Dark Alchemy reads like a stand-alone work, but Petra is such a likable protagonist and the slightly off-balance world in which the town of Temperance exists is so well drawn that it’s hard not to hope we’ll see more of Petra’s adventures. There are elements here that easily could have shaded into standard tropes, but Bickle is skilled enough to put her own spin on them, and she has a clear, clean sense of plotting that gives the novel a wonderful pace and sense of completeness. More, please.
After what happened, geologist Petra Dee can’t stand to be near the sea anymore, so she heads to small-town Wyoming. If Temperance happens to be where she can get survey work ... and where her father disappeared years ago ... well, so much the better. But there are the men with scars on their necks who don’t speak, a meth dealer who might be an alchemist and a coyote who’s decided to adopt her. And then twisted, grotesque things that might have once been human bodies start turning up ... (HARPERVOYAGERBOOKS.COM, dl $2.99)