Yellow Jessamine

Neon Hemlock. Sept. 2020. 134p. ISBN 9781952086038. pap. $12.99. FANTASY
Wealthy merchant Lady Evelyn Perdanu lives in a city that is slowly dying. She is alarmed when one of her trading ships returns to port with sick crew members. The disease no one has seen before is spreading throughout the city. Victims seem to be eerily fixated on Evelyn, like zombies or possessed creatures, and she has no idea why. Her extensive experience with medicinal plants and toxins might be useful in halting the spread, but at the moment she’s distracted torturing an enemy soldier for information and dwelling on memories of poisoning her father and brothers. Evelyn commits despicable acts and seems irredeemable, though Starling (The Luminous Dead) is careful to explain the trauma that has shaped her life.
VERDICT Creating a macabre and sinister atmosphere in her horror/fantasy novella, Starling leaves details of the setting rather blurry. Suitable for readers of creepy Gothic tales.
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