Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell
E-Book (Kindle), 368 pages
May 7, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller
Source: Received through Netgalley as part of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour
“GASLIT LONDON IS BROUGHT TO ITS KNEES IN DAVID MORRELL'S BRILLIANT HISTORICAL THRILLER.
Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir ‘Confessions of an English Opium-Eater,’is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier.
The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey's essay ‘On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.’ Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives.
In Murder as a Fine Art,David Morrell plucks De Quincey, Victorian London, and the Ratcliffe Highway murders from history. Fogbound streets become a battleground between a literary star and a brilliant murderer, whose lives are linked by secrets long buried but never forgotten.”
This was one powerful novel. At every turn the reader is taken by surprise and the suspense keeps you moving on to that next page. You don’t know who the murderer is until the author wants you to know – I dare you to guess in advance and see if you are right! The style very much reminds me of Dan Simmons in The Terror.
The point of view of this novel was interesting. You get both 3rd person omniscient, which is more of a rarity, as well as 1st person in the form of a series of journal entries. While I didn’t mind either the 3rd person omniscient or 1st person on its own, I didn’t really like them juxtaposed one after another. It didn’t seem like the segues between them made sense. If hard pressed, I would state that I didn’t find much value in the journal entries of Emily De Quincey. Her character seemed to be with the others who were being narrated about in the other sections and we didn’t learn anything new from these sections. According to an author’s note, this POV style was used in keeping with the styling of a Victorian sensation novel and in accordance with the time period and events transpiring in the novel, which I find admirable, however as this isn’t a style I’m used to, it was a little difficult to adapt to.
There were also some awkward areas where the novel seemingly turned into a non-fiction. The author would begin doing a lot more telling and a lot less showing. The things that he was choosing to explain I didn’t feel needed explaining necessarily; it felt jarring and unnecessary.
I do have to admit that I loved the characters. Detective Inspector Ryan and Constable Becker were my two favorites. I enjoyed learning about the early use of forensics within Scotland Yard as well as the understanding of medicine. These two men were quite admirable and were enjoyable to read about in every scene, especially when they were in them together. I wouldn’t mind seeing them in a series.
Author David Morrell has written many other books within the thriller/mystery category, but as far as I can tell, this is his first historical. You can visit his website for additional information about the book.
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Also, as part of the tour, I have a giveaway opportunity for one lucky person from the United States. Simply make your entries in the Rafflecopter below before June 2nd to have a chance to win. The giveaway is sponsored as part of the HFVBT tour for the book and will be mailed out by the publisher.
Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court