In 2013, I attended my first Bouchercon Convention in Albany, New York. Bouchercon is the largest gathering in this country of mystery and crime authors, fans, and book world people. I read like mad that year in preparation for meeting revered authors and getting books signed. There was one author that was in my sights who was getting lots of buzz and who, by that time, had three books out. I had only read her first, Dust and Shadow, but I was crazy to meet her because of how much I loved it. Lyndsay Faye had her first two books of the Timothy Wilde trilogy in Albany, too. The Gods of Gotham and Seven for a Secret were bought by me in joyful anticipation, and Lyndsay signed all three books, a thrill I'll never forget. How little I knew then that I was at the beginning of a whole new reading relationship that is one of the most special I have. Lyndsay is brilliant, and every book I read of hers is a new favorite. But, it all began with my interest in Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes being combined in a story that would bring alive a time of deepest, darkest fear on the streets of London. I'm not including my review of Dust and Shadow because when I read through it again for this post, I couldn't help thinking that, even though it was a glowing review, how naive it was, how much I had to learn about just what an amazing author Lyndsay Faye is.
From the gritty streets of nineteenth century London, the loyal and
courageous Dr. Watson offers a tale unearthed after generations of lore:
the harrowing story of Sherlock Holmes’s attempt to hunt down Jack the
As England’s greatest specialist in criminal detection,
Sherlock Holmes is unwavering in his quest to capture the killer
responsible for terrifying London’s East End. He hires an “unfortunate”
known as Mary Ann Monk, the friend of a fellow streetwalker who was one
of the Ripper’s earliest victims; and he relies heavily on the steadfast
and devoted Dr. John H. Watson. When Holmes himself is wounded in
Whitechapel during an attempt to catch the savage monster, the popular
press launches an investigation of its own, questioning the great
detective’s role in the very crimes he is so fervently struggling to
prevent. Stripped of his credibility, Holmes is left with no choice but
to break every rule in the desperate race to find the madman known as
“the Knife” before it is too late.
A masterly re-creation of
history’s most diabolical villain, Lyndsay Faye’s debut brings
unparalleled authenticity to the atmosphere of Whitechapel and London in
the fledgling days of tabloid journalism and recalls the ideals evinced
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most beloved and world-renowned characters.
Jack the Ripper’s identity, still hotly debated around the world more
than a century after his crimes were committed, remains a mystery ripe
for speculation. Dust and Shadow explores the terrifying prospect of
tracking a serial killer without the advantage of modern forensics, and
the result is a lightning-paced novel brimming with historical detail
that will keep you on the edge of your seat.