Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review: LETTERS FROM A MURDERER by John Matthews

Letters From a MurdererThe perfect blend of fact and fiction seeps a bloody trail across John Matthews' LETTERS FROM A MURDERER, a book that revisits Jack the Ripper and his terrorising murder spree in the 1890's.

In this take on the infamous Ripper murders, the genius-like Jameson and hard nosed cop Argenti investigate the untimely end of a number of women of the night; those with loose morals and wanton ways who peddle their most valuable commodity for survival in pre 1900's America. Yes, that's right, the Ripper has crossed continents to slice fear into the severed arteries of the American public.

Compounding the murders is another criminal dynamic; an underworld organisation of sorts that runs girls, drugs and controls the beat cops in the broken down alleyways of New York. Not wanting the Ripper murders to get in the way of business, nor bring unwanted attention, Jameson and Argenti find themselves the target of first an assassination and then suspects in the prostitute killings.

LETTERS FROM A MURDERER captured the essence of the murderous Ripper period to perfection. Both London and New York had a real sense of place and their own unique identity. The police investigation showcased the true nature of law enforcement at the time detailing it's limitations and reliance upon personal accounts of eyewitness to bring forth justice. It's a dramatic difference to the technology used in real and fictional world crime fiction today.

For me, author John Matthews ticked all the right boxes. From the interesting and odd coupling of Jameson and Argenti, to the characterisation of peripheral prostitutes and victims. Each element was three dimensional and invoked a sense of realism which helped transport me to the time where this heinous tale of bloodshed was splashed across the headlines.

I hope readers get the opportunity to enjoy more stories to feature Jameson and Argenti, I got the impression, we're just scratching the surface of their potential.

Fans of historical crime, and crime fiction in general will get a real kick out of reading LETTERS FROM A MURDERER. Highly recommend. 

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