This striking cover with its skeletal visage—is it formed by smoke or fire?—wearing a top hat and the vintage map of London behind it have me asking: what is it that we have here?
“A moody whodunit with a horrific twist, set in London during Jack the Ripper’s red reign…” says the quote (attributed to Niall Alexander) on the cover.
I seldom pay attention to quotes, but this one actually gives me an idea of the story. I’d noted the period look of the cover image and the skull fits in with the Jack the Ripper theme.
“Already frustrated in their attempts to capture serial murderer Jack the Ripper, the detectives of Scotland Yard are suddenly confronted with a new monster, dubbed the Torso Killer for his habit of leaving behind neatly wrapped parcels of his victims’ body parts, minus the heads.”
Okay, from this jacket description, I’d say the novel has moved from mystery category to one more suitable to the horror genre. Yet I’m still intrigued. Especially by the description of the police surgeon, Dr. Thomas Bond. He’s lost the ability to sleep, a result of having to deal with the examination of so many mutilated corpses, and has turned to opium. Wandering the underbelly of London, Dr. Bond encounters a Jesuit priest who has “unnatural theories about the Torso Killer.”
Now I begin to wonder if there may be a paranormal aspect to the story. Author Pinborough is noted for horror novels and thrillers and, according to her bio, “a supernatural crime series for television.” Further her bio illuminates that this is the first of two books “based on the real-life police surgeon Dr. Thomas Bond.”
The appeal of this book, cover and all, puts it firmly in my to-be-read pile. Though I just might wait until Halloween to enjoy it.