The Devil's Workshop

Written by Alex Grecian

Review written by Sara Townsend

Sara-Jayne Townsend is a published crime and horror writer and likes books in which someone dies horribly. She is founder and Chair Person of the T Party Writers’ Group. http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com/


The Devil's Workshop
Penguin
RRP: £6.99 / £3.49
Released: July 21st, 2014
Pbk / Kindle

April, 1890.  London wakes to the shocking news of a mass prison escape.  Walter Day and the Scotland Yard Murder Squad now face a desperate race against time:  if the four convicted murderers aren’t recaptured before night settles, they’ll vanish into the dark alleys of London’s criminal underworld for ever.  And in the midst of this mayhem and fear the city’s worst nightmare is realised:  Jack the Ripper haunts the streets of London once more.

This is the third book in the Murder Squad series, and when I picked it up and read the above paragraph as the blurb on the back of the book I admit I was rather apprehensive.

Happily, my fears were proven to be unfounded.  This book stands alone and does not rely on the events that occurred earlier in the series.  One of my issues with books set in the Victorian era is that women don’t get to do much, but there is one strong female character in this novel.  It does not come in the form of Walter Day’s heavily pregnant wife, who spends the majority of the novel in labour, fretting about the fact that her husband is off on the case and cannot be contacted.  However, Fiona Kingsley, the daughter of the doctor who is summoned to attend to Mrs Day, is a quick-thinking and quite unflappable young woman.  The men around her seem to be completely oblivious to her resilience, but hopefully the author realises her value and brings her back for future novels.

As for the plot around Jack the Ripper, there is an interesting twist on this, involving a secret London society.  Of course, Jack the Ripper is such a well-documented figure in history that any novel in which he features is going to end with his escape and not his capture, but a rather suspenseful plot plays out before we get there.

This book will not appeal to those who prefer their crime on the cosier side, as the violence is decidedly graphic at times, but anyone who likes historical thrillers will find this an engrossing read.

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