Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books / Quercus
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
Origins: From Publisher for Review
Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Synopsis: A new killer is stalking the streets of London’s East End. Though newspapers have dubbed him ‘the Torso Killer’, this murderer’s work is overshadowed by the hysteria surrounding Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel crimes.
The victims are women too, but their dismembered bodies, wrapped in rags and tied up with string, are pulled out of the Thames – and the heads are missing. The murderer likes to keep them.
Mayhem is a masterwork of narrative suspense: a supernatural thriller set in a shadowy, gaslit London, where monsters stalk the cobbled streets and hide in plain sight.
Series: Mayhem (1), Murder (2)
Review: In the late 1800s, while the terrifying and mysterious Jack the Ripper is plaguing Whitechapel another killer is on the loose, ‘The Torso Killer’. Scotland Yard detectives are swamped with bodies and call in Dr. Thomas Bond, the police surgeon who wrote the first criminal profile. Dr. Bond has issues with insomnia and turns to opium for relief, even though he worries about his dependence on the drug. One night in his favorite opium den Dr. Bond notices a priest watching those in the throes of the chasing the dragon. Following his instincts, he discovers the priest’s secret mission to find the truth behind the Torso Killer.
Mixing elements of history and dark fantasy, MAYHEM is a detailed police procedural set in the Victorian Era. I think some of the subtlety of the plot is lost in the overly detailed descriptions, even though the detail paints everything in a spotlight while still hiding it all in shadow. I enjoyed the flawed genius of Dr. Bond, an opium addict with an insatiable curiosity. While MAYHEM starts off slow, when the action picks up readers will be fascinated to follow Dr. Bond and the priest down the rabbit hole.