Anthropology professor Duncan Clarke must get a handle on his anxiety disorder by the end of Christmas break, or risk losing the position to which he has tirelessly devoted himself for decades. When Clarke intercepts a box of macabre curiosities intended for the university, he discovers a travel journal from 1865 containing the frantic scribblings of Edward Walker, an eccentric Victorian curiosity dealer. Tucked within the journal is a disturbing drawing of a young boy, "Specimen Z", the apparent victim of a Haitian Vodou witch doctor.Desperate to salvage his professional career and to discover the fate of the mysterious boy, Clarke follows clues left by the gruesome relics of his predecessor's collection to discover the dark secret Walker kept in his basement, and his connection to the brutal crimes that terrorized London. Clarke's holiday pastime becomes an all-consuming obsession as he begins to understand the chilling implications of the journal and the horror that ties his fate to Walker's-for Clarke will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even at the cost of his career, his family, and his very life.
About the Author
Melanie Cossey grew up in the burgeoning suburban neighborhoods of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where old-world history often collided with urban sprawl. If she wasn't climbing through abandoned houses, she was sneaking onto construction sites, imagining what came before or what was yet to come.Melanie has enjoyed a twenty-year freelance writing career crafting non-fiction articles for the web and magazines, but in recent years has changed her focus to creating poetry, short fiction and novels. Melanie's Gothic fiction The Nymphalidae won Honorable Mention in the Storm Crow Tavern's 2015 Tales from Beermat Micro Fiction Contest and her short story, The Choice Between Fire and Ice was shortlisted in the 2016 Surrey International Writer's Conference's Short Fiction Contest.Melanie is currently completing her second novel, Equanimity - Asylum for Women, a Female Gothic tale that exposes the Victorian practice of institutionalizing women who were conscious of their sexuality. She is also working on a flash fiction collection dealing with the transitory nature of life.