Review & Giveaway: The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Kathleen Y’Barbo

Genre: Fiction / Historical Mystery / True Crime 
Publisher: Barbour Books
Publication Date: August 1, 2020
Number of Pages: 257
 Scroll down for the giveaway!

Two killers, two detectives, and a menace called The Black Midnight may be the death of both of them.
Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, a killer struck fear into the hearts of the citizens of Austin, Texas. Some believe one man is responsible for both, while others lay the blame at the feet of someone close to the queen herself. With suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin murders case, and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter. One man is essential to her team, and she doesn’t want to consider taking on this challenge without his expertise. Unfortunately, he’s back in Texas, with a bad attitude and a new profession. 

The prospect of a second chance at catching the man who terrorized Austin three years ago just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer, even if it does mean working with the Queen’s great-granddaughter again. If his theories are right, they’ll find the Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the lady detective left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago. 
Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted.

PRAISE for The Black Midnight:

“Warning! Don’t read this historical romantic suspense at night!” DiAnn Mills, Expect an Adventure 
“Impeccably researched with sparkling dialogue and riveting history, Kathleen Y’Barbo’s The Black Midnight puts a pair of star-crossed Pinkerton detectives on the trail of a Texas killer who may also be the notorious Jack the Ripper. Very highly recommended and sure to keep you reading well past your bedtime!!” Colleen Thompson, RITA-nominated author of Deadly Texas Summer 
“You’re in for a wild ride as Kathleen Y’Barbo takes you on a story through some of America and Britain’s grisliest murders and somehow manages to weave in a delicious romance. From Texas to London, the ties that bind may be more linked than you previously believed. Settle in for a novel of suspense and romancejust be sure to look over your shoulder every now and then!” Jaime Jo Wright, 2018 Christy Award-winning author of The House on Foster Hill and 2020 Inspy Award-nominated The Curse of Misty Wayfair



The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo is one of the most balanced and flawlessly written historical fiction books I have ever read. And that is quite an accomplishment when you consider that it is loosely framed about the infamous Jack the Ripper case. It can be difficult to suspend the reader’s disbelief or incorporate fictional characters around such a case, even with the holes in evidence.

As a murderino (a fan of the My Favorite Murder podcast), I was already familiar with the various theories about Jack the Ripper but completely forgot about the possible connection to murders in Austin, Texas. Having lived in Austin while I attended the University of Texas at Austin, it was thrilling to read about the city and the university from an imagined 19th century point of view. Beyond the obvious horse and buggy references, we have historic landmarks like the Driskill Hotel breaking ground and the capitol under construction. I always get a thrill from sartorial details that solidify the time period: pin watches, bowler hats, and sprigged patterned frocks.

Y’Barbo delivers a smart mystery and a touching love story all in one. She sets up the “present” time and jumps to the past to explain the tense encounter between the ex-Pinkerton partners. Y’Barbo also shifts seamlessly from Annie’s perspective to Isaiah’s, and even more smoothly transitions from the gumshoe to the heartstring moments.

As much as I enjoyed Annie and Isaiah, my favorite characters in the book were Queen Victoria and the housekeeper Miss Hattie. I couldn’t picture anyone’s face clearly in my head, but the dialogue and gumption of those two characters in particular made me smile every time. Normally, the lack of physical descriptions would bother me, but this novel contained minute details like tics and differentiated speech patterns that kept my attention focused on more important things.

I think that anyone who has an interest in historical fiction and unsolved mysteries would enjoy this story. Even though it is not categorized as a romance, I think that fans of the historical romance genre would like this one as well. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and author of more than eighty books, with almost two million in print. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and several Top Picks by Romantic Times magazine.

Kathleen celebrated her fifteenth year as a published author by receiving the Romantic Times Inspirational Romance Book of the Year Award for Sadie’s Secret, a Secret Lives of Will Tucker novel. Her novels celebrate life, love, and the Lord—and whenever she can manage it, her home state of Texas. Recent releases include The Pirate Bride, River of Life, and My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas.

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One Winner: Signed copy of The Black Midnight + $20 Amazon gift card
Four Winners: Signed copy of The Black Midnight
AUGUST 6-16, 2020
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2 responses to “Review & Giveaway: The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo

  1. WOW! What a great review — makes me want to DEAR! Thanks for the post!

  2. lynnmpoppe

    Hah! My favorite characters are Miss Hattie and Queen Victoria as well!

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