Due out on September 14th, Heather M. Herrman has written "a dark and twisty slow-burn mystery where a teenage girl starts a new life as a grave robber but quickly becomes entangled in a murderer’s plans that will suck you in from page one." Just for Daily Dead readers, we have an excerpt from The Corpse Queen that you can read right now!
Sometimes a book is a gentle companion telling you a story. And sometimes a book grabs you with both hands, shakes, and holds you in place until the story is finished. That’s the only way I can really describe the feeling after reading THE CORPSE QUEEN (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers; on sale September 14, 2021). Heather M. Herrman has written a dark and twisty slow-burn mystery where a teenage girl starts a new life as a grave robber but quickly becomes entangled in a murderer’s plans that will suck you in from page one.
Soon after her best friend Kitty mysteriously dies, orphaned seventeen-year-old Molly Green is sent away to live with her “aunt.” With no relations that she knows of, Molly assumes she has been sold as a maid for the price of an extra donation in the church orphanage’s coffers. Such a thing is not unheard of. There are only so many options for an unmarried girl in 1850s Philadelphia.
Only, when Molly arrives, she discovers her aunt is very much real, exceedingly wealthy, and with secrets of her own. Secrets and wealth she intends to share—for a price.
Molly’s estranged aunt Ava, has built her empire by robbing graves and selling the corpses to medical students who need bodies to practice surgical procedures. And she wants Molly to help her procure the corpses.
As Molly learns her aunt’s trade in the dead of night and explores the mansion by day, she is both horrified and deeply intrigued by the anatomy lessons held at the old church on her aunt’s property. Enigmatic Doctor LaValle’s lessons are a heady mixture of knowledge and power and Molly has never wanted anything more than to join his male-only group of students. But the cost of inclusion is steep and with a murderer loose in the city, the pursuit of power and opportunity becomes a deadly dance.
THE CORPSE QUEEN is a commercial and pacey mystery. Heather expertly captures the haunting, dark underbelly of Philadelphia in the 1850s and the slow-burn tension will have readers devouring her every word. Even at the creepiest and most unsettling moments there is an undeniable sense of wonder and beauty in her writing.
While fiction, this story is rooted in historical fact. Body snatchers, also known as Resurrectionists, stole, shipped, and sold corpses across the country on the black market for medical students to use for anatomy lessons throughout the 1800s in the US, England, and Scotland. The historical truth underlying THE CORPSE QUEEN makes the setting and mystery that much more compelling.
THE CORPSE QUEEN is a powerful and layered story with potential crossover appeal. Heather M. Herrman has created a world that’s rich with deep and thought-provoking questions about what it means to be a woman, to have ownership over your own body, to live with agency, and to thrive in a male-dominated society.
Perfect for readers of feminist thrillers like Wilder Girls and The Grace Year, and of historical mysteries like Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series, THE CORPSE QUEEN is full of twists and turns that will keep readers on their toes as they fly through this mystery. There is also a light romantic storyline that is immensely satisfying and has its foundation in mutual respect and consent between Molly and Tom. There’s a little bit of something for every reader in this grisly tale.
To read the excerpt, click on the cover below or visit: https://dailydead.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Corpse-Queen-PDF.pdf
To learn more about The Corpse Queen, visit: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/617306/the-corpse-queen-by-heather-m-herrman/