Readers who appreciate gothic fantasy rich in period detail will delight in this story. Ruckley brings the time period to life in an evocative fashion as Quire prowls through Edinburgh’s underbelly. Quire is an interesting protagonist, a man with a moral compass and a strong sense of duty, while the bad guys are marvelously evil. This frightening tale of taking scientific enlightenment much too far is enhanced by strong, sharp prose and a lively pace, making it difficult to stop turning the pages.

Edinburgh in 1828 is in its prime as a center for enlightened thinking, but murder is afoot. Police Sergeant Adam Quire is called to the scene when a man is found dead in the tenements with his throat torn out and a silver snuff box in his pocket. The investigation takes Quire from the tenements into the upper crust of New Town and through the operating theaters of the city, where he encounters things that should not be possible — and that may be impossible to stop. (ORBIT, Aug., 528 pp., $14.99)

Reviewed by: 
Donna M. Carter