This book was surprisingly dull in comparison to The Yard and Black Country. With the "long awaited" appearance of Jack the Ripper (who I honestly didn't want to even meet in this book), it instantly ruined the experience. What bothered me was that we saw too much of Saucy Jack and his bent personality and there seems to be a lack of research here. For starters, he was very frivolous when it came to murder and everything he did felt like it was meant for pure shock value (e.g. watching a dog die (this is important to note for anyone who's checking for animal death in a story)). Jack dealt with ordinary, non-obtrusive men as well as women and it struck me as out of character. I don't know a whole lot about him but I think he was PRETTY fixated on prostitutes and wouldn't just kill people to get some clothes.
The writing for Jack was so bad that I tried to convince myself that by the end of the book, Adrian March would spring up out of the watercloset toilet of the Metropolitan Police Station and scream "That's not the real Jack the Ripper!! I fooled you!" then everything would make sense all of a sudden and it turns out that "Jack" was just a copy-cat killer. If that had been the case, I'd have given this book probably four stars.
All this is sad, however, because Grecian can write splendid domestic interactions and friendship and can somehow make detective work seem less boring, yet with the addition of Jack, I actually skipped those chapters of him in it because to me, watching what the antagonist does completely ruins the mystery of who this guy is and what's his purpose, then 'surprising' the reader when he (spoiler alert) meets Walter Day. I mean, Jack the Ripper is an infamous murderer and I consider it rude to try to climb into the brain of one and say "This is legit how he acted: I was there, trust me" because everyone has a different interpretation of how he might have acted. I like to think that most murderers act similar to Hannibal Lector and keep it composed through day-to-day interactions (pun not intended) and maybe show a little of their true self while they kill. Perhaps I can better appreciate a sane-looking killer than a wild one because then it says they kill for a purpose and "gracing them with death" is not a good enough excuse to kill people. The victim must have done something in order to trigger the bloodthirst of the killer and it's clear to me here that Grecian wanted to simply shock readers with detailed descriptions of gore and have Jack give pet names to others. That doesn't make them creepy, that just makes me want to close the book and cut the pages to form some type of art piece.
It took me several weeks to finish this story due to the excruciating Jack the Ripper bits being included. And when I finished, let's just say I wasn't about to stand up and recommend it to everyone I knew.
Oddly enough, however, the rest of the book was fine and well written. I'm just disappointed. When Grecian gets around to publishing his next installation to the series, I'm going to wait around for in-depth reviews and hope that my theory of False Jack are true.