Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Yard, by Alex Grecian

The Yard: A Novel, by Alex Grecian

I enjoyed every word of this novel. Set in a post-Jack the Ripper England the adventure follows Inspector Day, the newest member of the homicide squad, who is trying to solve what begins as a murder of a fellow investigator but eventually encompasses several other grisly deaths and a child abduction as well. Day is joined in his efforts by Dr. Kingsley, Scotland Yard's first forensic pathologist, and the dedicated Constable Hammersmith; the trio makes a formidable and effective team, making use of new and untrusted technologies such as fingerprinting as they work. In this era the failure of the justice system to bring the Ripper to justice has both seriously diminished the police in the eyes of the public, and the thought of another serial killer working London is frightening to everyone. Our heroes are depicted as exceptionally talented, but the disdain of the people they are trying to protect and their own insecurities make for interesting if not quite flawed individuals.

Grecian paints a compelling picture of Victorian London, even including as an active character the real-world Sir Edward Bradford as the Police Commissioner. London doesn't quite manage to be a character of its own here as in Gaiman's Neverwhere, but its influence on the story is commented on often by its citizens. "He had seen idealistic men come and go, the city leaching hope from them too quickly." "We're in the biggest city in the world, ... and I think it's trying to get rid of us." The city's size may be hard to fathom for its inhabitants, but with only a few characters and settings the overwhelming scope didn't really come through to the reader as powerfully as it could have. Ignoring the occasional anachronistic language and the characters constantly bumping into one another in a city as large as London, though, is easy with such a gripping story.

First Sentence:
Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found.

No comments:

Search This Blog