Today I’m celebrating the launch of K.W. Taylor’s first science-fiction novel, The Curiosity Killers! This book is close to my heart because I have been friends with the author since she was still writing it, cheered her on as it passed as her thesis for Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, and then threw her together with my publishers at Raw Dog Screaming Press/Dog Star Books and cackled to myself as the sparks flew. This phenomenal book is the inevitable end result.
In the twenty-second century, a second Civil War is decades past. The states of the New British Empire have been reduced to working with Victorian-era technology–that is, except physicist Edward Vere, who invents time travel with a little help from aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright.
Vere partners with historian Ben Jonson to monetize the invention, founding the first time travel agency. Unbeknownst to them, a serial killer is using the technology to murder without detection. When Ben discovers the killer has targeted the woman he loves, the mild-mannered academic must become brave enough to change history rather than merely observing it.
If the style of the cover looks familiar, it’s because it was created by the same artist who designed my own Steel Victory cover and the upcoming Steel Magic cover! Brad Sharp continues to create standout artwork that definitely makes all of the Dog Star novels pop.
I was also honored to be asked to provide a quote to help promote the novel!
“Taylor’s first foray into science-fiction borrows from her urban fantasy and horror background for a unique spin on the time travel novel. The Curiosity Killers is an exciting adventure set in a beautifully detailed alternate United States with enough serial killers, monsters, and mystery to keep readers on their toes.”
–J.L. Gribble, author of the Steel Empires series
On to my official review…
Disclaimer: I am friends with the author, we share a publisher, I proofed this book before publication, and I provided a cover quote. However, I purchased a copy of this book for full price.
The Curiosity Killers is not your typical science fiction novel. Nor is it your typical dystopia, steampunk, alternate history, or time-travel novel. When you add serial killers and urban legends such as the Mothman, it sounds like it should be a mess. Instead, Taylor melds all of these elements to a create a fantastical voyage through time that goes back to the legend of the lost colony of Roanoke, visits the home of the Wright brothers, peeks in on the locations of some famous serial murders and other unexplained events, jumps forward to an vastly changed United States, and even swings by an alternate dimension for a surprising detour.
This journey is led by a well-rounded (and diverse!) cast of characters that include a not-quite mad scientist, a historian who finds his adventurous side, some adventurers who dabble in history, and a super-villain who looks scarily familiar in our own political age.
The only downside to such a large cast is that there were a few characters I wish I could have spent more time with, including Wilbur Wright and those closest to him. However, even though Taylor bounces around in both time and place, I was never confused about where I was, when I was, or which narrator was guiding me. Though Taylor’s previous novel I have read (The Red Eye) featured a single first-person point of view, she is equally deft at balancing multiple third-person narration streams.
And finally, one of Taylor’s greatest feats in this novel (besides keeping so many timelines straight and avoiding paradox) is creating an alternate future in which the Victorian-inspired steampunk aesthetic actually makes sense.
About the Author:
K.W. Taylor is the author of the urban fantasy Sam Brody series, about a dragonslaying disc jockey (The Red Eye and The House on Concordia Drive, both 2014 from Alliteration Ink). She has an MFA from Seton Hill University. Taylor lives in a restored Victorian home in Ohio with her tech writer husband and–unlike every other novelist in the world–an insanely photogenic kitten. She teaches college English and Women’s Studies and blogs at kwtaylorwriter.com. The Curiosity Killers is her first science fiction novel.
Currently reading: Frost Burn by K. T. Munson and Nichelle Rae (15%)