Letters from a Murderer by John Matthews (ARC)
Publisher: Angry Robot Ltd
Publication Date: 24 September 2012
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction
A little bit about Author:
John was first published at age 26.
Biggest seller: Past Imperfection: Listed as top ten all time best thriller.
Why did I choose this book/Source?: I saw the book up for review on NetGalley - An Author Promotions Website Program I belong to. I was intrigued by the mystery detective theme on the cover and the blurb caught my attention
New York, 1891: a rapidly changing city, torn between lamplight and electric light, where the burgeoning steel and railway industries attract a flood of humanity from every corner of the globe, fuelling cut-throat gangs, corruption and vice.
A prostitute is found brutally murdered. Immediately fear starts to spread. The victim bears the same hallmarks as Jack the Ripper's recent killing spree in England. Could it be that the Ripper has crossed the Atlantic to fresh killing grounds? Or is this simply a copycat murder?
To solve the case, one of the original English Ripper pathologists, Finley Jameson, is teamed up with Joseph Argenti, one of the new 'untouchable' detectives, hand-picked by a New York Mayor eager to fight corruption.
But Michael Tierney, the city's leading gangster, has his own ideas about how the city should be run. And as the body-count rises, and Jameson & Argenti are taunted by the killer in open letters, they find themselves fighting, not just to save the next victim, but for the city's very soul.
I had high hopes for this book and it did not disappoint. I expected it to have a Sherlock Holmes, detective mystery feel to it, and it completely consumed my attention, once I took the time to adjust and take to the book (As I was in Paranormal Romance mode).
In the beginning it feels as if there are a lot of characters to place in the story, and to figure out how they all fit together. The characters are well developed and John captured that era perfectly.
Finley Jameson - This is a character that keeps you guessing - he is a good guy and one of the lead investigators, but his past seems very well hidden and coincidences keep you intrigued.
Joseph Argenti - Lead detective in the police department. I liked this character from the start. He is smart and observant. Sometimes the case scenes do get a bit overwhelming for him and he cannot understand Finley's detachment at first.
McCluskey, McCabe, Tierney - I did not like these guys at all, but I guess that goes in line with them being the villains of the story.
Plot, Writing style & Cover: 5/5
It took me a a few chapters to realise that the opening paragraphs in chapter 2 were a letter and not a conversation, and that the letter was from the Murderer and not from Jameson's mentor (Colby) in London. The plot flows easily, is intriguing and captures your attentions within the first few chapters. Some parts are a bit gory but not overly descriptive, nothing a weak stomach can't handle, but still disturbing. John writes well and knows how to write a good mystery. I LOVED the cover. It is probably what drew me to the book in the first place.