Years after the horrors of Jack the Ripper and the Torso Killer which terrorised London, not everyone has forgotten about the Upir. Doctor Thomas Bond might have found some peace after Upir stopped lurking in the shadows and started enjoying life in the company of Juliana Harrington, but he is aware that Upir’s terrors are not completely gone. The comfort of friendship with Juliana doesn’t let him forget about what happened. The young son of Juliana and her late husband James reminds Dr. Bond of the blood, dread and the peculiar alliances forged to fight the evil that Harrington brought back from his travels. The sudden arrival of Edward Kane, the late Harrington’s friend from America, changes almost everything for Dr. Bond and brings out the darkness he tried to escape from.
Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough is the first book in the Mayhem series and it tells the story of Jack the Ripper and the Torso Killer. Murder continues with the darkness of all the blood and terror that the Upirlegacy left behind, but on a much bleaker level. Dr. Bond used to struggle with his demons but what he is about to face might be more powerful than even he can fight.
When I was reading Mayhem, I thought it was awesome. As I turned the pages, faster and faster, it terrified me and kept me reading to see what more evil can hide in the shadows of the opium clouded London. That changed a little bit when I started reading Murder. The sinister became the wicked. The plot revolves around the issue of new murders which somewhat resemble the Ripper’s ones and a shocking case of dead babies being found in the Thames. Murder is deeply dark, intelligent and exquisitely gruesome.
I really like the characters in Murder – as the plot evolves and the points of view change, it’s great to see the different aspects of it from behind the shoulders of those who in turn show us what they experience. Dr. Thomas Bond might be a professional and respected doctor, but he is also human. His humanity takes him on a journey of jealously, fear, love and madness, and tests his will power to the very limits. Seeing such a strong person struggling made me feel a heart breaking sympathy towards his utmost efforts to find a solution and solve the mystery of the wicked crimes. As much as he wants to hide it, the evil creeps closer and closer to his doorstep. Would the comeback of his past vices help? He is being taken apart by insanity, and as Dr. Bond mentions Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the comparison is strikingly uncanny. What does the Upir really represent and want? The very image of it, which so nonchalantly pops out from the pages of Murder, was enough to make me want to sleep with the light on for at least two days.
Murder is written with brilliant skill. Not only the nerve wrecking story keeps you reading but also the amazing and vibrant portrayal of Victorian London with the tangible gaps in the layers of society and between the innocent and the evil. Sarah Pinborough has written another superb book which from the beginning to the end keeps the reader on the proverbial edge of their seat.
It was so engrossing for me that when I closed the book after hours of reading, I realised that I was thirsty, stiff from sitting in one position and utterly stunned. I didn’t realise so much time had passed and all I did that day was just read Murder. It was totally worth it and I’d recommend it to everyone; fans of horror or not, this book is so multilayered and complex that the blood spilled on the pages just naturally flows from chapter to chapter and the adrenaline urges you to read on. Murder is a poignant and unputdownable novel of the darkness of humanity and haunting malevolence with an exquisite dose of horror and supernatural.
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Published: April 30, 2014 (UK)
Review originally published on Fantasy-Faction website.