This fast-moving thriller set in Victorian England is exciting and historically accurate with generous hints of H.P. Lovecraft’s style. London is vividly reconstructed and the mystery is strong. Dr. Bond is a troubled but very sympathetic character, determined to do the right thing even when he isn’t sure what that might be. Eerie atmosphere and relentless pacing hold the reader tightly to the story.
The still-new Scotland Yard is investigating Jack the Ripper when a new killer appears. Someone is murdering women, dismembering them and keeping the heads. Respected police surgeon Dr. Thomas Bond is obsessed with finding the culprit. Unable to sleep, he smokes more and more opium (not an uncommon practice in Victorian England). While in the opium dens, he becomes aware of a man searching for something or someone. Or was the man just a hallucination? Now someone is surely stalking him. Dr. Bond teams up with a mysterious Jesuit priest and a psychic immigrant to identify his stalker as he fears the murderer is getting closer to him. (JO FLETCHER, Jan., 400 pp., $24.95)