Thursday, January 5, 2023

ARC Review: River of Fallen Angels by Laura Joh Rowland

River of Fallen Angels

Laura Joh Rowland
Series: A Victorian Mystery (Book7)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (January 10, 2023)

Description: Award-winning author Laura Joh Rowland is back with the seventh in her critically acclaimed Victorian mystery series in which Sarah Bain Barrett is pitted against a true-crime serial killer who may have ties to Jack the Ripper.

London, April 1891. When the severed torso of a woman washes up on the bank of the river Thames, London believes a serial killer from the past has struck again. Crime photographer and investigator Sarah Bain Barrett is on the scene with her friends Mick O’Reilly and Lord Hugh Staunton. This is their chance to solve a grisly cold case and deliver a monster to belated justice, with help from Sarah’s husband Detective Sergeant Thomas Barrett; her sister Sally Albert, an intrepid newspaper reporter; and Hugh’s psychologist, Dr. Joshua Lewes, who’s a pioneer in the new science of criminal profiling. But the opportunity brings troubles galore: Sarah and her husband can’t agree on what direction their inquiries should take. Barrett favors concentrating on two shady characters he knows from his days a a patrol constable in Whitechapel, while Sarah suspects the charismatic leader of a polygamous religious sect from which at least one woman has gone missing. Their discord threatens not only the investigation but their marriage.

To complicate matters, Sarah’s bitter enemy, Inspector Reid, is leading the police’s hunt for the killer they’re calling the Torso Murderer. Obsessed with the Ripper case and his own failure to solve it, he thinks the Ripper and the Torso Murderer are one and the same person—a notion that could steer the police investigation disastrously off course. Hot in pursuit of the killer, Reid is also hell-bent on discovering what Sarah and company have been hiding about the Ripper.

The Torso Murder case threatens to expose a dangerous truth, tear apart Sarah’s close-knit band of comrades, and send them to the gallows before they can put the killer out of action.

My Thoughts: Sarah Bain Barrett and her crew including her husband Detective Sergeant Thomas Barrett, Lord Hugh Staunton, and Mick O'Reilly are on the case again when Sarah almost steps on the torso of a woman while taking photographs. It is feared that a serial killer who has left a trail of women's body parts in the Thames is back in action again.

Spearheading the police investigation if Inspector Reid who is a long-time enemy of Sarah's. He's certain that she knows more than she's saying about the Jack the Ripper murders, which is true, but the truth coming out would mean that she and her partners would be in grave legal trouble. 

Reid is convinced that the Ripper murders and the Torso murders were committed by the same person and Sarah's sister Sally who has begun a new career as a reporter also believes this. Meanwhile, Sarah and Thomas have radically different ideas about how to pursue this new case and discover who the Torso murderer is which creates a lot of conflict in their marriage.

Hugh's new psychologist Dr. Joshua Lewes is a pioneer in the field of criminal profiling and is quick to share is favorite theories about this murderer too. Sarah is afraid that he might just be too perceptive about the various secrets she's hiding. 

This was an engaging and entertaining historical mystery set in London in 1891. 

Favorite Quote:
Sometimes I find danger thrilling and alluring -- a quirk of my personality. I seek it out, as if my day is incomplete unless I find a sleeping wolf to poke and wake up. I never feel more alive than when danger threatens.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. A very interesting sounding read. I may add this to my reading list.


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