Silk by Chris Karlsen
I’m a fan of novels set in Victorian England so I was instantly drawn to SILK’s story line and setting…who can say no to a murder mystery and the notorious Jack the Ripper?! Definitely not me… It didn’t hurt that the book has a lovely cover (yes I’m a cover hussy). It looks a bit romantic, yet gothic, which is exactly what you get from Chris Karlsen’s writing. But don’t be fooled, while there are some romantic elements weaved into the story, it’s a mystery at heart.
SILK is a gritty and dark murder mystery, not my typical read but quite engaging. The story dives right into the action where we meet Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner Detective Sergeant Holbrook who are on the hunt for an opportunistic killer in their city just as the looming threat of Jack the Ripper falls on the Whitechapel area. Their investigation soon leads them to a likely suspect, the charming Viscount Everhart, who has some powerful friends and is shrouded in mystery. Bloodstone is determined to find the killer and keep the streets of London safe but he never imagined the obstacles that will stand in his way before the killer can be brought to justice.
What I loved most about SILK is the alternate POVs and how the author allows the reader to get to know both the hero and the villain with an intimacy that’s quite voyeuristic.
The killer pulls us right into his dark world and leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to his crimes, he almost makes you feel as if you’re an accomplice while reading. I’d never thought I’d say this, but for all of the murderer’s flaws there are some redeeming qualities that make you connect with this character on an emotional level. He’s not just a ruthless serial killer, as you’d like to think. I thought this was brilliant on the author’s part, to humanize the villain is no easy feat but Karlsen nailed it. It would have been simple to mold the villain to resemble Jack the Ripper, but Karlsen gives us a totally different killer with a different purpose.
Inspector Bloodstone’s perspective is just as intriguing as the killer’s. He’s a dedicated detective who’s set in his ways but has great insight when it comes to solving crimes. Granted he’s no Sherlock Holmes, but Bloodstone can definitely hold his own in an investigation. As the reader you’re always one step ahead so I won’t give Inspector Bloodstone too much slack for missing a few clues!
The romance element in SILK is slight to none which didn’t add or take away from the story, in my opinion. I enjoyed the few glimpses of Inspector Bloodstone’s romantic interest the lovely Ms. Porter, but was more interested in solving the case. There were a few times when I felt the story was dragging on a bit and feared I’d lose interest, but the twists reeled me back mid-book. Most books in this genre tend to gloss over the class differences, politics, poverty and crime that was rampant during this time period and I thank Ms. Karlsen for not doing so, it made this story that more thrilling. Although I can’t give anything away (what’s the fun in that?!) I’ll say the unexpected twists have me anxiously awaiting Ms. Karlsen’s next installment in this dark and dangerous world!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.