Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only twelve detectives--known as "The Murder Squad"--to investigate countless murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police's spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own . . . one of the twelve . . .When Walter Day, the squad's newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard's first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley. Together they track the killer, who clearly is not finished with The Murder Squad . . . but why?Filled with fascinating period detail, and real historical figures, this spectacular debut in a new series showcases the depravity of late Victorian London, the advent of criminology, and introduces a stunning new cast of characters sure to appeal to fans of "The Sherlockian" and "The Alienist."
Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 681 pages (Hardcover Large Print)
Source: Toronto Public Library
Available Formats: Print/E-book/Audio
Publication Date: June 1st 2012 by Thorndike Press
I'd had The Yard on my radar for quite some time before I actually sat down and read it (in one sitting it was that good!) In fact, I'd borrowed it 4 times from the library before and I always sent it back unread, saying that I'd get to it next time. Now I'm kicking myself in the pants for having not read it the first time around because I absolutely loved Alex Grecian's premier novel in the Murder Squad series.
This had everything I want to find in a historical mystery. I for one love historical mysteries set in England in this time period especially since the novel takes place only a year after Jack the Ripper strikes fear into the very heart of London herself and Grecian did a stand up job capturing the feelings of not only the police at the time who are still facing ridicule over not catching Bloody Jack, but the general public as well who are still looking over their shoulders. I love how real he made the setting, because as I read I was almost certain I'd been taken back in time. The sights, smells and sounds of London in the 1880s were subtly written into the story but were enough to make everything come to life, including the characters.
We have Walter Day, a newly hired detective who along with the unkempt constable Neville Hammersmith and Dr. Kingsley at the center of this story that involves dead children, missing children, a dead police officer and threats that target those closest to the three men they work together seamlessly to bring the culprit in even if it means they'll have to shed some of their own blood.
I really like how all three men work together as each are strong characters in their own right but the way they play off each other was what really made me want to read more, because no matter how good a plot is if the characters aren't strong it feels lopsided to me. The good thing is none of these men are perfect.
Walter is bewildered with his new job, he has a young wife at home and he wants treat her like a queen. Neville is driven on by a strong sense of justice and is like a pitbull. Once he latches on he's set in his ways even if it means injury to himself. Dr. Kingsley, the widower and father of two girls who spends far to much time alone brings a brilliant mind to round out the trio by giving Day and Hammersmith new evidence that he's found by using new methods in forensics which was in it's infantry. All of them brought a different aspect to the story, strengths and weaknesses alike without detracting from the story and each other and it made them more human seeing that while they were all brilliant they didn't put everything together right away.
I didn't even guess who the killer was until the author gave a single clue, but while I focused on that other factors were at play and Grecian really played with my mind because he had so much going on that it wasn't until the end that everything became clear which was fantastic. When I was reading I felt like I was a part of the hunt for the fiend as well and got so absorbed in the story that it was all I could think about. The killer was an interesting man to say the least and I liked how he was revealed, and how his own sad story was worked into the story as well.
Overall, this book had everything I love. It had thrills and chills and was quite dark without being explicitly graphic. The plot was fantastic, and like I said it took me until the end to really marvel at how the author connected everything together after an adventurous chase. The characters were superb and when I finished the book I felt like I was saying farewell to friends, because of how attached I'd become. I would have no problem recommending this to mystery fans but if you're looking for a quaint and cozy British historical mystery then this one might not be the one for you. However, if you're like me and like your historical mysteries to be written in that Sherlockian vein that made Sir Arthur Conan Doyle so famous then this might just be your next read. Be prepared to be sucked into Alex Grecian's The Yard to get a feel for a thrilling manhunt that is sure to entertain you.
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