Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, lives in Rapid City in the late 19th century - when airships plied the trade routes bringing would-be miners heading up to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront. Karen is a "soiled dove", a young woman on her own who is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable's high-quality bordello.
Through Karen's eyes, we get to know the other girls in the house - a resourceful group - and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts into her world one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, seeking sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, who has a machine that can take over anyone's mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap - a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.
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One that I will revisit again and again.
- N. H.
- Megan K. Williams