Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller
Narrative Style: Two alternate first person voices
Synopsis: Bob Fraser is investigating the ripper murders but he has a more personal stake than simply wanting to catch the murderer. Jack Whitehead, reporter, is jaded and desperate but he too wants to get to the bottom of the ripper murders. This is a dark and violent tale of corrupt police, brutal murders and desperate men.
Reading Challenges: Full House Reading Challenge: Genre – number in title.
I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would and I’m not really sure why. I liked the first one and there wasn’t much difference in style but something didn’t work for me this time.
It does capture the era well. The police corruption, the racism and sexism all are written in vivid detail. I did find this difficult to take. I realise the reason for it – and it isn’t like this is the first book in this sort of style I’ve read – but it was pretty difficult to stomach.
I didn’t really take to Fraser or Whitehead either. Both men have dark secrets and to say they are flawed would be to put it mildly. They have no redeeming features and it was difficult to sympathise with either of them.
The plot should be driven by the hunt for the ripper and I suppose it is but there is a lot of other stuff getting in the way. Fraser’s relationship with a prostitute which eventually implodes, for example or Whitehead’s haunting memories of a former relationship which are incredibly disturbing. And. of course, there is no closure. Far too early in the ripper story for that.
While I knew this would be a dark book but I had no idea how difficult it would be to read about how the women in this book are treated. Not just the murders but Whitehead with his constant erections and Fraser with his jealousy and mistreatment of his prostitute lover. It was unremittingly bleak and while that may be true to the time, it didn’t make for a great read.