Three days into 2017, and I’ve just finished checking off the first book I’ve completed for the 2017 PopSugar Reading Challenge. I started with readinThree days into 2017, and I’ve just finished checking off the first book I’ve completed for the 2017 PopSugar Reading Challenge. I started with reading a book I picked up while traveling, since The Ripper’s Shadow arrived while I was spending the holidays with my family.
I wasn’t sure what to think about this book. I love books set during the Victorian Era, but don’t often gravitate towards ones that focus on Jack the Ripper. This book caught my attention because of the unusual narrator.
Unlike most of the other Ripper themed books I’ve read over the years, this one wasn’t told by an investigating officer or a Holmesish figure. The narrator was a female photographer with an unusual connection to the case. To earn extra money, she takes “boudoir photos” of prostitutes. When her models turn into bloody corpses, Sarah Bain realizes the Ripper is using her photos to select his victims. She’s determined to protect the rest of her models and to stop him once and for all.
Sarah isn’t alone in her quest. Despite the fact that she’s normally a loner, she assembles an unusual team of helpmates that share her desire to learn the truth of the murders, never dreaming that their eagerness to do the right thing will irrevocably change their lives. Despite my early trepidation, I was delighted with The Ripper’s Shadow. The story is brilliantly plotted and each character is forced to step outside of their comfort zone and take chances. The characters aren’t always likeable, but they’re consistent and mesh well with one another. My only compliant is that it felt like Sarah accepted them into her life a bit too quickly. I’m crossing my fingers that the author has plans to turn The Ripper’s Shadow into a series that features the same group of characters. I’m particularly interested to learn Hugh’s future.
I’m intrigued by the author’s ability to incorporate research and Victorian atmosphere into her narrative in a way that feels completely natural. The entire time I was reading the book, I felt as if I was walking along Whitechapel’s filthy streets.
The book reads quickly (it only took me a few short hours to finish it) and does a wonderful job engaging the reader. I think most mystery lovers will be interested to discover the author’s take on who Jack the Ripper was. ...more
I’m not sure if it was my mood while reading this (I had a head cold) or if it was the story itself, but the latest in the Sebastian St. Cyr series juI’m not sure if it was my mood while reading this (I had a head cold) or if it was the story itself, but the latest in the Sebastian St. Cyr series just didn’t do anything for me. It’s the first book in the series where I actually found myself looking forward to finishing it and wondering why it was taking me so long to reach the last page. I suspect that one of the reasons I failed to enjoy this book as much as I expected stems from the fact that Sebastian was away from London, which also meant he was parted from the delightful cast of secondary characters that add so much color to his life. While the characters in this story were okay, I still felt the loss of the rest. I particularly missed Jarvis, he’s not my favorite, but I enjoy the way his mind works and love guessing what cards he has up his sleeve. The good news is that this is a tightly written mystery and in true C.S. Harris fashion, it’s difficult to guess who the murderer is before the story ends, which is one of the things I’ve always enjoyed about her books. The story is full of solid descriptions and interesting people. It’s nice to read how much Sebastian and Hero have grown and changed and I look forward to reading more about the story. While all the books in the Sebastian St. Cyr series can be read as individual stories or in order, this book in particular I think works well as a standalone for anyone who simply wants to check out the series. In fact, I think that I would have like it better if I hadn’t already read the previous books.