Book Blog: Colleen Gleason's The Clockwork Scarab
I’m delighted to share my thoughts on a recently published book, The Clockwork Scarab, A Stoker and Holmes Novel (Chronicle Books). This is author Colleen Gleason’s first young adult book, though she’s written over twenty novels, including The Gardella Vampire Chronicles.
I fell in love with the book’s premise that the niece of Sherlock Holmes and the sister of Bram Stoker (Dracula) would team together to solve mysteries with Victorian London as the setting.
Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes, both 17, are not fast friends when the story begins. In fact, they are as different as night and day. Due to their unique talents - Evaline’s great-great aunt was a vampire hunter of great renown; Mina has inherited her uncle’s keen ability to solve crimes – they are charged by the Queen to find out who is murdering young, upper-class women in London. The only clue tying various crime scenes together are mechanical scarabs found near each body.
Gleason does a wonderful job of mixing the foggy, gas-lit atmosphere of London in 1889 with a fun dash of Steam Punk elements such as air ships, steam-powered street lifts, and all manner of cog and gear-driven devices with wonderful names like the Steam-Stream Gun and the Night Illuminator. Add a few artifacts from the British Museum, a resurrected Egyptian goddess and even a bit of time travel and you have a lively, action-packed story. Ms. Gleason is also adept at creating characters that I think will appeal to readers – young female sleuths dealing with their families’ fame, the social restrictions of the age regarding women and their own insecurities.