Book Review: The Thirteenth Gate by Kat Ross

Title: The Thirteenth Gate
Series: A Dominion Mystery #2

Author: Kat Ross
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Genres: Mystery, Historical, Young Adult


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The Thirteenth Gate
A Dominion Mystery #2
Kat Ross
Acorn Publishing, June 2017

From the author—

Winter 1888. At an asylum in the English countryside, a man suspected of being Jack the Ripper kills an orderly and flees into the rain-soaked night. His distraught keepers summon the Lady Vivienne Cumberland—who’s interviewed their patient and isn’t sure he’s a man at all. An enigmatic woman who guards her own secrets closely, Lady Vivienne knows a creature from the shadowlands when she sees one. And he’s the most dangerous she’s ever encountered.

As Jack rampages through London, this time targeting rare book collectors, Lady Vivienne begins to suspect what he’s looking for. And if he finds it, the doors to the underworld will be thrown wide open…

Across the Atlantic, an archaeologist is brutally murdered after a Christmas Eve gala at the American Museum of Natural History. Certain peculiar aspects of the crime attract the interest of the Society for Psychical Research and its newest investigator, Harrison Fearing Pell. Is Dr. Julius Sabelline’s death related to his recent dig in Alexandria? Or is the motive something darker?

As Harry uncovers troubling connections to a serial murder case she’d believed was definitively solved, two mysteries converge amid the grit and glamor of Gilded Age New York. Harry and Lady Vivienne must join forces to stop an ancient evil. The key is something called the Thirteenth Gate. But where is it? And more importantly, who will find it first?

When Dr. William Clarence escapes from the Greymoor Lunatic Asylum, two people are very alarmed if not especially surprised because only they suspect the doctor’s true nature. Lady Vivienne Cumberland and her companion, Alec Lawrence, have a long history with secrets, the kind of secrets that are held because most people wouldn’t believe them anyway, and Lady Vivienne’s warnings about the doctor had not been heeded. One of those secrets is that Clarence, a New York Police Department surgeon, may possibly be Jack the Ripper but not the expected kind of criminal.

The Thirteenth Gate is the second book in the Dominion Mysteries but also brings in characters and storylines from Ms. Ross’s Fourth Element series. I haven’t read that series so it took me a little while to get up to speed with Vivienne and Alec but I had already met Harry Pell and John Weston and was delighted to be back in their world. Harry is Arthur Conan Doyle’s goddaughter and, although not a blood relative, shows a lot of Doyle’s intelligence and curiosity about things that are not precisely rational. Those qualities stand her in good stead when they team up with the London contingent and, when Harry and Vivienne work together, they’re a force of nature all by themselves. One other character that I really like is Detective Inspector Richard Blackwood, the most open-minded police detective one could ever hope to meet.

This is a most formidable group, well-suited to discover the truth behind the killings and the nature of the beast, so to speak. Ms. Ross kept me flipping page after page with all the twists and convolutions and an ever-changing aspect of time. If I have any quibble at all, it’s that I wish I had realized reading the Fourth Element books first might be a good thing. Still, I never felt the urge to put this one down so I could go do that but they’re on my radar now 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2017.

About the Author

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Thirteenth Gate by Kat Ross

  1. I like the connections to characters and authors. I might not have given this series a second glance before your review. Now, I’m curious:)


  2. I just finished a book set in 1888 England that was a chase to catch Jack the Ripper. It was also a historical mystery, which seems to becoming popular these days. This sounds good and totally different than the one I read even with the similarities.


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