Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

A killer copying the brutal 1811 Ratcliffe Highway murders terrorizes 1854 London in this brilliant crime thriller from Morrell (First Blood). The earlier slaughters, attributed to a John Williams, were the subject of a controversial essay by Thomas De Quincey entitled "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." A man who considers himself an "artist of death" duplicates the first set of Williams's killings by using a mallet and a knife to dispatch a shopkeeper, his wife, their two children (including an infant), and a servant. The similarities send the police after De Quincey, who, aided by his able daughter Emily, must vindicate himself and catch the killer. Morrell tosses in the political machinations of Lord Palmerston, then Home Secretary, who has been promoting revolution in Europe to assure Great Britain's political dominance. Everything works-the horrifying depiction of the murders, the asides explaining the impact of train travel on English society, nail-biting action sequences-making this book an epitome of the intelligent page-turner. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Morrell (The Naked Edge) is best known for his 1976 First Blood, which introduced Rambo to the world. Since then the author has written in a variety of action genres, including in comic books, and this fluency shows in this diverting period crime novel that's set in 1854 London. Three sleuths, including two detectives from the infant Scotland Yard and the infamous "Opium-Eater," Thomas De Quincey, hunt for a killer who has replicated a pair of 40-year-old massacres that De Quincey had praised in one of his essays. Thirteen people have already been brutally slaughtered. Now De Quincey is the prime suspect. VERDICT Morrell hooks the reader early and moves the action along swiftly. He also effectively captures a long-gone London and details how the city was changing as it moved into the industrial age. This diverting thriller will please the many readers who enjoy historical crime fiction.-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* At the start of this exceptional historical mystery, an artist of death prepares himself for his greatest creation the gruesome slaughter of a young shop owner and his family. In 1854, East Londoners hadn't seen such horrific murders since 1851, when John Williams also killed a shopkeeper and his family in a nearby neighborhood. The new crime finds Detective Inspector Shawn Ryan at the grisly, chaotic crime scene, where evidence is trampled as the killer blithely escapes. Visiting London at the time, for reasons he can't fully understand, is Thomas De Quincey, scandalous opium eater and author of the 1827 satirical essay, On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts, and two newer essays in which he lauds various horrific details of the Williams killings as sublime art. DI Ryan initially treats the drug-riddled, elderly writer as a suspect but eventually accepts his help, if grudgingly. Military-thriller writer Morrell switches genres here in a riveting novel packed with edifying historical minutiae seamlessly inserted into a story narrated in part by De Quincey's daughter and partly in revealing, dialogue-rich prose. The page-flipping action, taut atmosphere, and multifaceted characters will remind readers of D. E. Meredith's Hatton and Roumonde mysteries and Kenneth Cameron's The Frightened Man (2009). Sure to be a hit with the gaslight crowd.--Baker, Jen Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

A killer copying the brutal 1811 Ratcliffe Highway murders terrorizes 1854 London in this brilliant crime thriller from Morrell (First Blood). The earlier slaughters, attributed to a John Williams, were the subject of a controversial essay by Thomas De Quincey entitled "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." A man who considers himself an "artist of death" duplicates the first set of Williams's killings by using a mallet and a knife to dispatch a shopkeeper, his wife, their two children (including an infant), and a servant. The similarities send the police after De Quincey, who, aided by his able daughter Emily, must vindicate himself and catch the killer. Morrell tosses in the political machinations of Lord Palmerston, then Home Secretary, who has been promoting revolution in Europe to assure Great Britain's political dominance. Everything works-the horrifying depiction of the murders, the asides explaining the impact of train travel on English society, nail-biting action sequences-making this book an epitome of the intelligent page-turner. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Morrell (The Naked Edge) is best known for his 1976 First Blood, which introduced Rambo to the world. Since then the author has written in a variety of action genres, including in comic books, and this fluency shows in this diverting period crime novel that's set in 1854 London. Three sleuths, including two detectives from the infant Scotland Yard and the infamous "Opium-Eater," Thomas De Quincey, hunt for a killer who has replicated a pair of 40-year-old massacres that De Quincey had praised in one of his essays. Thirteen people have already been brutally slaughtered. Now De Quincey is the prime suspect. VERDICT Morrell hooks the reader early and moves the action along swiftly. He also effectively captures a long-gone London and details how the city was changing as it moved into the industrial age. This diverting thriller will please the many readers who enjoy historical crime fiction.-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* At the start of this exceptional historical mystery, an artist of death prepares himself for his greatest creation the gruesome slaughter of a young shop owner and his family. In 1854, East Londoners hadn't seen such horrific murders since 1851, when John Williams also killed a shopkeeper and his family in a nearby neighborhood. The new crime finds Detective Inspector Shawn Ryan at the grisly, chaotic crime scene, where evidence is trampled as the killer blithely escapes. Visiting London at the time, for reasons he can't fully understand, is Thomas De Quincey, scandalous opium eater and author of the 1827 satirical essay, On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts, and two newer essays in which he lauds various horrific details of the Williams killings as sublime art. DI Ryan initially treats the drug-riddled, elderly writer as a suspect but eventually accepts his help, if grudgingly. Military-thriller writer Morrell switches genres here in a riveting novel packed with edifying historical minutiae seamlessly inserted into a story narrated in part by De Quincey's daughter and partly in revealing, dialogue-rich prose. The page-flipping action, taut atmosphere, and multifaceted characters will remind readers of D. E. Meredith's Hatton and Roumonde mysteries and Kenneth Cameron's The Frightened Man (2009). Sure to be a hit with the gaslight crowd.--Baker, Jen Copyright 2010 Booklist