Thursday, April 12, 2012

Book Review: "The Yard"

It's not all that often that I find myself literally unable to go to sleep at night because I want to finish the book I'm reading, especially when I've got 150+ pages to go. But that happened to me last night with Alex Grecian's The Yard (Putnam, 2012) and after tossing and turning for a while, I finally just got up and finished the book, even though it was nearly 1 a.m. by the time I turned the last page.

Grecian's story, similar to (even if not quite at the same level as) Caleb Carr's The Alienist and similar works, makes for a great read. Set soon after the Jack the Ripper killings, it centers around Scotland Yard's squad of murder detectives as they seek to discover who's murdering members of their own force. Interestingly, Grecian has livened things up a bit by providing chapters told from the perspectives of the murderers, so the reader follows both hunter and hunted. This is, at times, more than a little frustrating: you want to shout "He's right there!" at the detective who hasn't quite got the right clue yet. But it also creates a sense of urgency, which was, I think, what made me want to read it right straight through.

There are a few twists and turns which lead nowhere, and there were a few minor things about the pacing and the plot that might have been done a bit differently - but overall, this was a thoroughly entertaining (and creepy) tale.

I expect we'll be seeing more of the characters Grecian introduces here, and that's just fine with me!

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