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Historical Fiction Review: Letters from a Murderer by John Matthews

Letters from a Murderer by John Matthews (Finley Jameson & Joseph Argenti #1)

Egalley thanks to Exhibit A

Synopsis from Goodreads
New York, 1891: a rapidly changing city, torn between lamplight and electric light, where the burgeoning steel and railway industries attract a flood of humanity from every corner of the globe, fuelling cut-throat gangs, corruption and vice.

A prostitute is found brutally murdered. Immediately fear starts to spread. The victim bears the same hallmarks as Jack the Ripper's recent killing spree in England. Could it be that the Ripper has crossed the Atlantic to fresh killing grounds? Or is this simply a copycat murder?

To solve the case, one of the original English Ripper pathologists, Finley Jameson, is teamed up with Joseph Argenti, one of the new 'untouchable' detectives, hand-picked by a New York Mayor eager to fight corruption.

But Michael Tierney, the city's leading gangster, has his own ideas about how the city should be run. And as the body-count rises, and Jameson & Argenti are taunted by the killer in open letters, they find themselves fighting not just to save the next victim, but for the city's very soul.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US(FREE!)/UK(FREE!) | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
What if famous Jack The Ripper got tired of London and moved to a fresher start in New York? With that concept I was hooked. 

This is a pretty good historical fiction, systematic, meticulous and... slightly boring. I found it interesting but more from the scientific point of view. 

Both Jameson and Argenti are good partners. Jamison is a criminologist from London, aristocratic, sophisticated and slightly mentally disturbed. Argenti is an American who went from a beat cop to a detective and who knows the streets of New York from the inside out.

When they get partnered there is a little bit of tension, mostly because Jameson is clueless of the cultural and societal gap between them and sometimes does bizarre, snobby things, but the reader forgives him because his heart is in the right place.

The Ripper is an intriguing character and we don't see who he is until the very end, but there is also a dirty political power struggle going on a the same time, making the investigation unnecessary muddled.

One of the local mafia bosses bids on a corrupt policeman to become a chief, and to do that he needs to be the one to solve the Ripper case, which is why Jameson and Argenti stumble through many more delays and obstacles than they should have had.

Overall, Letters from A Murderer would have benefited from a faster pace and less dry main characters, but otherwise it was a nice book.

* * *
Неплохой исторический фикшн с интересным спином на Джека Потрошителя в Нью-Йорке. Как раз эта идея меня в начале и зацепила.

Потрошитель сбегает в Америку и продолжает свою бойню продажных женщин в Нью-Йорке, и на его след нападают Финли Джеймисон - интеллигентный аристократ-криминалист из Лондона, склонный к приступам помешательства, и Джозеф Ардженти - американский полицейский детектив, который знает Нью-Йорк вдоль и поперёк.

В начале их партнёрство доставляет обоим проблемы, потому как они очень непохожи друг на друга, но охота на Потрошителя  быстро сближает эту парочку. Кроме самого Потрошителя, с которым мы знакомимся по ходу действия, детективов сбивают с пути местный мафиози, пытающийся сделать продажного полицейского шефом полиции, а для этого он должен быть тем, кто найдёт Потрошителя.

Однако правосудие торжествует и неожиданно по-тихому. Письма Убийцы - интересный роман, но скорее чисто с исторической и научной точки зрения. В основном, сюжет страдает от очень медленного темпа и довольно сухих персонажей, однако читабельно и на чёрный день сойдёт.
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