F.G. Cottam combines past, present, serial killer and religion that takes the reader to one of the darkest points in London's history and to a very famous unsolved case:
Jane Sullivan is the lead Detective assigned to a serial killer case that is going to take her into a completely different realm of belief and theology. This Killer in London that has a flair that is very familiar and reminds the people of London of a murderer that should be long dead, Jack the Ripper. But this serial killer is not content to kill prostitutes and switches their MO to women who think they are safe. Sullivan is convinced that this is just a copycat, a Fan of the Ripper, but a secret sect of the Catholic religion knows better. They have faced this type of evil before and they know what they have to do to stop it, even if it mean sacrifices another individual's soul to the devil himself.
This the first book that I have read by Cottam and I do not think it will be the last. Cottam had a really interesting concept I really enjoyed the mixture of the Catholic faith and a serial killer investigation. Often times there is a fine line between preaching the religion that you believe in and using the religion to tell an aspect in the story and I think that Cottam does a good job of keeping it to the latter. It was also interesting how Cottam was able to show that one suggestion, no matter how crazy and with no evidence to support it, can spark a revolution and revolutionary thoughts in people that most would consider of sound thinking, but that is what fear does to people.
Where Cottom really excels in this book is his description writing, the words he chooses really transports the reader to the location of the character, his visual writing is excellent. This is also seen in the description of the murders and the crime scenes. Cottam tells you just enough but lets you imagination fill in the rest as to what the scene looks like and what has occurred
There are quite a few POVs within this book and they tend to go back and forth between London where the murders are occurring and Christian sect mountain home and I think that character development suffered because of this. Jane is a good character, though the more I look back on this book we as a reader never get to know her that well even though she is one of the main characters. She is a strong lead detective who knows how to "play the game" in order get the job done. Jane does not shy away from any suggestion or crazy idea as that could be the break in the case. There is even a physic element within the novel that I think that Cottan introduces well and it plays really well into the overall plot of the novel. As for the rest of the characters in the novel I think they fall on the same way as Jane, never fully developed, which is a shame as the rest of the book is really well written and developed.
My main criticism with this novel is the ending was really anti-climactic and I wish Cottam could have found a different way and/or a more exciting way to end this novel. I mean this is what we are waiting for, everything builds up to this moment and to be let down is never a good thing. I mean the ending was clever, but not even close to what I was expecting.
I enjoyed the mystery that Cottam was able to put forward and I would have rated it higher if the ending had not been so lack luster. However, Cottan a great way of mixing a serial killer, religion and historical aspects together that I would pick up another book by him.