Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Book Review: Ruler of the Night by David Morrell

First line: On Thursday evening, 22 March 1855, a frowning gentleman studied a two-page document that lay on his substantial desk.

This is the last book in Morrell's historical fiction trilogy about British writer Thomas De Quincy, and his daughter Emily. I loved both earlier novels (Murder as a Fine Art and Inspector of the Dead) and this final book was a perfect conclusion.

Morrell explores the first murder on a steam train, an event that I hadn't really considered but obviously, there's a first for everything. And this is a pretty juicy first to explore. Morrell takes many of the real life details of the murder and weaves it into a larger, complicated plot full of peers and the made-their-fortunes-from-trade comer-uppers. The country is gripped in a panic that railway travel isn't safe, and there's pressure on De Quincy and the police to figure things out -- without revealing too many secrets of the rich and powerful.

As with the previous two novels, I was really there for Emily -- and the resolution of her so-far-not-romantic-but-clearly-romantic-interest triangle with police detectives Joseph Becker and Sean Ryan. (That might sound tortured but it's actually lovely -- she has chemistry and connection with both men, and both men respect her and each other, and there's really no triangle, just a kind of uneasiness as everyone realizes they like each other but they're not the kind of folks to do a triad so someone's going to be heartbroken. Honestly, it sounds messy but it's really just emotional and tender and subtle and mature, and frankly, a relief to watch unfold.)

While I'm bummed to say goodbye to Emily and company, I'm also delighted to have some neat resolution for these characters rather than have the series rattle on into predictability. If you like atmospheric reads, intriguing murder mysteries, and a hero struggling with addiction, pick up these three books -- they're among my favorite reads since I've started blogging!

Title: Ruler of the Night
Author: David Morrell

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 19th Century / Victorian / Murder Mystery / Historical Figure Fictionalized / Thomas De Quincy)
Publisher/Publication Date: Mulholland Books (11/15/2016)
Source: NetGalley
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction