Thursday, January 5, 2017

ARC Review: The Ripper's Shadow by Laura Joh Rowland

The Ripper's Shadow
Author: Laura Joh Rowland
Series: A Victorian Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (January 10, 2017)

Description: The year is 1888 and Jack the Ripper begins his reign of terror.

Miss Sarah Bain, a photographer in Whitechapel, is an independent woman with dark secrets. In the privacy of her studio, she supplements her meager income by taking illicit “boudoir photographs” of the town's local ladies of the night. But when two of her models are found gruesomely murdered within weeks of one another, Sarah begins to suspect it's more than mere coincidence.

Teamed with a motley crew of friends--including a street urchin, a gay aristocrat, a Jewish butcher and his wife, and a beautiful young actress--Sarah delves into the crime of the century. But just as she starts unlocking the Ripper's secrets, she catches the attention of the local police, who believe she knows more than she's revealing, as well as from the Ripper himself, now bent on silencing her and her friends for good.

Caught in the crosshairs of a ruthless killer, Sarah races through Whitechapel's darkest alleys to find the truth...until she makes a shocking discovery that challenges everything she thought she knew about the case. Intelligent and utterly engrossing, Laura Joh Rowland's Victorian mystery The Ripper's Shadow will keep readers up late into the night.

My Thoughts: Miss Sarah Bain is a photographer in Whtechapel in London in 1888. She supplements her income by taking "naughty" photographs of prostitutes which happens to be a crime. When her subjects start being murdered in gruesome ways, she decides that she has to protect them and herself by finding the killer.

Sarah is assisted by a street urchin named Mick, a homosexual aristocrat named Hugh, a Jewish butcher and his wife, and a lovely young actress. After years of keeping people at a distance, Sarah is building herself a new family. They bond quickly as they do their investigations and find themselves in all kinds of danger.

I enjoyed the Victorian setting with the fog, soot, and grunge that fill the pages. The corrupt police, prejudicial treatment of the immigrants, the attitude toward homosexuals, and the attitude toward a woman who has a career fill this story and add to the tension. I also enjoyed this version of the Jack the Ripper story.

Fans of historical mysteries will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
When I'm afraid -- when my heart is pounding, my every nerve alert -- that is when I feel the most alive. I don't know why; I only know that I've always been this way. Life without fear is like a photograph without dark shadows to contrast with the bright objects. Danger adds a pleasurable thrill to my usually quiet, staid existence.
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.


  1. Woah...I got the shivers just reading the review! *lol* And I SO agree with the first sentence of the quote. It's the way I felt when I used to walk onstage the first time during they plays I used to do.


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