Scotland Yard's Murder Squad faces the most shocking case of its existence, in the extraordinary new historical thriller from the author of the acclaimed national best seller The Yard.
London, 1890: Four vicious murderers have escaped from prison, part of a plan gone terribly wrong, and now it is up to Walter Day, Nevil Hammersmith, and the rest of Scotland Yard's Murder Squad to hunt down the convicts before the men can resume their bloody spree. But they might already be too late. The killers have retribution in mind, and one of them is heading straight toward a member of the Murder Squad, and his family.
And that isn't even the worst of it. During the escape, the killers have stumbled upon the location of another notorious murderer, one thought gone for good but now prepared to join forces with them.
Jack the Ripper is loose in London once more.
©2014 Alex Grecian (P)2014 Penguin
I found this book very disappointing. I had read the first two books and they were quite good. The first in the series is by far the best.
This book takes place over a 2 day period and deals with recapturing escaped prisoners. One of the escapees is Tailor who was the murderer in the first book of the series, and the other is Jack the Ripper, who has been hidden in an underground cell since his capture. A few prisoners are quickly rounded up but the Tailor and Jack are still on the loose. At the same time that Day and Hammersmith are hunting escaped prisoners, Day's wife is giving birth with the assistance of Dr. Kingsley and his daughter Fiona.
Part of the story takes place in the catacombs of London where Jack has chained Day to the wall. What follows is an overly long conversation between Jack and Day. When Jack leaves, Day miraculously uses his cuff links to unlock his chains and sets off after Jack despite his wounds.
As one would suspect the Tailor heads for Day's house followed by Jack. What follows is lots of gore, a detailed description of Mrs. Day's labor, blood everywhere, Jack carves up the tailor in Jack the Ripper style. Just about then Day and Hammersmith arrive - more mayhem and blood and gore. Finally Mrs. Day's gives birth and we hear about a new mass murderer called The Harvest Man and Jack escapes. This sets the scene for the next book in the series which obviously will have Jack the Ripper and The Harvest Man on the loose.
As I said there is not much plot here - more a short story than a novel. It is padded with monologues, detailed description of giving birth, and carving up victims Jack the Ripper style. There is very little suspense in the story. We know who the bad guys are from the start, so we get lots of blood and gore in detail to pad the book out. I would hardly call this a mystery - it is nowhere near as good as the first two books which were real mysteries.
I liked the first book very much, and the second one was good. They had good plots and were interesting for what they showed of the day. I liked the Doctor who was pushing the edge of forensic science. But this one was violent for the sake of shock value. The violence was so far unrealistic, especially for the medical capabilities of the day, that they lost all connection with reality. I am so sorry.
It was as if he brought in new threads at the end just to leave them loose. Nothing was finished. This one isn't worth reading. Good guys are bad, bad guys are over the top, and the motivations of everyone are absurd.
The reader did the best he could with the book.
I am sorry that I discovered a new author I liked only to be disappointed so much with this book. I seldom write reviews, but I hope the author reads this and gets back to the great book he started with.
I enjoyed the first two titles of this series, and looked forward to this third entry. HOWEVER, I do not like thrillers -- not as books or as films or as TV programs. The Devil's Workshop turned out to be a thriller with all the things I hate about the genre: repeated, graphic violence and implied and stated gore; repeated, unrelenting menace; manipulative suspense. None of this was suggested by the Audible description. I love historical mysteries and British procedurals, but please leave the blood and gore "off screen." I finished the book, but will view with suspicion Alex Grecian's next title in this series.
Say something about yourself!
This was not what I expected at all. The story is a good one, but the gruesomeness was chilling. That said, I enjoyed it very much. Go figure. The narrator is perfect for the story.
This is more of a thriller and a horror story than a mystery. I simply do not want to spend more time with a filth-covered Jack the Ripper with no pants on. Yuck!
This is the best of the three. Great story, amazing narrator. This story line starts as a speeding train (wink, wink), and takes you on a thrilling ride. It's darker, bloodier and more intense. Hated for it to end and can't wait to start the 4th book.
There are so many Victorian detective series in which the order of the books could be randomized and there would be little difference in the reading. No character growth. Just little character driven exploits. Good and well enough as far as they go and readers enjoy them.
Mr. Grecian has apparently forsaken that formula. On reading the second book in the series, "The Black Country" (a tame and slow paced book) I assumed he too would feed us episodic character driven vignettes. And the first book "The Yard" was so promising.
Not so as it turns out. In "The Devil's Workshop" we have the beginnings of a story arc. The characters are challenged, in fact, virtually overwhelmed by the antagonists and plot of the story and do not emerge as the safe and lovable characters that began the tale. The next book in the series (unreleased at this writing) will pick up the story line and run with it, I predict, at ever dizzying speeds.
Yes, the story is violent. How could it not be with Jack the Ripper? But Jack is complex in a kind of rococo madness. This depth of character makes him all the more frightening than a simple butcher.
Readers expecting another period mystery with a clever twist may be disappointed. There are mysteries woven throughout, but the overwhelming sensation of suspense is the meat of this book.
This third Scotland Yard Murder Squad Mystery is especially enjoyable. I am definitely not a fan of horror stories, but this book was very earnie, dark and compelling, drawing me into the plot almost immediately. Grecian has given Jack the Ripper a new start on his reign of murder and evil, giving him almost the persona of the antichrist. The literal underground of London added great historical interest to the plot also.
This book stands alone just fine, but I am personally glad that I read the previous two books in the series because knowing the background of the Murder Squad adds so much. Inspector Day and his wife are expecting their first child. Their friends and fellow workers get themselves in life threatening situation once again, and the expected child adds to their threatened lives. Life in 1890's Scotland Yard is very new for the times, and much different than today's investigative policeman.
I listened to this on Audible and the delivery was spectacular. The tone and breath of Jack's voice added an air of authenticity to the story that would be difficult to duplicate by just reading the story for yourself. Grecian's Murder Squad continue to please my sense of storytelling. He creates an atmosphere with his words that is marvelously mysterious, and well above the average story telling. Recommend beginning with THE YARD.
I have to admit that I'm a total Audible junkie. MUST have book going at all times. I may be the subject of a family intervention someday.
Too creepy to be called a "cozy" murder mystery - maybe that's why so many reviewers seemed rattled by this entry into the series? I thought it was just fine, in the tradition of many other macabre Victorian murder mysteries. Well done. Still a fan of Alex Grecian.
I have never read the print version, but I find audiobooks always better if the narrator is good.
It would be hard to state here, because it would spoil the story. There were many cliff hanging moments, but the ending is really unexpected.
At first I didn't think I'd like him as well as the narrator on the first two novels. However, he was excellent with all of the voices and I really enjoyed his performance. Perhaps his voice for "Saucy Jack" was the most chilling and he was excellent with colloquial accents, such as Hammersmith's. He is also very good with women's voices and those of youngsters in such a subtle way that you feel as if you are hearing different people speaking.
In Alex Grecian's books I am always touched by the small acts of kindness and compassion that occur, almost subtly, in an otherwise chilling and suspenseful story. In this one, the courage of the elderly neighbor, was very moving.
I loved the first book in this series but didn't care for the second one because the setting was so depressing. So I plunged into this third one, hoping it would be as good as the first novel and I wasn't disappointed. The characters (even the villains) are so multi-dimensional. I think this is one of Alex Grecian's finest points as a writer. There are no "black and whites" and it makes you see all sides and why the characters are motivated to do what they do. This book has a very unique twist on the" disappearance" of Jack the Ripper which seems very plausible. t also keeps you guessing as to what is coming next. This book is creepy, tense,exciting and also heartwarming. It twists and turns and kept me totally connected to the story. I'm looking forward to the next one with anticipation. Alex Grecian just gets better and better!
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