by Elizabeth Massie
The year is 1909. Coney Island is a wild, bright, malodorous, noisy, and garish place, luring work-weary folks in with its dangerous roller coasters, bizarre shows, tantalizing displays, and promises of “improper” gaiety to be remembered. Suzanne Heath, a ticket-seller for Luna Park’s amusements and a reluctant psychic, has been called in by police Lieutenant Granger to help find and stop a murderer whose victims have been hideously mutilated. Suzanne feels compelled and obligated to offer her assistance even as doing so recalls memories of her childhood and youth when her psychic talents only brought about rejection, heartache, and pain. Suzanne’s one true friend is Cittie Parker, a young man who ran away from the Colored Waifs’ Asylum and now performs as a bloodthirsty Zulu drummer in Dreamland. He knows of her abilities and fears for her safety. As Suzanne digs deeper into the grisly Coney Island murders and her own past, she finds herself and Cittie caught up in a nightmare where worlds converge and collide, where death gleefully beckons and insanity grins like a devil at the gate of hell.