Monday, May 6, 2013

Review of Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell

From the author who has given the world an iconic hero we all know as Rambo based off the action novel First Blood, we have his latest Murder as a Fine Art. David Morrell is an accomplished writer who has a strong following that I am happy to be a member of. I haven't read any historical fiction thriller by Morrell before but I think he's done a great job at a genre I hold near and dear to my heart.

Murder As a Fine Art is the fictional story of Thomas De Quincey who is famous for his memoir Confessions of an English Opium Eater. Because of his famous essays involving the Ratcliffe Highway Murders forty years prior,  he is a suspect in the newest murders that are done in the same fashion. The essays he wrote with great insight makes De Quincey a prime suspect in London era when detective work and policing were not as we know it today. In an attempt to clear his name De Quincey enlists the help of his daughter Emily, and a pair of intelligent detectives from Scotland Yard.

The tension and suspense never seems to dwindle in this book. Morrell has taken an interesting piece of history along with a famous man in history and has brought them to life in a way that makes you question what's real and what isn't. The characters are well drawn with depth that I believe readers will enjoy. The struggle between De Quincey and his opium addiction have readers sympathetic towards him and eager for his vindication while others will feel strongly about Emily's resilience and enabling. All the main characters in this novel are deeply human and personify Victorian London during 1854.

Historical fiction lovers will appreciate that Morrell provides a lot of information about Victorian London, the people, and the attitudes of the times. Although some bits of information don't seem fluid such as on the establishment of the police department in 1829, I appreciated it being there. I only wish it was more cohesive than it appeared in the text.

Besides the occasional history lecture, this book is compulsively readable. Fans of Morrell will find Murder As a Fine Art is a definate read and should be added to their "read" lists as soon as possible. This novel isn't like Morrell's other spy novels, action adventures, or my favorite Creepers. It is so much more and I can't wait to catch up on the other novels by Morrell I haven't yet read. ****

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