Recommended Reads: Detectives search for a serial killer in 1854 London

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Murder As A Fine Art, by David Morrell

It’s London in 1854 and a killer has murdered a family of five people with the threat of more killings to come. It seems to be the work of a monster, yet in the result are the machinations of a person who strives to craft his brutality into a composition of scene, design, light, and sentient sentiment. It’s almost artistry in the mind of the killer. Is this an original? Or is the killer copying the serial killings that terrorized London 40 years earlier? If a copy, there are more to come, and the residents are becoming stirred into a frenzy again as history seems to be repeating itself.

To catch this cunning executioner, it will take a smart and unorthodox group of investigators who can imagine themselves into the mind of a serial killer. By 1854, a detective bureau was created to supplement the overtaxed police in London’s fast growing population. It included eight plainclothes officers who investigated in disguise, and this case was assigned to two of these men who were extolled for their extraordinary attention to detail and analytical skills, while being held under morbid suspicion by many of the population who feared their prying eyes.

The detectives match their wits, and tools that are in the infancy of forensic science, against evil. They add to their arsenal an unlikely father and daughter. He is known as the Opium Eater, and the books he writes and publishes are known as “novels of sensation.” One is a disturbing essay dramatizing the infamous Ratcliffe Highway killings of 1811. What’s described is eerily similar to these recent murders. His daughter is his companion and helper, and she is a remarkably un-Victorian woman. Her theories and observations on the case are insightful.

The author, David Morrell is such a gifted writer. The scenes and the characters leap to life from the page to the reader’s imagination. He’s been called the Father of modern action novels. Back in 1972, he wrote a book with an unusual and iconic hero. That book was First Blood, and the iconic hero, a returned Vietnam veteran with PTSD, was Rambo. After writing the ground-breaking story of one of the best-known and most iconic anti-heroes, he has followed that with so many action and historical mystery and thriller best-sellers.

He’s been a finalist for the Edgar, Anthony, Thriller and Arthur Ellis awards, and won the Nero and Macavity awards, as well as being a three-time recipient of the esteemed Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association. The Bouchercon Conference gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award among many recognitions. He’s also a gifted teacher of writing, with a PhD in American literature, and he co-founded the renowned International Thriller Writers organization with author Gayle Lynds.

And if you want to hear more from the author, listen on YouTube to Kendall & Cooper Talk Mysteries with David Morrell.

— By Wendy Kendall

Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.

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