Review: The Black Country

The Black Country
The Black Country by Alex Grecian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very much like The Yard, Grecian’s follow-up novel in his London Murder Squad series uses his historical backdrop as a way to write an engaging mystery. Where last time he made use of the birth of forensic science in the wake of Jack the Ripper, here me makes use of the fear initially stirred up by “King Cholera.” A quick little brush up on that moniker: a major outbreak of cholera hit London in 1832 where, in that city alone, it claimed over 6500 victims (and around 55,000 across the UK), which is where the disease earned its name.

In the case of this novel, it’s not cholera — revealing which epidemic in particular is major spoilers, so you’ll just have to read to find out — but the way in which the story unfolds around this disease has the same feel, even if it is taking place in a small town versus London prosper.

I think readers will find the “mystery reveal” a little more twisted than the first, but still interesting from a psychological standpoint. Like the previous novel, the treatment of children in this Victorian society is a focus, and I hope that it continues to weave its way as a kind of pervasive series theme through the rest of the books. Perhaps it is because violence around children is considered all the more horrific; violence done by children all the more disturbing; violence to children all the more tragic.

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