The Dastardly Miss Lizzie (Electric Empire #3)
Harper Voyager / April 18, 2017 / $15.99 print, $9.99 digital
Viola Carr has written another dastardly good read with her third book in the Electric Empire series. The Dastardly Miss Lizzie picks up from where The Devious Dr. Jekyll left off—with Dr. Eliza Jekyll still battling her dark alter ego Miss Lizzie Hyde for control. However, since book one in the series Eliza has gained a husband as well as a reputation for solving crime.
As for Miss Hyde, she remains the bane of Eliza’s life and the source of much conflict. I admit to liking Lizzie better than Eliza. Sure, Eliza is sane while Lizzie’s a foul-mouthed ghoul, but Lizzie is a fun ghoul, a marvellous mistress of mayhem with an in-your-face energy, and quicker to snap than a steel trap.
I SCREECH, AND SLITHER OUT LIKE A SNAKE. OUR bones crackle, bright agony. Our reflection in the mirror contorts, our eyes darkening, me-her-me-her-me. Our cheekbones jut, my chin sharpens, our lips swell in a saucy cherry pout. My hair bursts from its pins, no longer blond but rich dark mahogany.
“Why, hello, Miss Lizzie!” I waste no time in tossing away her stupid spectacles—I can see just fine, thanks—and wriggling out of Eliza’s wet clothes. I kick her dull gray dress aside, break out of her corset with its stupid flat chest. Even her chemise is wet and moldy-smelling. My set’s much more accommodating, and thank bleeding Christ for that. A woman’s allowed to have boobs. I push ’em up real nice and yank the laces tight.
Urgent claws rip at me, desperate for pleasure. This new elixir’s got a punch, all right. Everything’s louder, stronger, brighter, and I’m thirsty for flavor, famished for every dark sensation. But despite my craving, bright relief staggers me. I can’t breathe in your uptight body, Eliza. Like Newgate’s foul cells in there, it is, rusted bars and stenches and ugly darkness. If I lose my marbles, like you’re always saying—mad like Eddie Hyde, Lizzie, and you’ll be the end of us, boo hoo!—it’ll be no one to blame but yourself.
I admit a weakness for ‘bad’ heroines who don’t do what they should and leave a trail of fall-out in their wake and Lizzie does a great job of that. For example, she takes over Eliza’s body to throw a vase at Chief Inspector Reeve for suggesting Eliza should be too busy planning her wedding to solve crime. Lizzie also spits out some very creative curses.