Tag Archives: Jack the Ripper

The Yard: A Preview

I love a good mystery, and I’m also very interested in Victorian London, which meant when an advanced reading copy of the upcoming novel The Yard by Alex Grecian came into Indigo Books my manager made sure I got my hands on it. After basically reading it nonstop the biggest problem is it will be at least until June before the rest of you can read it.

The Yard takes place shortly after Jack the Ripper went through his spree in Whitechapel, and I was very grateful that the notorious man didn’t make a cameo appearance in the novel, with the exception of a dream or two. The London presented by Grecian has not been whitewashed, it is a dark, gritty and horribly inhospitable place. Children are kidnapped forced into workshops or up chimneys and in just the month before the book takes place at least 96 men with their throats slit were fished out of the Thames. Grecian certainly doesn’t try to portray the city through an inaccurate nostalgic lens.

Our main characters are the boys from The Murder Squad, the twelve detectives charged by Scotland Yard to handle every murder case that happens within London. These men are given strong and vivid characters and each one of the detectives is clearly and compellingly distinct from the others. The novel debuts with the discovery that one of their fellow detectives has been murdered, and if that wasn’t enough for them another serial killer has begun a reign of terror in the city. The novel also shows us the birth of forensics to solve crime with Dr. Kingsley the Yard’s first Forensic Pathologist.

The actual mysteries in the book are not the main focus, we regularly follow the villain’s perspective, so we know who the guilty parties are well before the end of the book. . The book’s real strength is in the polices interactions with each and the stresses of trying to rebuild the reputation of The Yard after the Ripper fiasco.

The Murder Squad is based an actual and similarly understaffed division of Scotland Yard that was created to try to curtail the bad press that Jack the Ripper caused.

This is a great work by a debut novelist, and I can’t wait to read more books in this series.

To pre-order a copy please shop IndieBound:

Shop Indie Bookstores

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Fiction


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Autobiography of the Ripper
They have just had the biggest break in the Ripper case, since well over a hundred years when the Ripper case started. Jack has apparently made the classic giant mistake of writing a memoir about his experiences ripping his way through White Chapel all of those years ago.

I’m naturally skeptical as to the authenticity of these memoirs. I highly doubt that they have been sitting out of sight all these years to just now be rediscovered. This comes from my admittedly limited understanding of Jack the Ripper. As I understand it the Ripper craved attention, he continued a spree of highly violent crimes without any effort to conceal the bodies. He sent at least a few letters to Scotland Yard basically taunting the police. He even went as far to send half a kidney to them, you know just for a laugh. I feel like if he had written these memoirs his ego would probably have led him to try to send this papers to someone, so he could get the recognition.

These papers are said to be written by a James Carnac yet no record of a James Carnac existing have been found.

I do however greatly want to read these, and find out what more experts have to say before I fully confirm my opinion.


Posted by on January 20, 2012 in News


Tags: , , ,

Erik Larson’s Thunderstruck

Erik Larson truly is a master storyteller, I was completely captivated by Devil in the White City which I listened to on audiobook and if I had any complaint with it, it would be that Devil couldn’t last the entire 20 hour drive to Maine. With that in mind I finally picked up another one of his other books Thunderstruck.

Thunderstruck is an amazing book that intertwines what seems like two very distinct stories that tie together so perfectly with each one greatly enriching the other. I rarely encounter a nonfiction that truly sucks me and replaces the rest of the world. I only had to put the book down once to walk my dogs, other than that today has just been me and Thunderstruck.

One focus is Dr. Crippen and his wife. They bring us into the sultry world of phony medicine, real poisons and amateur dramatics. Over the years I have heard quite a few references to the Crippen case and never knew the particulars, I don’t want to spoil anything if you don’t know the case yourself. I will say that it involves the birth of forensic sciences and a veteran investigator from the Ripper investigations.

Larson also follows Guglielmo Marconi and his quest to bring about wireless communication. Marconi is a man with next to no formal education but does have strong ties to the Jameson whiskey empire, which is apparently all you need to outfox the leading scientists of the Victorian age.

Ultimately I’ve concluded that I can’t wait to get my hands on Larson’s newest book In the Garden of Beasts. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long, I know there is a copy under the tree for my fiance and she is a quicker reader than I.
I also need to learn how to walk two dogs while continuing to read.

by Erik Larson


Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Non-Fiction


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,