Murder as a Fine Art
By David Morrell
(Mulholland Books, Hardcover, 9780316216791, 368pp.)
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
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ALA Reading List Award for Best Mystery
GASLIT LONDON IS BROUGHT TO ITS KNEES IN DAVID MORRELL'S BRILLIANT HISTORICAL THRILLER.
Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier.
The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey's essay "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives.
In Murder as a Fine Art, David Morrell plucks De Quincey, Victorian London, and the Ratcliffe Highway murders from history. Fogbound streets become a battleground between a literary star and a brilliant murderer, whose lives are linked by secrets long buried but never forgotten.
David Morrell is best known for his debut 1972 novel First Blood, which would later become the successful Rambo film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. He has written 28 novels, and his work has been translated into 26 languages. He is also a former professor of American Literature at the University of Iowa and received his PhD from Penn State.
"Masterful...brilliantly plotted....evokes 1854 London with such finesse that you'll gear the hooves clattering on cobblestones, the racket of dustmen, and the shrill call of vendors."—Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A)
"Shockingly real...Morrell's thorough and erudite research of the people and culture of the British Empire's heyday informs every page. A literary thriller that pushes the envelope of fear."—Waka Tsunoda, Associated Press
"The most daring and original thriller of the year hands down . . . The master at work in truly wondrous display here in a richly atmospheric, darkly hypnotic tale . . . Morrell's brilliant rendition of a long gone place and time evokes the best of Edgar Allen Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle." --Providence Journal
"Everything [Morrell] writes has a you-are-there quality, and that, combined with his ability to propel characters through a scene, makes reading him like attending a private screening."—Washington Post Book World
"Brilliant. Everything works--the horrifying depiction of the murders, the asides explaining the impact of train travel on English society, nail-biting action sequences--making this book an epitome of the intelligent page-turner."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Military-thriller writer Morrell switches genres here in a riveting novel packed with edifying historical minutiae seamlessly inserted into a story narrated in part by De Quincey's daughter and partly in revealing, dialogue-rich prose."
—Booklist, starred review
" Murder as a Fine Art is a masterpiece-I don't use that word lightly-a fantastic historical thriller, beautifully written, intricately plotted, and populated with unforgettable characters. It brilliantly re-creates the London of gaslit streets, fogs, hansom cabs, and Scotland Yard. If you liked The Alienist, you will absolutely love this book. I was spellbound from the first page to last."
—Douglas Preston, coauthor of the #1 bestseller Cold Vengeance