Thursday, September 13, 2018

Review: The Yard by Alex Grecian

Author: Alex Grecian
Publisher: Putnam Books
Date of publication: May 2012

Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only twelve detectives—known as “The Murder Squad”—to investigate countless murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own . . . one of the twelve . . .When Walter Day, the squad’s newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley. Together they track the killer, who clearly is not finished with The Murder Squad . . . but why?

Filled with fascinating period detail, and real historical figures, this spectacular debut in a new series showcases the depravity of late Victorian London, the advent of criminology, and introduces a stunning new cast of characters sure to appeal to fans of The Sherlockian and The Alienist.

The Yard is another book that I have had on my TBR for a long time.  After finishing, I'm sorry I waited so long to read the book.  It's the first in the Scotland Yard Murder Squad series.  The story takes place in Victorian London about a year after the Jack the Ripper murder case went unsolved.  Scotland Yard is working hard to put together a squad that will become top notch in solving murders.  They need to clean up their reputation after failing to catch The Ripper.  A fellow detective is found murdered and the squad is put to work to find the killer.

What I loved the most about this book was the characters.  I loved everyone of them and it was hard to pick a favorite.  While there are numerous detectives, the story focus on three of them: Walter Day (an inspector), Neville Hammersmith (a constable) and Bernard Kingsley (a doctor).  All too often, I feel like I read historical fiction like this but don't really get to know the characters or their motivations.  The author has taken care  of that here by including some 'interludes" with a peek into  each characters' past.  For instance, Hammersmith's interlude helps the reader to understand why he cares so much about solving the death of a young boy found dead in a chimney.  It really made me care about them.

There are three mysteries included in the book.  Although the reader finds out the solution to a couple of them way before the murder squad, it was still fun to watch them work without modern CSI techniques to figure things out.  I ended up listening to the audiobook.  The narrator's ability to make that many distinguishable voices is to be commended.  

This is a series I definitely want to continue with and I already have The Black Country on hold at my library.  I highly recommend this one to lovers of good old fashioned mysteries.

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