Jo Fletcher Books, Jan 6 2015, $26.99
Several years have passed since police surgeon Thomas Bond turned to opium to dull the images of the Ripper and Torso victims (see Mayhem) although he still sees his once serene London as a nightmare. His fears delayed Thomas telling the Torso killer’s Widow Juliana Harrington that he loves her; but feels the time is right to present his heart to her. However, his paranoia that more vicious lunatics stalk the streets especially since he knows dormant Jack remains out there intensifies when visiting American Edward Kane shows him letters that the deceased Thames Torso Killer James Harrington sent him in the late 1880s. Adding to Bond’s discomfit is the foreigner courts his beloved.
When several murders of children left floating in the Thames occur, the police believe Ripper is back though these are not the same demographics of his previous victims. While the cops hope this time to catch the elusive slasher, Bond looks back at the evidence from the Thames Torso and the previous Ripper cases. This leads him to what his rational mind rejected back in ’87 as unreal.
Once again using a genuine historical person to tell the dark sequel, Sarah Pinborough provides a taut late Victorian crime thriller with the same stunning Eastern European spin. There is less focus on the victims than in the predecessor, as the early focus is more on the romantic triangle. Like a magician Ms. Pinborough pulls away the comfortable cozy rug and replaces it with a very grim and gory Murder drama only to pull that rug away too leaving a stunned audience with an incredible unexpected climatic twist.