Boy, this was a tough read in terms of subject matter. This author takes a crime scenario (this time pedophilia which is terrible in and of itself) an...moreBoy, this was a tough read in terms of subject matter. This author takes a crime scenario (this time pedophilia which is terrible in and of itself) and then manages to turn the knife and make a bad situation much, much worse. Not only does she write physical cruelty and brutality but also psychological brutality--there is no dressing up or sugar coating the awful situations. The author seems to like getting across that the worst part may not be the murder itself but usually is the terror and suffering inflicted beforehand.
Leading man Jack Caffery is a bit of a hard pill to swallow as well as he has more faults than he does redeeming qualities.... I find I want to like him but then he'll say/do something that has me becoming that irate individual shaking the book. I felt more frustrated with him this time around than I did in the first.
I don't really know that, for me, this is the sort of series I could recommend around as it seems this author is trying to keep this as "realistic" as possible--there are no white knight shining moments, no happy endings. I feel I'm left frowning at the end of the book, feeling uncomfortable and largely unsatisfied with a bitter taste in my mouth.
However, I do want to read the 6th installment which means I'll have to get through the rest of the books. Yikes. Wish me luck.(less)
I wavered between 3 and 4 stars for this one and went with the lower score due to the rationalization of the culprit. If it weren't for that, I would'...moreI wavered between 3 and 4 stars for this one and went with the lower score due to the rationalization of the culprit. If it weren't for that, I would've given this a 4. I can't really go into the reasons why without spoiling the end. Otherwise this was a fun little piece, reminded me a bit of the Christmas one, as it took place in a stately home in England, with Georgianna as a guest. At the end of the day, I believe these are meant to be lighthearted romps and the author delivers, so I can't really complain.(less)
The term "historical novel" should be used extremely loosely in the case of this book.
I should also note it was no small miracle of will (compulsion)...moreThe term "historical novel" should be used extremely loosely in the case of this book.
I should also note it was no small miracle of will (compulsion) on my part that I was able to grit my teeth and finish this book.
I don't bother with summaries in my reviews as there's always the back/inside cover/sometimes-helpful-blurb-in-the-description-section-on-websites that will likely detail it better. Allow me instead to inform you what this novel is not.
1.) This is not a mystery. We are informed of the killer fairly early on and are dogged with his insipid presence throughout the book through italicized passages. For emphasis, presumably. Being Whitechapel in the year 1889 it should not surprise the reader to find that there is actually more than one murderer afoot. I'll try not to spoil anything (how could I though when they author does it himself so well?) Basically I can only believe that the asinine connection to the Ripper presence was the author's misguided attempt to ride on the Ripper's notorious laurels. It's certainly what drew me in initially when I glanced at the summary of the book.
2.) This ultimately has nothing to do with the Jack the Ripper though boy does the author try. Too hard in my opinion. Why did the author bother? The information he utilized was cursory at best. Maybe he presumed we already knew enough facts about the Ripper (or Saucy Jack as he insisted on calling him, which is fine except it was used like a given name for the Ripper) Except, I'm sorry, I've seen those photographs, I've read the reports, in fact the Ripper interests me greatly so I find I'm unable to suspend my sense of disbelief when you have not one but two characters that have managed to survive (well for a period of time in one case) having their throats slit to the bone. I'll be delving well and deep into the spoiler-y sort of zone if I get too much into it but how does that even make sense? There is so much muscle and sinewy, not to mention, you know, a major artery or two. I understand it is possible to survive having one's throat slit if the cut isn't deep, or isn't both of the major arteries and if the circumstances are right, if help is immediate and stellar. Shall we look at the date again? Shall we look at the district of London this little tale takes place in?
3.) This will not show an accurate picture of Victorian London in 1889. I mean, at this point why even bother setting this in England? I think the author became a little geographically confused, thought himself in New York for all the abundance of brownstones that made their startling appearance. This story, beyond the echoes of the Ripper failure, had no need to be set in London. In fact, I would've been a lot more forgiving if this had been set in say, New York or Boston or Chicago. Certainly the London geography was.... bizarre at best. Not to mention Inspector's wife's obsession with preparing mock turtle soup. Let's not forget the killer commenting on he prefers to abstain from electricity. On his salary it seems unlikely he would ever be able to afford it. Gas lighting I will give.
I think I've warn myself out with all of this griping but I'm sure my point has come across.
As of this moment, I think this will stand as one of the worst, if not the worst books I have read this year. If I could give this a negative 5 star rating I would. A dreary 1-star don't-bother-using-this-book-for-anything-other-than-fire-fodder. Though I only have myself to blame for slogging through this disaster, I hope you will take my advice and read something else.(less)
Dear Dexter, you sure spend a lot of time addressing yourself. Maybe it's a sociopath thing. Hopefully alliteration isn't a sociopath thing too becaus...moreDear Dexter, you sure spend a lot of time addressing yourself. Maybe it's a sociopath thing. Hopefully alliteration isn't a sociopath thing too because I noticed you did quite a bit of that.
I've actually never watched the TV series--something I keep meaning to get around to but never manage so I was happy to read the book. It's a fun, especially with Dexter's quippy, dry running commentary. It did get a little redundant, him reminding us he's (mostly) void of emotions but I guess he's like Santa in that respect and has to make sure everything is double-triple-checked twice. Per Harry's Law, of course.
It's actually not as gory as one might think. Most of the descriptions are left up to the imaginations of the reader with just the barest hint or description given when it comes to the murders themselves. So even though mutilations and so forth may happen, the author doesn't dwell. Which I suppose makes sense, given his leading man doesn't care one fig how the victim's nervous system is handling the damage.
I'll read the next one anyway and maybe one day I'll actually sit down and watch the series too.(less)
**spoiler alert** Beware! If, like me, you have been meaning to get around to those Victorian mysteries but haven't had the chance, DO NOT READ THIS B...more**spoiler alert** Beware! If, like me, you have been meaning to get around to those Victorian mysteries but haven't had the chance, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. I've had the plots of Lady Audley's Secret, the Woman in White, and Moonstone just to name a few spoiled for me. Granted they've been in print so long I shouldn't be complaining but, up until this moment, I've been so careful to preserve myself against spoilers! Alas.
That being said, in some ways I almost feel as though this book missed the point. More than the murder case, I felt as though this were a look at detection as a profession, how it developed, how English society looked upon it and how literature was was influenced by it. The murder was almost a side note and even as the author admits herself, I feel that the little victim was lost, forgotten entirely amidst the whodunit. That doesn't mean that this wasn't an interesting read and reminds me a little of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America in that this author also strives to remind the reader of other events that were happening at the same time, a nice way of tying things together from a historical perspective. One can't fault her research (she even looked back at newspapers for weather reports).
All in all, I think I liked this book though it wasn't at all what I expected.(less)
Towards the end I couldn't stop thinking how this must be the equivalent of the penny-dreadfuls of yore. There were simply far too many small details...moreTowards the end I couldn't stop thinking how this must be the equivalent of the penny-dreadfuls of yore. There were simply far too many small details that bothered me to the point of distraction. Why wasn't the daughter of an Earl EVER IN MOURNING DRESS (not to mention respecting mourning periods)? I'm no expert on this particular time period but I couldn't help but feel that their attitudes towards the "colonialist" in their midst (what with the American Revolutionary War going on and all) was a little blase, not to mention the fact that I felt the Earl and his family (Earls only below Dukes and Marquess in terms of ranking) were very familiar with servants and others of low birth--one just wouldn't mix. England ought to be hyperventilating over the colonial war for multiple reasons as it leads (in its own way) to the French revolution and the last thing the nobility wants is the people revolting and there should've been far more characters swinging at Tyburn. Don't get me started on her Irish husband.
The mystery, if we can call it such, did a little bit of twisting but in the predictable way that made it less interesting and instead left me sighing, rolling my eyes and wishing the author would get on with it so I could finish the book, put it down and never pick it up again.(less)