I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough
Series: Mayhem #1
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on January 14th 2014
Genres: Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Source: the Publisher
Also by this author: Murder, The Language of Dying, Behind Her Eyes
A compulsively readable story that starts as a conventional murder mystery and morphs, by degrees, into a horrifying supernatural thriller,” The Guardian said of Mayhem.
A virtuoso fantasy writer, Sarah Pinborough has won numerous awards including the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story. In Mayhem Pinborough turns her attention to one of the most baffling and notorious crime sprees in Victorian times. A new killer that newspapers have dubbed “The Torso Killer” is terrorizing the streets of London’s East End, his crimes obscured and overshadowed by the hysteria surrounding Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel crimes. The victims are women too, but their dismembered bodies, wrapped in rags and tied up with string, are pulled out of the Thames–and the heads are missing. The murderer likes to keep them. Mayhem is a masterwork of narrative suspense: a supernatural thriller set in a shadowy, gaslit London, where killers stalk the cobbled streets and hide in plain sight.
‘What I seek – the thing I seek – brings mayhem and wickedness in its wake, spreading it like this choking fog across the city. It runs in the water of the river and it will destroy men’s souls.”
It’s the late 1800’s and London is being terrorized by the murders by a man dubbed Jack the Ripper, although recent murders have succeeded in overshadowing even those horrific crimes. These new murders are gruesome and appalling. The victims are all women, they are all dismembered postmortem yet their heads are never found among the remains. Dr. Thomas Bond is a police surgeon but is unable to stop himself from seeking out evidence to uncover this killer. He succeeds in uncovering far more than he thought possible and it is more monstrous and nightmarish than any imagination could concoct.
Jack the Ripper has always been a subject matter of interest for me and just the thought of another killer overshadowing the work of Jack the Ripper was enough for me to pick up Mayhem. I had never heard of ‘the Torso Killer’ before but Sarah Pinborough successfully brought his macabre story to life. Frightfully disturbing, these murders are described in vivid detail and the slight addition of the supernatural aspects were added almost proficiently and were not overdone.
The story is told mainly from the point of view of Dr. Thomas Bond but we’re given an occasional glimpse through a few other side characters. Each character was alluring and were each integral to understanding the story as a whole. Dr. Bond himself was a perfectly imperfect character who frequented opium dens in order to deal with his bouts of insomnia. He’s such a flawed character yet made the story all the more real and satisfying.
I found this to be an extremely solid story with writing that was incredibly engaging. Mayhem is quite the page-turner with very little filler or sections that felt inconsequential. Mayhem is a well-written thriller that I would highly recommend for fans of mysteries, of historical fiction and for those who like just a little bit of horror.
Thanks to the publisher I’m able to offer up 3 copies of Mayhem for 3 lucky readers! I’m mixing things up and trying out my new WordPress giveaway plugin instead of Rafflecopter so all you need to do to enter is leave a comment!
Open to U.S. residents only!
Giveaway ends January 28th, 2014
Drum roll, please.
The 3 winners are:
Congratulations you three! Thanks so much for entering everyone!