Nov 032014

Cover for Jacaranda by Cherie Priest. A Catholic priest stands in the foreground on a surreal rug, two staircases arching behind him, along with the shadow of a tree and a wolf.Publishers Weekly: This gripping postscript to Priest’s Clockwork Century series (which officially concluded with Fiddlehead) takes readers to the titular Galveston, Tex., haunted hotel, in an alternate 1895 seasoned with ghosts and gears. Father Rios is a former gunslinger cursed with second sight and a dark past. When Sister Eileen contacts him about the dozens who have died in the hotel, he visits ahead of an impending hurricane and soon witnesses the horrors firsthand. The hotel’s guests all have dark secrets, and the violence with which the hotel disposes of them is all the more horrifying as it takes place off-page, leaving only the aftermath for the characters to discover. Priest is hardly covering new ground, but the American steampunk setting gives the classic evil haunted house a nice new coat of paint. Rios is a great protagonist, full of conflicts and doubts, and he drives the tale well. While the story stands on its own, it also provides some melancholy closure for fans of Priest’s earlier books.