Saturday, September 5, 2020

Book Review: The Black Midnight

I love a good book that makes me think!  Sometimes the challenge of trying to figure out who-dun-it makes for a very satisfying and engaging read - even if I turn out to be wrong!  Couple that with historical fiction and that makes for a winning book!

I actually read this book twice.  I read it the first time when I first got it a month or two ago (I requested the book, received it for free, and am giving my honest opinion) and then again last night (which is a little more than a week before this book review is published).  I enjoyed it the first time, and I really enjoyed it the second time!  

The Black Midnight was a very engaging book!  Even though much of it is fiction, there were enough historical details to make it seem real.  Neither the Midnight Assassin nor Jack the Ripper was ever identified in real life and the story reflects this; however, I did enjoy the author's unfolding of who might have been involved (again, fictional, but believable).

I really enjoyed "meeting" Queen Victoria in this book.  There were one or two other secondary real-life characters, but she was the one who intrigued me the most with such characteristics as her using her third-person "we/us" instead of "I/me."  I noticed in reviewing my highlights of the book that she only uses the third-person when she speaks of herself as Queen; other times, she uses I/me when she is speaking on a personal level - for example, to Annie whom she calls Kitten.

In my second reading of the book, I realized that Annie is very much like her great grandmother Queen Victoria in this book:  commanding, in control, imperious in manner, yet very, very likable.
"She is the queen, Isaiah."  Annie sighed.  "She can do whatever she wants.  Just be thankful that she does not."
Another character that I liked (because I disliked him) is a journalist who does anything he can to get the scoop on the case of the Midnight Assassin.  Annie, who is extremely perceptive, catches onto him at once and puts him in his place:
"Thank you for that insight.  I see you are intent on proving yourself as good a detective as you claimed at dinner.  I fail to be impressed, but you have my permission to continue trying.  Good night, Mr. Blake."
Don't you just love that?  I would love to be as witty and direct as she is!

Annie's partner Isaiah is also very insightful and very thoughtful.  I love what he said to Annie:
"I see you in there," he said, his eyes on hers.  "I don't know who you are yet, but I want to.  And I am willing to wait."
I also love this interchange between Isaiah and the Queen:
"I have learned that patience is a virtue."  He paused.  "And that what is meant to be will be." 
One dark brow lifted.  "And what cannot be?" 
"Takes a little longer, ma'am," he said in his Texas drawl.
The Black Midnight is like a character in itself; as a matter of fact, it ..... I just realized that might be a bit of a spoiler.  Just get the book and read it.  You won't be disappointed!

About the Book

Book: The Black Midnight
Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense
Release Date: August 2020

Death Seems to Follow Harriet’s New Friend

Book 7 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, women were dying in their beds as The Midnight Assassin terrorized the citizens of Austin, Texas. Now, with suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin case and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter.

The prospect of a second chance to work with Annie just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer. If his theories are right, they’ll find The Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the feisty female left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago.

Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than sixty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad.

More from Kathleen Y’Barbo

I am a tenth-generation Texan, but London has held a place in my heart for over ten years. You see, I have a son who has lived there for more than a decade. Thanks to him and his family of three—my granddaughter was born there on New Year’s Eve 2019—the city will always be special to me. There is absolutely nothing like walking those streets with a thousand years of history close enough to touch.

It was on a walk with my son through this great city that the stories of nineteenth-century London came alive. With fog shrouding the rooftops of buildings that were hundreds of years old and our footsteps echoing on the cobblestones, I could imagine a time when lack of electricity and CCTV would make this place less than charming on a dark night. What reminded me of my favorite childhood movie, Mary Poppins, quickly became more reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. And then a story was born.
Only I just had half the story.

The other half came to me several years later when I stumbled across an article in Texas Monthly magazine about a serial killer who rampaged through Austin, Texas in 1884 and 1885 and was never caught. Some surmised this madman, called “The Midnight Assassin” by some, might have been Jack the Ripper honing his skills before he crossed the Atlantic to begin his famous crime spree in Great Britain.
But Austin? Ironically, my other two sons lived in Austin. So while part of my heart was in London, two more parts of that same heart resided in the Texas capital. I thought I knew Austin inside out. Between one of my sons getting not one but two degrees from the University of Texas (this Aggie grad is still proud of him in spite of what I jokingly call his burnt orange rebellion) and my other son living there and managing a restaurant at the time (and who just graduated from Texas A&M Galveston last month!), I had spent many years in the city. And yet I had never heard of the Midnight Assassin.

Research turned up a tale that sounds so close to fiction I had to write about it. Discovering the theory that the Austin killer might also be the Ripper just added to my interest—neither had been caught. And I like to write about Pinkerton detectives.
From there the story unfolded. If you’ve read any of my historical romances, you know that I love incorporating actual history into my stories. As you’ll see when you read The Black Midnight, this book is no exception. While I will continue writing the historical romances I love to bring to you, I will confess that writing this book has me itching to research another one like it.

What’s next in my foray into true crime novels? Maybe Houston. You see, I have a daughter who lives there…

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Black Midnight as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 27

Genesis 5020, August 27

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, August 27

Inklings and notions, August 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 28

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 28

Older & Smarter?, August 29

Texas Book-aholic, August 29

Artistic Nobody, August 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For the Love of Literature, August 30

Connie's History Classroom, August 30

For Him and My Family, August 31

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 31

Betti Mace, September 1

Robin's Nest, September 1

Bigreadersite, September 1

deb's Book Review, September 2

Splashes of Joy, September 2

Just Your Average reviews, September 2

Rebecca Tews, September 3

Just the Write Escape, September 3

Emily Yager, September 3

Christian Bookaholic, September 4

reviewingbooksplusmore, September 4

KarenSueHadley, September 4

Remembrancy, September 5

Through the Fire Blogs, September 5

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 6

Blogging With Carol, September 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 7

Life of Literature, September 7

Mary Hake, September 7

Godly Book Reviews, September 8

Back Porch Reads, September 8

Daysong Reflections, September 8

Pause for Tales, September 9

Blossoms and Blessings, September 9

Hallie Reads, September 9


To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

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