April 7, 2014

Book Review: Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough

London, 1888: The city is transfixed by the disturbingly flamboyant crimes of Jack the Ripper. Fear increases as the bodies pile up. But the situation may be worse than imagined: the police in Sarah Pinborough's novel Mayhem are beginning to suspect that there are two serial killers at work.

Dr. Thomas Bond, police surgeon, is called in to do an autopsy on body parts found hidden in the basement of police headquarters. This isn't the first female torso found, either--leading Bond and others to suspect "the Torso Killer" is someone other than Jack the Ripper.

As Bond continues to investigate, the strangeness of the case keeps him up at night, leading him to seek opium to ease his insomnia. The underground opium dens provide Bond with a clue to the killer's identity--and make him realize supernatural forces are at play.

Pinborough bases the story of Mayhem on a series of actual, unsolved murders, spinning historical fact into a well-researched mystery with an absorbing mystical twist. As Bond's drug habit becomes worse, his methodological accuracy begins to unravel, yet his desperation to find the killer increases--making for a fascinating character study. Mayhem is sure to appeal to mystery, horror and paranormal fans alike.

I liked this one, in spite of the fact that it was pretty dark, and I usually don't like paranormalish books. It was very atmospheric; Pinborough aptly captures Victorian London. But I couldn't read it right before bed, it gave me nightmares!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Should I recommend this to my grandma? Probably not.

Do you like paranormal mysteries?

I originally wrote most of this review for Shelf Awareness. And this post contains some Amazon affiliate links. If you click through and buy anything, I'll earn a few cents. Thanks for supporting Quirky Bookworm!