Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Black Country (A novel of Scotland Yard's Murder Squad), by Alex Grecian

Hoo boy. This book was a mess! I was really excited about reading it because I love detective fiction set in England, especially in the late Victorian era, and I loved Grecian's previous novel, The Yard. I could not have been more excited about this book, but like I said, it was an absolute mess.

My only criticism of The Yard was that it somewhat lacked focus. It was hard to see who the star of the book was because the narration followed around several characters indiscriminately. By comparison, The Black Country is the literary equivalent of a kid being allowed to decorate his own cake with every single candy topping he can get his hands on. Grecian pulled out every plot device he could think of and threw them all into the book.

I'm adding a jump just in case you don't want to read any possible spoilers...

We have missing children! Creepy villagers! A mysterious plague! A bogeyman! A possibly dead wife! An unnamed mysterious stranger! Another mysterious stranger! Priest holes! Sinking buildings! Random eye balls! Random pig parts! Whole sections italicized for no reason! Murderous children! Dead children! War flashbacks! A possibly immortal mysterious stranger bogeyman with war flashbacks and italicized narration!

Did I forget anything? Yes. There are at least a dozen more plot elements thrown in there. When Alex Grecian thanked his editor at the end of the book, I almost cried.

My only hope is that perhaps he's used up his entire package of sticky notes with plot ideas written on them and his next book with be a lot more straightforward.

The Black Country
Author: Alex Grecian
Series: Scotland Yard's Murder Squad
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
View on Amazon

Source: my local library

The Yard
(my review)
The Devil's Workshop
(May 2014)


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  3. Spam links will be deleted or removed, sorry. I really don't know how many more ways I can say this.


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