The Black Country
By Alex Grecian
(Berkley Trade, Paperback, 9780425267738, 400pp.)
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
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The New York Times Book Review said of The Yard, If Charles Dickens isn’t somewhere clapping his hands
Wilkie Collins surely is.” Now Alex Grecian returns with his new novel of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squadand it’s a gripper.
The British Midlands. Inhabitants call it the Black Country”and with good reason. Bad things happen there.
When three members of a prominent family disappear from the Midlandsand a human eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nestScotland Yard’s Murder Squad is called in. But Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith have stepped into something much more bizarre and complicated than expected.
Superstitions abound in the intertwined histories of the villagers, including a local legend about a monster some claim to have seen. In addition, a mysterious epidemic is killing off the inhabitants, and the village itself is sinking into the coal mines below. Day and Hammersmith soon realize that they, too, are in over their heads. And the more they investigate, the more they fear that they may never be allowed to leave.
Alex Grecian is the author of the The Yard, his debut novel of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad, and the long-running and critically acclaimed graphic novel series Proof. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and son..
Praise for The Black Country
“Ripe with gory details…[Grecian] has a flair.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Similar to Jean Zimmerman’s atmospheric psychological novel The Orphanmaster, and as shocking as David Morrell’s Murder as a Fine Art.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Devilishly dark…It isn’t often that a mystery-thriller enthralls so completely…but as usual with Mr. Grecian, there is more to this tale than complex plotting…A displaced eye, a crumpled note, cryptic limericks and lost ribbons: like our detective heroes, we follow these trails into the white-blinding snow to its brilliant and unexpected conclusion. Whether you read the tale in the dark night of winter or the haze of a summer sun, be prepared for the chill. The days are dark in Black Country.”—The Huffington Post
“Grecian creates an eerie atmosphere from start to finish, and without giving anything away, the killer here is creepy and unexpected.”—Bookreporter.com
“Startling and spooky . . . [a] bold melding of horror with historical elements.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[Grecian] presents with fine precision the gray and gritty atmosphere of late-Victorian England.”—Kirkus Reviews
Praise for The Yard
“Grecian has a talent for capturing gory details…extremely vivid (and strangely moving)…[Grecian] does outstanding descriptive work on the mad and the maimed, the diseased and the demented…If Charles Dickens isn’t somewhere clapping his hands for this one, Wilkie Collins surely is.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[A] mix of historical facts and vivid fictional creations. It’s great fun…Grecian’s debut is the promising start of a new series and should be one of the most acclaimed and popular mysteries of the year.”—The Huffington Post
“Exuberantly grisly.”—The Guardian (U.K.)
“Grecian powerfully evokes both the physical, smog-ridden atmosphere of London in 1889 and its emotional analogs of anxiety and depression. His infusion of actual history adds to this thriller’s credibility and punch. A deeply satisfying reconstruction of post-Ripper London.”—Booklist
“A brilliantly crafted debut novel with unforgettable characters. An utterly gripping tale perfectly evokes Victorian London and brings you right back to the depraved and traumatic days of Jack the Ripper.”—Lisa Lutz, author of The Spellman Files
“Lusciously rich with detail, atmosphere, and history, and yet as fast paced as a locomotive, The Yard will keep you riveted from page one. It’s truly a one- or two-sitting read.”—Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author
“Grecian successfully recreates the dark atmosphere of late Victorian London.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A winner, filled with Victorian arcana and eccentric characters and more humor than one expects from such a work.”—The Rap Sheet
“This excellent murder mystery debut introduces a fascinating cast of characters. Grecian displays a flair for language as well as creating vivid (and occasionally gruesome) depictions of places and events.”—Library Journal
“All the gruesome sights, sounds, and smells of a depraved Victorian London are vividly depicted…not for the squeamish. a gripping police procedural mystery and cracking good read. Recommended.”—Historical Novel Society