Dark Alchemy

Dark Alchemy

by Laura Bickle

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Stephen King's The Gunslinger meets Breaking Bad in Laura Bickle's novel Dark Alchemy.

Some secrets are better left buried …

Geologist Petra Dee arrives in Wyoming seeking clues to her father's disappearance years ago. What she finds instead is Temperance, a dying western town with a gold rush past and a meth-infested present. But under the dust and quiet, an old power is shifting. When bodies start turning up—desiccated and twisted skeletons that Petra can't scientifically explain—her investigations land her in the middle of a covert war between the town's most powerful interests. Petra's father wasn't the only one searching for the alchemical secrets of Temperance, and those still looking are now ready to kill. Armed with nothing but shaky alliances, a pair of antique guns, and a relic she doesn't understand, the only thing Petra knows for sure is that she and her coyote sidekick are going to have to move fast—or die next.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062404923
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/28/2015
Series: Dark Alchemy Series , #1
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology-Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs. Her work has been included in the ALA's Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio's Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016. More information about Laura's work can be found at www.laurabickle.com.

Nicol Zanzarella is an Earphones Award-winning audiobook narrator and a theater and television actress. She has appeared in productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter's Tale, Cousin Bette, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and many others.

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Dark Alchemy 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
lauralovesreviewingLT More than 1 year ago
This was one wild, weird experience. With a little imagination, it was more like I was watching this then reading it. I drew my visuals from the many science fiction, fantasy, and horror movies I’ve watched. All of those genres rolled up into one fantastic book was such a treat. Petra came to Temperance to find her missing father. It’s also far away from the sea and a tragedy she can’t bear. Her training as a geologist is put to the test with the strange bodies, the otherworldly Gabriel, and the power that seems to live beneath the surface of the town. There’s one heck of a mystery. Why are the bodies calcified? Who is behind it? What is Gabe and his Hanged Men? And what’s with the ravens? Next is the originality. This story reeks of the old west but takes place in the present. I kept thinking of the movie Wild, Wild West with Will Smith. It’s not so much steam punk as magic, with weird devices and rituals. It feels hot, dusty, and otherworldly. There’s also a bit of Native American lore laced into the story. I think that added to the western atmosphere and made it strange and creepy. Now we come to the characters. Petra is a mix of Annie Oakley and a female Clint Eastwood. She has this really cool leather duster and slings a pair of antique pearl handled .44s. She’s weighted down with some guilty baggage, yet she’s tough as a cactus and just as prickly. She’ll ‘make your day’. With so many characters I can’t break each one down for you. There are the meth heads, in a delusional thrall to Stroud. There’s Sal and his insatiable desire for eternal life. All of these characters are dangerous. All of them want something Petra has discovered. All of them are gunning for her. Then there’s the non human characters. Gabriel and his group of Hanged Men. They might once have been human, but not anymore. I don’t want to say they are evil so much as they ‘do’ evil. And there’s a weird connection between them and the ravens. My favorite of all the non human characters was Sig, Petra’s coyote. He attached himself to Petra and became her companion, protector, and early warning system. Kind of like a familiar. He was my hero. As for romance, there’s none. Well, there’s a spark but I don’t see where it could work. Last but not least is the horror. It’s subtle, quiet, then it strikes. So unusual, steeped in magic and something ancient. How do you fight it? How can you stand against it? I loved Laura’s The Hallowed Ones Series and her Anya Kalinczyk Series so there was no question about reading Dark Alchemy. It’s listed as a stand alone but the ending could lead to more adventures with Petra and her side kick, Sig. It would be great to meet these guys again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Words can almost not express how much I hated the nauseatingly "spunky"heroine of this trash. I believe I will write some anti-fan fiction just to relieve my deep desire for her painful, excruciating death, since you know authors never do readers a favor and kill off twits like this one.
IYamVixenBooks More than 1 year ago
I love reading UF, especially superbly written UF. Even more so, superbly written new premise UF! I love one of the descriptions of this book, "Stephen King's GUNSLINGER meets Breaking Bad..." A perfect description. But Laura Bickle's voice is her own, not a copy of anyone. Another strong woman lead character who does what I would love to be, a geologist. Petra is in Wyoming ostensibly to look for her father, but it's also a holding pattern while she tries to recover from her past. She's strong, but she needs mending. She goes to Temperance, Wyoming and finds more than she bargained for. A coyote adopts her, there's a cruel land baron and a meth creating alchemist. Each has creepy men doing their bidding. Each has power that they want more of. And Petra may be the key. Petra does not back down from any fight, she has a mission and she champions the near-beaten. I know this might be a stand-alone...would that there would be more Petra..and the coyote... Definite recommend!