Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review - The Yard (JS)

The Yard - Alex Grecian
Review by Jacqui Slaney
Though I do like crime novels, I do normally prefer those set in earlier times - hence my large collection of Agatha Christies!
Therefore, when I found this one I was intrigued with the idea so decided to give it a go.
This is the description:
Victorian London is in the grip of a wave of crime and murder, with its citizens no longer able to trust the police to protect them. The newly formed Murder Squad of Scotland Yard, made up of just twelve detectives, battles in vain against the tide of violence and cruelty. When the body of a Yard detective is found in a suitcase, his lips sewn together and his eyes sewn shut, it becomes clear that not even the police are safe from attack. Has the Ripper returned - or is a new killer at large? Walter Day, the squad's newest recruit, is assigned the case and finds a strange ally in the Yard's first forensic pathologist, Dr Bernard Kingsley. Can they find the murderer before it's too late? Or is London at the mercy of a serial killer even deadlier than Jack the Ripper?

The story is set in Victorian England, a year after the Jack the Ripper murders. This spectre still haunts the streets and it seems to the police that the public has turned against them due to their failure to find Saucy Jack.

The story starts quickly with a discovery of a body in a trunk at a railway station, and we discover that the body is that of a Scotland Yard detective. The newest recruit to the newly formed Murder Squad - Inspector Day is given the case to investigate. He is new to London and to the rank of Inspector, and so is understandably nervous about being given a very high profile case to deal with. He is befriended though by one of the more experienced Inspectors and between them they set out to try to uncover who the murderer is, though it soon becomes clear that there are two serial killers on the streets for them to find.

Now this is the first novel from this author and he is American, so do not expect a completely accurate historical novel, but then again, if I had wanted that, I would have picked up a factual novel about this time.

I found the story intriguing. Not least because you get the POV of the trunk murderer and then the POV of the Beard Killer as he is soon known. The writing is good, the plot does not race away with you but it can dip at times. Alex Grecian builds a picture that holds your attention. 
The characters are good. You like and care about Day and his wife, the young constable Hammersmith and Dr Kingsley and his young daughter who sketches the dead for him without turning a hair. 
There are various sub plots running underneath the main story line. They too add to the depth of the book and overall help to make the story entertaining and a good read.  All the strands are nicely tied up at the end.

I would recommend this book and I will definitely be looking out for the next in the series.

8 out of 10