By Anne Perry
Ballantine Books, Hardcover, 9780345469335, 320pp.
Publication Date: March 24, 2009
Readers of Anne Perry’s bestselling William Monk novels feel as if they’ve experienced the many shades of Victorian London, from Belgravia to Limehouse, from drawing room to brothel. In Execution Dock, Perry’s first Monk novel in three years, we find ourselves on the bustling docks along the River Thames. Here the empire’s great merchant ships unload the treasures of the world. And here, in dank and sinister alleys, sex merchants ply their lucrative trade.
The dreaded kingpin of this dark realm is Jericho Phillips. On his floating brothel, sex slaves are forced to endure unspeakable acts. Now one such soul, thirteen-year-old Fig, is found with his throat cut, his tortured body tossed into the river.
Commander William Monk of the River Police swears that Phillips will hang for this abomination. But the miscreant is as wily as he is monstrous, and his wealthy clients seem far beyond the reach of the law. Monk’s attempt to bring about justice becomes the first electrifying episode in a nightmare that will test his courage and integrity.
However, reinforcements are on the way. Monk’s wife, Hester, who runs a free clinic for abused women, draws a highly unusual guerrilla force to her husband’s cause–a canny ratcatcher, a retired brothel keeper, a fearless street urchin, and a rebellious society lady. To one as criminally minded as Phillips, these folks are mere mosquitoes, to be sure. But as he will soon discover, some mosquitoes can have a deadly sting.
This gripping, terrifying story hurtles toward to a denouement that will leave the reader breathless but cheering. Execution Dock is Anne Perry at her incomparable, magnificent best.
"Set in 1864, bestseller Perry's outstanding 16th novel to feature William Monk (after Dark Assassin) finds Monk suffering from a series of hard knocks, including memory loss. Now superintendent of the Thames River Police Force, Monk is on the verge of closing the books on Jericho Phillips, a particularly nasty villain who specializes in child pornography. Monk and his team catch Phillips, but what appears to be an airtight murder case springs leaks and ends with the accused's acquittal. Many in authority view the judgment as a rebuke to the river police, whose existence as a separate force is threatened. Convinced that he got the right man, despite the jury's verdict, Monk devotes himself to setting the record straight. Monk's wife, Hester, who works with London's downtrodden, provides support. Rich in plot development, believable characters and period detail, this entry will only add to the already sizable ranks of Perry's admirers."—Publishers Weekly
Praise for Anne Perry and her William Monk novels
“Brilliant . . . a page-turning thriller . . . blending compelling plotting with superbly realized human emotion and exquisite period detail.” —Jeffery Deaver, author of The Broken Window
The Shifting Tide
“An engrossing story that leaves the reader waiting for Monk’s next adventure . . . The mysterious and dangerous waterfront world of London’s ‘longest street,’ the Thames, comes to life.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Death of a Stranger
“[A] tantalizing puzzle . . . At last, in Death of a Stranger, the secrets of Monk’s past are dramatically revealed.”—New York Times Book Review
Funeral in Blue
“No one writes more elegantly than Perry, nor better conjures up the rich and colorful tapestry of London in the Victorian era. But for all its arcane setting and stylistic eloquence, Funeral in Blue is an old-style private eye novel—and an extremely good one.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
Slaves of Obsession
“Luxuriant . . . It’s E. M. Forster spliced with Thomas Harris. . . . Perry is a master.”—Baltimore Sun