"Inspector of the Dead" (Mulholland Books), by David Morrell
David Morrell's "Inspector of the Dead," a sequel to "Murder as a Fine Art," tells the riveting story of a man determined to exact revenge for injustices done to him and his family. The people he intends to murder range from a shopkeeper to Queen Victoria.
His brutal — and often theatrical — killings take place in mid-Victorian London, but have the immediacy of something happening today. Morrell has researched the era thoroughly to bring it vividly to life.
The drama begins in February 1855, with England in the doldrums. The government has collapsed over the public's dissatisfaction with its handling of the Crimean War.
Life in London gets more unsettling because the killer, who has already murdered people within easy reach, is now ready to go after more prominent victims.
Thomas De Quincey, a real-life writer of the era, is a fictitious sleuth in the story, but the novel's real star is "the revenger." The ingenious ways he plans and executes his killings are mesmerizing. Morrell makes him an unforgettable character, and "Inspector of the Dead" is a masterful work.