But, in an unsettling twist, it didn’t stop there. In smaller blood-spatter, a little below the killer’s tagline, were four new stomach-churning words: The truth is coming.
Krona steeled herself as the Dayswatchman yanked back the sheet for a moment, to let the Regulators confirm with their own eyes that this was indeed a bloom.
Her first impression was not of viscera, but a tiger lily. The reddish-purple petals drew upward and folded out in graceful arcs, and from the center of the bloom, a carpel and four stamens, all tanned, jutted toward the storehouse ceiling.
But the beauty only struck her for a moment, for an instant before her senses caught up with the reality of what lay before her. The petals were the victim’s abdomen, peeled open, and the carpel and stamens were the victim’s limbs, stuck upright in the center of their gory torso, their hands and feet limp and long, mimicking anthers. Somewhere underneath it all, propping up the bloom, angling it for display, was the skull, the face likely flayed to conceal their identity.
Nausea and anger roared inside her, churning together, making her chest grow hot and her jaw clench beneath her helm.
Who could do such a thing? What kinds of hands did it take to perpetuate such violence? What kind of psyche looked at another human being and thought, I’d like to break that?
She imagined a man in a sleek top hat, striding down the darkened streets, his silver cane tap-tap-tapping along the stones. A woman walked past, caught out alone well after she should have been home with her family. The man watched her go, his eyes gleaming as a smile split his features. His sharp incisors glinted in the gaslight, flashing like the edge of a blade, as he turned to stalk the woman to her end.
A predator after its prey.
Copyright © 2021 by Marina Lostetter
What do you think about The Helm of Midnight? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!