I love Victorian London—the gritty dirty underbelly where Jack the Ripper still stalks the alleys looking for his next victim. The London where the fog wraps around you and from the corner of your eye you swear you saw a man in a deerstalker hat round the corner ahead of you. This is the London, Chris Karlsen takes readers in Silk.
Silk wastes no time jumping in to the action. Within the first 20 pages of the novel, which I read while eating lunch, there is a murder which is quite graphic and the readers are exposed to a killer who is as twisted as Jack. The lust the killer feels after taking his first victim drives the story forward and the dance between the detectives and criminal begins.
The main detective, Rudyard Bloodstone, is a likable character combining the best elements of Doyle’s Holmes and Watson. He’s observant of human character and actions, but is a down to earth veteran who doesn’t talk over your head. I found myself rooting for Ruddy and his partner, Archie, in the final pages of the novel as they hone in on capturing the killer.
For me, mystery novels are always difficult to read. There is a delicate balance between the crime (or crimes), the pursuer, the pursued and the reveal that not all authors are able to achieve. Because the pursued is known in the first few pages of Silk the who-dun-it is handled early and Karlsen works on crafting the elements that bring the protagonist and antagonist together. The story is a brilliant cat and mouse game and I was not disappointed when all the elements came together. Silk receives a thumbs up.
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