When a rotting torso is discovered in the vault of New Scotland Yard, it doesn’t take Dr Thomas Bond, Police Surgeon, long to realise that there is a second killer at work in the city, where only a few days before, Jack the Ripper brutally murdered two women in one night.
But this is the hand of a colder killer, one who lacks Jack’s emotion.
Dr Bond, plagued by insomnia and an unshakeable sense of foreboding, has begun to spend his sleepless nights in a drug-induced haze in the opium dens by the docks. He’s not the only man who looks like he doesn’t belong there. There is a stranger, a man in a long black coat, who spends his nights studying the addicts as they dream.
More headless and limbless torsos find their way into the Thames, and as Dr Bond becomes obsessed with finding the killer, he begins to suspect the stranger might be the key. As his investigations lead him into an unholy alliance, he starts to wonder: has a man brought mayhem to the streets of London, or a monster?
Dr Thomas Bond is called to the site of the New Scotland Yard. Greeting him are the grisly remains of a woman, her head and limbs missing. Bond, who is relied upon for his instincts as well as his medical knowledge, is in no doubt that this is not the work of Jack the Ripper, whose reign of murder currently terrifies the residents of Whitechapel.
As more victims are found Dr Bond spends his nights in the opium dens, seeking the sleep that eludes him. During one such visit he notices a man observing the addicts. He soon comes to realise that he has seen this man before, always at times he has been dealing with the victims. Believing this man to be key to helping him solve the crimes, Bond tracks him down and discovers that more horrors lie behind the murders than he suspected.
I really enjoyed this book. It felt dark and atmospheric, I could picture the fog filled alleys and the rich lit rooms of Bond and his colleague Dr Hebbert.
Without spoiling the story there is a supernatural element to the tale but this seems fitting to the story and doesn’t jar, it simple adds to the tension. You are aware of ‘whodunit’ about half way through the book but you are still pulled along with the tale, wanting to find out how it will end.
This was the first book by Sarah Pinborough that I have read and I shall be adding her other books to my to read list.
The follow up to this book – Murder is released in May 2014.