Henry Rathbone is called by an old friend whose son has gone missing 10 days before the Christmas holiday. Now in his early 20s, Lucien has known trouble for some time and has often fallen victim to the vices of drugs, alcohol, and women. His father now fears the worst. Their old friend and reformed brothel-owner, Squeaky Robinson, volunteers to help. Henry agrees and, joined by Crow, a young doctor at the clinic, the pair trawls the pubs, brothels, and opium dens of the West End in search of clues. And so they set forth on their odyssey into London’s dark streets, on a mission whose outcome they cannot begin to guess.
©2010 Anne Perry. All rights reserved. (P)2010 AudioGo
I love Anne Perry. Every year I look forward to reading one or more of her Christmas novels. This book has nothing to do with Christmas, short of coincidence with a calendar date. It is as dark a book as I've read in a very long time, and I've read at least one Stephen King recently. I stuck it through, waiting for some kind of redemption to the horrible story about human trafficking, and levels of sexual depravity I hadn't previously imagined (and I'm not a prude), and... there was no redemption. The ending was a brief outline lasting a few minutes, in an offhand tone. Up until that point - endless darkness and depravity. The title feels like a manipulation, as does the picture of the cover.
I gave it three stars because it was a decent character study, fairly well written, and wonderfully narrated.
I totally agree with L. Holloway's review. I haven't listened to all of Ms. Perry's Chirstmas series yet, but this one is quite depressing. Has nothing to do with Christmas. Granted, her books are murder mysteries, which is depressing in itself, but the setting for this one is in the tunnels under the city where the dregs of society reside. Quite depressing. I don't know why I listened to the end.....probably because I wanted to see how it turns out. A few expletives here, but no F-bombs.
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