Cover image for Spectacle
Physical Description:
364 pages ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
HL 720 L Lexile

On Order

R.H. Stafford Library (Woodbury)1On Order
Park Grove Library (Cottage Grove)1On Order



Spectacle is a YA murder mystery from debut author Jodie Lynn Zdrok in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.

Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day's new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered--from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie's search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie's strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer's identity--and she'll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

Author Notes

Jodie Lynn Zdrok holds two MAs in European History and an MBA. In addition to being an author, she's a marketing professional, a freelancer, and an unapologetic Boston sports fan. She enjoys traveling, being a foodie, doing sprint triathlons, and enabling cats. Spectacle is her debut.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-In 19th-century Paris, Nathalie Baudin, 16-year-old morgue columnist, has a startling vision of a recent female victim's murder. She attempts to write off the experience as a hallucination, only to find herself having another vision when the next murder victim arrives at the morgue. Seeking more information about her apparent supernatural gift, Nathalie must decide whether or not to use her visions to aid the police in identifying the killer as the body count begins to rise. Buried secrets will come to light in the race to save the next girl and stop the Dark Artist's nefarious plot. Zdrok has concocted an ambitious Victorian-era story that may delight fans of suspenseful historical fiction. Intricately plotted, the story's pace burns slow before racing ahead to set up and topple assumptions about the true identity of the Dark Artist. A parallel plot involving blood experiments and supernatural powers works to explain Nathalie's visions but could derail readers who are more interested in the serial killer angle. As a reluctant hero prone to shallow introspection, Nathalie possesses a sense of perseverance that will appeal to readers. Secondary characters, on the other hand, feel thinly developed, existing in many cases simply to drive the narrative forward. VERDICT Recommended for large collections.-Pearl Derlaga, York County Public Library, VA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

A newly discovered ability to channel the perspective of an unknown serial killer raises a serious dilemma for sixteen-year-old morgue reporter Nathalie Baudin: reveal her supernatural powers and aid the police, or reject them for a life of normalcy? Set in nineteenth-century Paris, a time when the city's fascination with death warranted daily newspaper morgue reports, this eerie historical mystery will appeal to fans of Gothic thrillers. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

In Zdrok's debut, a young woman with mysterious powers seeks to unmask a vicious killer terrorizing 19th-century Paris.Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes about Paris' unclaimed dead bodies that are on display for public viewing for her column at Le Petit Journal: The more detailed her descriptions, the better. When she sees the body of a young girl who has been brutally slashed, she's horrified. Placing her hand against the glass barrier, she has a terrifying vision of what seems to be the actual murder. The killer, dubbed "the Dark Artist," isn't finished, and the viciousness of the murders grows. Nathalie is intrigued to find out that her Aunt Brigitte, who is in an asylum for acting on her own visions, was a patient of an infamous doctor who offered supernatural powers through blood transfusions. Craving normalcy, Nathalie initially rejects her own powers, but when the Dark Artist slaughters someone very close to her, she resolves to put a stop to his reign of terror. Zdrok explores the universal fascination with death, set among the darker corners of 1887 Paris, and the very idea of the morgue viewings (to which parents brought their children) is chilling. All characters are assumed white. Grisly, plot drivenand very creepy.Fans of historical thrillers that invoke the enduring spirit of Jack the Ripper will have fun, and Zdrok leaves things open for a sequel. (recommended reading) (Paranormal historical thriller. 15-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

In Paris 1887, 16-year-old Nathalie has an undercover job in which she writes the daily morgue report for the newspaper. She describes what she sees, the new arrivals (aka bodies), and appeases Paris' hunger for the details of the macabre. When an unidentified murder victim arrives at the morgue, Nathalie suddenly has a vision of the murder from the perspective of the murderer. Nathalie finds herself thrown into the supernatural world of Paris, and when another murder victim appears, Nathalie must use her powers to catch the killer before she's caught herself. While the story unfolds slowly, the details and mystery should keep fans of thrillers reading. Hints of the murderer's identity are subtly and intriguingly folded into the story, and unresolved plot threads pave the way for future cases, during which Nathalie can discover more about her powers. The blend of history, mystery, and fantasy makes this debut novel a good pick for fans of Libba Bray's Diviners series or William Ritter's Jackaby books.--Sarah Bean Thompson Copyright 2018 Booklist