Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Yard: A novel

When I picked up this book, I was instantly intrigued by what the jacket covered boasted, "London, 1889. Jack the Ripper's reign of terror is finally over - but a new one is just beginning". I am interested in the conspiracies surrounding Jack the Ripper, so it seemed like this novel would be a intensely macabre and fun romp around Victorian London, but it wasn't what I was expecting or hoped for.

I had a hard time understanding why Alex Grecian decided to go with two storylines involving murder within this novel. It would have been a much more satisfying read if he would have stuck with one of them and developed that as much as possible. With the new inspector being added to the Scotland Yard, the murder of a fellow inspector, the Beard Killer murders, to the missing boys, there was just too much to keep track of. On top of all of this you have a wonderfully quirky doctor that is working with introducing forensics into solving these cases with an intense back story of his own that introduces several other new characters into the novel.

Grecian also had some issues with the editing of his book. There were several instances where the point of view had problems, which made it a little hard to follow. Going into italics for the main killer's thoughts and experiences was okay, but I felt it took a little away from reality and made it feel more like fiction or surreal in a way. The killer's grandeur is well within the scope of a serial murderer, but he almost seemed a little too brazen and that didn't really work for me. Some of the vocabulary and spoken language didn't seem fitting for the time being written about either.

However, I appreciated what Grecian was trying to do with this novel and thought that some of it was very good. What was promised by the book jacket was never really brought to fruition. I was expecting something as gruesome like the Ripper murders that would be equally hard to solve. What I got were many different storylines that never really lived up to that.

If you are looking for a great historical murder mystery that is the same caliber as the Jack the Ripper murders, then you will most likely not enjoy this book. If you enjoy novels that have many storylines going on at one time but still capture the spirit of historical murder mysteries, then you may enjoy this book.

Rating: 2 out of 5

I checked this book out of my local library; I was not paid or asked to do this review.

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